The Sounds of Train Horns

Included here are various train horn sound files from the Yahoo railroad air horn groups. If you find your locomotive horn sound file here, then please let us know so that we may give proper credit.


BM_RS-3B.mp3: A very interesting sounding horn, to say the least, and certainly not very common.

cnj1523_010915_5.wav: A Leslie A-200 in service

DM_S-3B-J.wav: An S3B on a J manifold. This type of horn was occasionally heard on the L&N

CSXT Leslie_100804.mp3: A CSX freight with a Leslie S-5T. It sounds very similar to a Nathan M5, but listen closely and you can tell it's actually an S-5T.

EX-UP6930A.wav: A Leslie S5T on a Union Pacific freight

F Berry K-5LA, S-5a dual.mp3: An F. Berry treasure, at Bloom's crossing, Manassas, Va. 1986.  A southbound NS. Freight with its K-5La sounding for the crossing, as Fred answer's with his S-5a. The engineer acknowledges! Neat stuff!

F Berry S-5a.mp3: Made in Manassas Park, VA. By Fred Berry, at his famous Blooms crossing horn honking location, of his Leslie S-5a, which he said came off a B&O E-Unit. Keep in mind this audio cassette dates back to 1988, unfortunately, a lot of back ground noise.

Leslie RS3K.mp3: A static Leslie RS3K with echos. These horns were common on the Burlington Northern.

Leslie S5TUnion.mp3: A Leslie S5T on a freight in Union, Michigan. Recorded by Eric Marks on October 18, 2004.

LK-Leslie-S3B-2a.wav: The S3B and the S3E below are very unusual sounding horns.

LK-Leslie-S3E-3a.wav: You just don't hear horns like this on railroads today.

OC GP-40 3262 S-5T.mp3: An Ohio Central coal train lead by two OC GP-40-2's rumbles through Dennison, OH with its S-5T sounding.

P&LE Leslie S3KR_061904.mp3: A Leslie S3K on the P&LE on June 19, 2004.

RS-5T_CSXT-1995.mp3: A very good recording of an RS-5T in service on a CSX frieght

RS5T_1050PM.mp3: An S5T recorded in service

RS5TRRO.mp3: A very good recording of a Leslie RS5TRRO

S-3bj EK.mp3: My Leslie S-3bj on Sherry's Durango up at Abbel Farm Rd. Little, Meadows, Pa.

S3J_PC.mp3: An old recording of a Leslie S3J on a Penn Central freight. Very similar to the Nathan P-3.

S3K_CSK559.mp3: A Leslie S3K in active service, CSX

S3K_GP10.wav: A Leslie S3K in active service, on a GP-10 locomotive

S3L_NS.mp3: A standard S3L on a Norfolk Southern freight

SL-4T.wav: These are less common then the Nathan H Series. Used on Amtrak until scrapped in 1977. Very few were salvaged.

S-5t Ed K.mp3: My Leslie S-5t sounding the standard B9th. major chord, from our get together on the Montrose TP. Bradford, Pa.

uGG1a200.mp3: A PRR. GG-1 blowing by with its Leslie A-200 sounding

Nathan H Series

H5_Jodie_Wells_9-25-04.mp3: This is among the least common of all locomotive air horns. Only 5 Nathan H-5 horns are known to exist. This was played on the ex L&N GP-30 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the Oak Ridge locomotive airhorn convention in September, 2004.

Nathan K Series

AMTRAK no4 6-26-1998.wav: A K5LA mounted on Amtrak

EK K-3LA TC. Owego.mp3: Back in 1991, on the Tioga Central, a tourist line out of Owego, NY. Which Elwood Belknap also engineered for. This day we had my K-3LA mounted on Alco RS-1 #62 as Elwood is west of Gravel Pit Road crossing doing a mighty fine job of making pretty music. Outstanding echo!

EK K-5LA Glenmoore.mp3: Back in the early 90's I used to test my horns at a spot in Glenmoore, Pa. Great echo there. Here's a clip of one of my first K-5LA's which I bought from Tom Aker back in 1988 which sounds like the K-5LA's should, not the way the current crop of I don't give a hoot what it sounds like attitude of Nathan's, as long as it makes noise!

EK NYS&W B-40K5-5H.mp3: This one back in 1991 A New York Susquehanna & Western GE B-40-8 at Owego, NY. eastbound with its K-5h sounding off.

