Has locomotive silencing reduced your enjoyment of the hobby?

 
  GregW67 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney Australia
From my earliest days of being interested in railways, the sound of diesel locomotives powering up through the notches and slogging it out at full power up heavy gradients was one of the main things I enjoyed about trains.

With the introduction of new noise regulations by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency in the early 1990's, new locomotives starting with the NSW 82 and 90 classes were fitted with mufflers/silencers, and these locos (to me) lack the sense of action and power seen with the older types.  With the introduction of the NR class, muffling was extended to become an Australia-wide phenomenon, and the numerous other locos introduced since that time have further extended this until we have reached a point where the majority of trains on Australian standard gauge lines are hauled by muffled locomotives.  Nearly all interstate freighters and most NSW coal trains now fall into this category; thankfully grain trains and a few others remain (for now) in the hands of decent-sounding locos.

So my question is this : Has all this silencing reduced your enjoyment of the hobby of railways?  For me it certainly has, and I seldom drive to gradients to watch freight trains anymore.  Neither do I try to get video footage of most freight trains now.  Don't get me wrong, I am still a rail enthusiast, but the focus of my interest is now older locos and heritage operations, and also American diesels.

Before anyone has a go at me for criticising the new motive power, I acknowledge that the newer loco classes do their jobs well and are popular with crews.  I know they are fuel efficient, high in technology, and of considerable power and reliability.  In my opinion however they just don't convey the same sense of action and power as the older locos.

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  M636C Minister for Railways

I'm not so concerned about the different noise levels except that it does mean that a train approaching from behind you could be missed (and the opportunity for a photograph lost), particularly when trains are approaching from both directions. This is of course mainly a problem between Islington Junction and Maitland, but occurs from time to time elsewhere.

It is still clear that locomotives are working hard on grades, but of course I'm a still photographer rather than video...

M636C
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I find the lack of noise keeps me awake at night Razz
  Z1NorthernProgress2110 Chief Commissioner

Location: Burnie, Tasmania
Down here in Tassie, most were excited to see brand new locos running around. After a few months, it became boring cause the TR's, no engine noise what so ever. Sure horns are loud as.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Yeah bring back the noise, still like listening to C class and C44 dynamic.
  DounutCereal Chief Train Controller

Location: Who knows.
Having only been born in the mid 90's and only been out gunzelling since the late 2000's I have only ever known the railways with silenced NR's, 2nd series XR's, etc as the dominant motive power. They have a different appeal to them, the electrics noise from the NR traction motors still sound cool to me and same goes for the C44's however the silenced EMD's have always sounded to me like they're missing some life, like the SCT class for example. The first time I gunzelled an MP service I was quite saddened to hear just a whoosh of wheels and a slight whistle as they trio of SCT's flew past.

Even growing up with the modern stuff I have to agree that the older loco's, the old 567's, turbo 645's and the older Alco's and even the EL's are much better to see. Even the 1st series XR's sound much better with that deep thumping exhaust note than their newer cousins.

In some ways it does spoil things for me, a lot of the things you can go out and get on camera can be quite dull to see and rewatch on video but maybe in some ways it makes it fun too, having to seek out the better sounding trains to gunzel.

I agree with you whole heartedly GregW67 that the newer loco's don't convey what the older ones used to with the power and noise but they are alright in their own right. 50 years ago you'd only ever hear something slightly like a C44 or NR whining itself upgrade unless you caught something in full dynamics. They're different I'll give the new stuff that but not as alive sounding as an X class or XR.

That's my 2 cents on the matter anyway
  Kafoopsy Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, WA
I was too late for most of the noisy locomotives, but I will certainly miss the 'boom boom boom' engines - EMD 567 and 645s. Horns are the thing for me though.  I just love a good sounding horn given a good long toot.  WA has a history of mostly boring single tone hooters, but most of the new locos have Nathan K5LA (or similar) horns and for me they make up for the lack of engine noise. I would love it if Aussie drivers used the horn like USA drivers all the time!  Its a pity the SCT class type locomotive and the ACN classes have such lousy horns.  Still, WA is a good place for horns.  In QLD, the drivers use the low note horn all the time which sounds like a hand powered bicycle horn!  QR IMUs have very nice horns (on the odd occasion they use them) - too bad TransPerth didn't get them on our new EMUs!  If you have read this far, sorry for rambling!
  GS4 Train Controller

Its all quite anemic sound wise in Australia, a lost cause I'm afraid.  The good old US of A still has thousands of great sounding locos complete with amazingly loud horns.
I remember staying in the Star Hotel in Truckee in the summer of 91. a mixture of SD45's and T-2's (usually 6 to 8 per train) lifting massive trains from standing starts in town were not only loud they would vibrate the ground enough to produce faint little rings in a glass of beer left sitting on the table.  To help push the train to the summit there was 4 SD9's pushing at the rear of the train as the final sound you could hear from miles away.  As the SD9's returned it was time to get another beer and in a short time another uphill freight would appear and pick up the SD9's.

