What did the box say?

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Apr 21 08:37:01 EDT 2014

Most of us are familiar with the sounds of contemporary diesels and for
those who are not, they are readily available to be experienced firsthand.
Just grab a recording device and a good book, find an accessible stretch of
mainline and wait a while (WARNING: this activity is known to be
addictive). When it comes to early diesels and “modern” steam, there are
many video and sound recordings available and for some extra expense/effort
you can still have a first-hand audio experience at tourist railroads and
various other locations. Hopefully next year the 611 will be speaking to
us again.

As we work our way further back in time, our options become more limited.
We have photographs of long-departed N&W locomotives back to the 1800s, but
what are the earliest sounds that have been preserved? Link and others
made sound recordings in the 50s, but did anyone capture the sounds of LCs
before they disappeared? What kind of clinks and clunks did those jack
shaft mechanisms produce? I believe the units had bells that were probably
like their steam counterparts but what noise did they make when they
approached crossings? Did they have whistles or horns? Does anybody know
of any captured audio. Does anyone’s personal memory extend back 70 years
to tell us what they can recall?

Jim Cochran
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