K-3L odd 2 EK.mp3: A runby of my K-3L with the odd #2 bell sounding G, rather than F#. D#, G, A#.

K-3L_CN.mp3: A Canadian National SD-70 heading east on the Reading & Northern, Lehigh line, with freight 40t, at White Haven, Pa. The engineer put on a good audio show with the K-3L for me!

K-3LA_R&N.mp3: A Reading & Northern C-36-8 at Port Clinton, Pa. As it enters R&N. Engine terminal with K-3LA sounding.

K3L_cnnov2000-9601-2c2g.wav: Michael Eby's recording of a Canadian National freight equipped with a K3L. More of his information and recordings can be found here: http://trainiax.0catch.com/reccnloco.htm

K3L_Runby.mp3: A K3L runby, mounted on a truck

K3LA_CSX.mp3: The K3LA is one of the most common locomotive horns in service.

K5HLA Doc 9-24: This is a most excellent sounding K horn, at least in the web master's opinion. It was played on a General Motors GP-30 during the Oak Ridge locomotive airhorn convention in September, 2004. The horn is owned by Doc Bryant.

K5LA_CSX6154.mp3: A very good recording of a K5LA equipped CSX freight

K5LA-LB5.mp3: K5LA blown on a standard compressor, with some echos

K5LA_L&N_Runby_KRSY.wav: This is Ken Kanne's speeder car equipped with a K5LA.

METX416A.mp3: Metra 416 running a K5LA in Chicago, Illinois by Texas Eagle

SCK5H.wav: A nice recording of a Canadian tuned 5 chime locomotive horn.

SKOL Local.wav: SKOL local approaching one of six gate guarded crossings at 12:05 AM Wed. morn., Wichita, Ks. This the best recording of a K5LA that I have heard so far!  By Ron Chamberlain

Nathan M Series

This is a series of 3 sound clips from the train to Blair, Tennessee during the Oak Ridge Locomotive Airhorn Convention in September, 2004. The horn used was Eric Mark's Southern Railways Nathan M5. They are listed sequentially as follows:

  1. BlairTrainClip1
  2. BlairTrainClip2
  3. BlairTrainClip3

These recordings are credited to Dean Ellsworths, the originator of the famous Amtrak K5LA you hear on today's passenger locomotives.

BubbabearM5.wav: M5 with 3/16" orifices. The M Series horns, unlike other train horns, are tuneable by adjusting the end caps. This one still needs some adjustment on one bell according to the author.

Holden M3H.mp3: This is the most accurate recording of an M3H the web master has heard so far. His M3H was tuned by Ken Lanovich, and sounds just like this one. This Holden M3H belongs to Eric Marks.

L&N M5 on WC.wma: Ray Weart comments: This clip is of my L&N round base M5R24 with a WC GP40 installed underneath in 1999 it back when we ran our road local on Sundays. A good friend of mine got this on tape thankfully; I only wish he could have gotten more of them as this was not the only time I did this. NOTE: With some computers, you need to download first, and then play it on Windows Media Player.

M-4 exp EK.mp3: Nathan M-4. Experiment built by me. Sounds a lovely A, C#, E, A. Give a listen!

M3 Bernette.wav: Dennis McCurry's newly restored M3

M3 Syndicate.wav: M3 blown static

M3H Echo.wav: Ex-CN (Newfoundland narrow gauge division), recorded by Jon Archibald, near the Trent River in Peterborough, Ontario, 2001. Thanks Jon!

M5 minor.mp3: Burnett M-5 D# minor 7th. C#, D#, F#, A#, C#. Made by me on the Reading & Northern, one of their U-23b's.

m5_prex 907.mp3: Nathan M5 in service on April 20, 2004. This M5 is owned by one of the railroad's employees, and is ALWAYS removed from the locomotive and secured after use.

m5_prex 908.mp3: A Nathan M5 in active service on the Michigan Southern. The M5 is usually considered as the best sounding locomotive horn.

M5 Variable Syndicate: A very nice recording of a fully tuned M5

m5_Variable Orifice.mp3: A very fine tuning effort

LV Alco M-3.mp3: A four unit set of Lehigh Valley Alco FA-1's with a Nathan M-3, recorded by me back in 1967.

O bell M-3 EB.mp3: Elwood's Zero bell M-3 A, C#, E.

Nathan N Series

n3_020929_1.wav: This is a Nathan N3 blown static. Only a handful of these are known to exist.

