With my railroad mania, I stand out in my crowd; but I do have another pal who qualifies as a ferroequinologist. I met him at a train expo, of course, and we became fast friends. We were both looking at a display of train horns and got to talking. I wanted to hear one of them better and fortunately, the clerk behind the exhibit had an air compressor to help sound the horns. It was a mutual triumph so we went to have a drink and talk about our shared hobby. That word doesn’t describe a real railfan by the way as it is much too broad and all encompassing. Someone who is totally devoted to the subject and spends their life in research is on another level. Welcome to my world.
A conductor’s air horn may be in my possession soon as you can add them to your personal model set up if not to your collection of train mementos. I like the idea of getting some old ones and putting them on a shelf as a cool display. The process of acquiring them will take years which is the whole idea. It is going to be a new aspect of my passion. I will, of course, get a Compressor Force branded compressor as the air source. The whole idea is compelling. It may seem a peripheral interest to train engines, but it goes with the territory.
You can get an air horn in a kit that comes with all the parts like air line and fittings, or construct it yourself if you are handy. This would take a bit of knowhow, so I will start with the readymade kit and see what happens. I understand that some horns are tuned to a specific note: so fun. I wish I could show you how it looks. If you are a fellow railfan, you might not have prior knowledge, and this could be something new. After all, this is what I promised when I started the blog.
These kits don’t come cheap, hovering around $500, but you can find some used assembled items online to round out your collection. I see plenty for a hundred or less. There are various styles and sizes from which to choose according to the direction you wish to follow. They are amazing, some with a shocking quality of sound. This is what it is all about. They are so different that you can assemble your own little train horn orchestra. Ha! It is certain attention grabbing, or so I am told by my neighbors. But they are used to it by now. The latest models have superior air flow technology, creating a loud sound with very little air. Somebody is in a lab doing their homework.
But one caveat must be stated: some of these horns can be heard from two miles away. This can get you into a bit of trouble. You are recommended to wear earplugs to protect your precious hearing. It isn’t like you can adjust the sound like a real musical instrument.