Today a great place to stay is Motel 6 in Mojave California.  Its at hat was the top of the hump yard and main line.
Ask for one of the rooms facing the highway and you will not only hear the trains but see them too directly over a 4 lane road.  Be warned , , they do not stop all night and most of the day.  The horns are loud enough that you will not be able to talk over them even if you raise your voice substantially.   Smile
  DL_Daily Locomotive Driver

I certainly miss the days (or nights) where I would stand at the mailbox at 3am in the morning in winter in my PJ's watching the steam loco's chuffing past my place Exclamation

These were replaced then by 48s singles, doubles n triples and loved watching and listening to them and the rocker arms clunking away happily belching copious amounts of black smoke Laughing

Now I have NRs n DLs and the occasional 48, B, CPH (lvr), Southern Aurora and others to spot and listen to at least the DLs still have a decent sound to them Wink

And yes the enjoyment due to auditory stimulus has been reduced for me at least Sad

As for the US I wish they would mute their damn horns at crossings, it is just annoying all the excess noise !
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
There was nothing quite like twin S class loco's on a 16-car Overland climbing the ingliston Bank.
Ah; them was the days.Crying or Very sad
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
The Victorian Railways T-class was only a light duties loco, but to be in the up Yarram pass with a T up front, climbing Hoddle Bank at full throttle was certainly "music to the ears"!

Having said that, I'm not particularly fussed that modern locos are much quieter. I was still pretty impressed a while ago to be on Seymour platform and have two CF 4500hp locos on about 2000 tons of freight shake the ground as they passed through!Very Happy
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
I certainly miss the days (or nights) where I would stand at the mailbox at 3am in the morning in winter in my PJ's watching the steam loco's chuffing past my place Exclamation

These were replaced then by 48s singles, doubles n triples and loved watching and listening to them and the rocker arms clunking away happily belching copious amounts of black smoke Laughing

Now I have NRs n DLs and the occasional 48, B, CPH (lvr), Southern Aurora and others to spot and listen to at least the DLs still have a decent sound to them Wink

And yes the enjoyment due to auditory stimulus has been reduced for me at least Sad

As for the US I wish they would mute their damn horns at crossings, it is just annoying all the excess noise !
DL_Daily

The US have to do a Short Short Long Short horn combination by law Wink
  DL_Daily Locomotive Driver

The US have to do a Short Short Long Short horn combination by law Wink
speedemon08

Don't you mean a long long short long combo it is what I hear on youtube all the time Laughing

Yeah I know and it sucks, on another note ( no pun intended) has any research been done as to how effective that is for level crossing crashes ?

I personally have not done any searches.

DL Daily
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Don't you mean a long long short long combo it is what I hear on youtube all the time Laughing

Yeah I know and it sucks, on another note ( no pun intended) has any research been done as to how effective that is for level crossing crashes ?

I personally have not done any searches.

DL Daily
DL_Daily

Hey, the can blow the horn all they want, doesn't fuss me Very Happy

http://www.up.com/aboutup/funstuff/horn_signals/

""A ban on locomotive horns in Florida was ordered removed by the FRA after it was shown that the accident rate doubled during the ban. The new Final Rule preempts any state or local laws regarding the use of the train horn at public crossings. ""
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
So my question is this : Has all this silencing reduced your enjoyment of the hobby of railways?
GregW67

No.
  bagus70 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wanting to revisit Australia again.
I simply have no idea whether if engine noise muffling will reduce the enjoyment of trainspotting, as I live in the country where no mufflers are installed on locomotives exhaust. The rumbling of their muffled engine noise is still good enough for me. The most important point for me will always be the locomotive's horn. If it sounds great, that it really makes my outing worthwhile.

This is my video where you could hear the roar of un-muffled GE 7FDL engine, complete with Nathan P3 air horn:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAmBEk6AyiA

  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
Yeah bring back the noise, still like listening to C class and C44 dynamic.
Junction box

....and CLP/CLF, L/31/LZ, DL, 422 and probably one of the last "unmuffled modern" locos, 81/G/BL etc 8)
  GregW67 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney Australia
It seems that the AN class, built in 1992, was the last Aussie loco type to be built before the muffling started.  By 1994 we had the 82 and 90 classes, both muffled, and 2014 must be the 20th anniversary of muffling.  If only the noise laws had been a few years later in coming, we could have had noisy 82s, 90s, and even NRs!
  fleabag Assistant Commissioner

Location: Perth
Yes. Traction motor whine is now louder than the engines. Boring.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Yes. Traction motor whine is now louder than the engines. Boring.
fleabag

Clearly you aren't familiar with double 81 class on a loaded grain train (40 x NGPF) on long sections of 1 in 66 on the NSW Main South. This is the tabled maximum load and it shows.

But the sound of unmuffled twin 16-645E3Bs is completely drowned out by the roar of the traction motor blowers as the DC motors are run to within a millimetre of their life. The sound of the blowers and the fact that the train moves at half the speed of anything else are the main features of PN grain trains on the Cullerin range.

By comparison, the engine note of double 93s on a steel train on the same grade is much more audible, despite muffling to meet NSW EPA standards.

I agree that this is a particular situation, but it is where I do most of my train watching.

Also, take heart. The NR class are definitely louder as rebuilt with new engines.

M636C
  fleabag Assistant Commissioner

Location: Perth
Few long grades here in Perth, M636, but that is good news about the louder NR's. Haven't seen one yet.

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