Nathan P Series

1548 P-3 Ed K.mp3: A very nice sounding OC P-3 on Reading & Northern's SW-1500 #1548, made by me up at Glen Summit in PA around Spring, 2004.

BNSF P Horn.wav: Nathan P-5 on a BNSF freight by Ron Chamberlain

BW P-5a EK P-5m.mp3: I'm driving Bill Williamson's 5 chime with two P horns mounted. Bills P-5a, and My P-5 modified, in a runby at a get together at Thornhurst, Pa. 1996.

imrl_p5.mp3: This is a recording of a Montana Rail Link locomotive with a Nathan P5, apparently a New Cast. However, this one is much different, in that it actually bears more of a simularity to an Old Cast P5.

N&W whistle P-5m EK.mp3: Back in 1994 chasing N&W J class 4-8-4 on the Manassas Gap Branch I had my modified P-5 mounted on my Astro van, the J blows for the crossing, I sound the P-5 at him, he answerers. Cool Beans!

p3_1548 Ed K.mp3: Reading & Northern's SW-1500 #1548 recorded by me 4/15/04, Sounding its very melodious old cast P-3 At Kirby ave.

p3_MichiganSouthern.mp3: A P-3 in revenue service

p3_nc R&N.mp3: A Reading & Northern SD-45 with its new cast P-3 eastbound at Mountain Top, Pa.

p3_SSW8065_OC.mp3: A good sounding P3 on the Ohio Central

p5_NS Digital.mp3: This is a very accurate recording of a third-generation P-5, as heard on the Norfolk Southern. It is the best recording of this type of horn the web master has encountered.

p5_NS Echo.mp3: A P-5 Third Generation on a Norfolk Southern freight with echos

p5_SBVRR: We were chasing a south bound South Branch Valley RR freight with 3 GP-9's on them of which the lead one had the NC. P-5 on it. Recorded in August 1994.

p5a_dgno3800-0.wav: An Amtrak sounds blows its horn as it pulls into the station. Listen to those brakes!

p5a_dgno3800-1.wav: This is a good, lengthy blast from an Amtrak P5A

P5A_Mutt Echo.mp3: A P5A with echos

p5A_Mutt Recording: Freshly assembled P5A, just after rebuild before painting

TrplCrnP5.wav: This one is interesting. It's a Third Generation P5 on the Norfolk Southern Triple Crown Service. The echos on this bounce in such a way that part of it almost sounds like the engineer plugged his electric guitar into an amp, and aimed the speaker out of the locomotive window!


Prime920UP.wav: This is a Prime 920, Second Generation, with notes that are similar to a Nathan P-3 on Union Pacific. Courtesy of Ron Chamberlain

Prime990 BNSF.wav: A Prime 990 in service on the BNSF

Prime990BNSFFE.mp3: Another example of the Prime 990, but this one sounds more like a Leslie S3K. You be the judge....

Worn UP Prime.mp3: Ron Chamberlain's recording of a Prime 920 still in service on Union Pacific, in need of a rebuild


BW E2-B3.mp3: An audio file of Bill Williamson's WABCO. E2-B3, recorded by me back in 1996 at a horn get together at Thornhurst, Pa.

Durango E-2 Ed K.mp3: My WABCO E-2 in a Sherry' Durango runby.

e2b1_030614_3.wav: This horn has a characteristic "steam boat" sound to it.

Other horn makes

Buel B5: This time I'm down in Manassas Park, Va. back in 1983 with Fred Berry as he honks his Buell B-5. This horn was supposed to be for railroad service, but it never happend.


CPR 1293 whistle.mp3: Ohio Central's CPR G-5d 1293 pulling into Dennison with its whistle sounding.

CNJ whistle.mp3: A Jersey Central Railroad 800 class pacific whistle belonging to D. Ward. A real beauty, recorded by me.

EBT. 14 Orbisonia.mp3: East Broad Top 2-8-2 #14 near Orbisonia, Pa. back in 2001, a very pretty 3 chime. The EBT. is the last operating narrow gage east of the Mississippi.

GTW 6325 PRR whistle 2.mp3: From the Ohio Central Railfest. On board a train pulled by GTW U-3D 6325. She was carrying a PRR Standard 3 chime whistle. Sounds a lot like riding on a P-70 behing a PRR K-4 on the New York and Long Branch back in the 1950's.