D Alex wrote:OK, I'm asking for a moderator to close this thread, since everybody posting on it is ignoring the original question and just grinding their own axe.
OK, I have never heard of someone getting disciplined for excessive use of the horn. That guy you described may have been heavy handed with the horn, but there may have been a work zone (my employer does a lot of track work at night and hence we are required to sound the horn regardless of the hour) or it may have been police activity, trespassers, etc. The bottom line is better to sound the horn than not. Sorry the town was awoken by that engineer.
One more comment. If you have been on an engine while someone is RACING us to the crossing, there's little kids in the car & you begin to realize she's not gonna stop, only we who have experienced this know the horror of either being ABOUT to hit someone, or actually hitting a car. We can't say why this particular engineer was doing that, but that SINKING feeling just before collision is just AWFUL. Sometimes it traumatizes crews when they hit people, especially little children. There's nothing you can do! I've seen big, burly engineers sitting on the steps of his engine after a collision sobbing. Perhaps THIS particular engineer was reacting to a recent experience and wanted to make SURE everybody knew he was coming.
When it happened to ME, I was deadheading, sitting in the fireman's seat (he was fiddling with the steam heat boiler in the engine room. When that little Pinto raced us and I saw a baby car seat in the back and a tow-headed little boy up front, I thought, "Oh no.................no, no, no! Please stop!"
We were on the Southern Crescent #2. Engines were E-8's. Speed-79 MPH. That car came up, up, then UP
onto the crossing...and disappeared under the nose of the engine. Those of us "old heads" who were familiar with the E8, know that the nose is short and slopes downwards. The Pinto disappeared UNDER the nose of the engine while George, the engineer, was blowing staccato blasts on the horn (the recognized danger, or washout signal). We didn't know if we had hit her or not. But George held up his hands about 6 inches apart, and said, "If she'd had another coat of paint, we'd 've got her!
We talked about that for the next 15 minutes.
If you LIVE the railroad life, you would understand................. There just might be a REASON for all the whistle-blowing!