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Many build their bench work and layouts in such a way as to deaden or lessen the sound. I can understand that if it's necessary so as not to disturb others, such as a hobbyist who lives in an apartment building or other multiple unit dwelling.

My preference is not to minimize, but instead maximize, the sounds and loudness of the trains I run with one exception.

Why?

In my experience, real trains, especially locomotives, are breathtakingly loud. I like that aspect of realism for all my O Gauge trains.

The only exception: I run quiet trains when my wife is asleep. Unlike me, she sleeps very well and has never had insomnia.

I often wake up in the middle of the night. When I do, I often like to go downstairs and run quiet trains, typically a Williams diesel or early Pre-Protosounds MTH engines, so as not to disturb my wife's sleep. After maybe 15 to 30 minutes of quiet train running, I usually return to bed and sleep for a couple of more hours.

How about you? Do you refer to run quiet or loud trains and why?

Also, what do, or did, you do, if anything, to increase or decrease the sound?

Arnold

Last edited by Arnold D. Cribari
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Many build their bench work and layouts in such a way as to deaden or lessen the sound. I can understand that if it's necessary so as not to disturb others, such as a hobbyist who lives in an apartment building or other multiple unit dwelling.

My preference is not to minimize, but instead maximize, the sounds and loudness of the trains I run with one exception.

Why?

In my experience, real trains, especially locomotives, are breathtakingly loud. I like that aspect of realism for all my O Gauge trains.

The only exception: I run quiet trains when my wife is asleep. Unlike me, she sleeps very well and has never had insomnia.

I often wake up in the middle of the night. When I do, I often like to go downstairs and run quiet trains, typically a Williams diesel or early Pre-Protosounds MTH engines, so as not to disturb my wife's sleep. After maybe 15 to 30 minutes of quiet train running, I usually return to bed and sleep for a couple of more hours.

How about you? Do you refer to run quiet or loud trains and why?

Also, what do, or did, you do, if anything, to increase or decrease the sound?

Arnold

As I sit quite often by the CXS yard not too far from my house I note that the trains are not loud except when whistling to cross the road. They are limited to under 10 mph.

As far as my layout goes both of my older steam engines running at the same time creates a cacophony of chug'chug'chugs which can be deafening. My grandson definitely does not like it.

I do like the wailing whistles......

My diesel have authentic sound and are a little more tolerable. The GG1 has a non prototypical buzz and chiming whistle. The Williams steamer only has a recorded white and weak bell. It is kind of like eating oatmeal with nothing on it.

Sometimes I like the trains loud - sometimes I like the trains quiet.

When I want it really peaceful I turn the power on the layout and enjoy the lightship in silence. No trains are running.

I'm more on the noise side of things, although I found that the new Lionel Legacy GP-9s make rediculous "rail sounds" that are little more than wife-wakers. Not particulairly enjoyable. As for those quiet times, I do enjoy just the sound of wheels, but may favorite is parking an MTH GP 38 or GP35 at idle and taking a nap next to it. Amazing way to fall asleep!

I set up my 9x16 layout on 3/4" plywood board with 2" foam board on top.  The Atlas track I use is mounted on cork roadbed.

The loco sounds are set so there loud as it passes, you, but you can still hear the freight cars wheels clickity clack plus the sounds produced by my sound cars, as the power moves away.  More prototypical I think.

I don't like the drumming sound produced when there's no insulation other than cork roadbed.

Last edited by NYC 428

I like the sounds that are available on today's trains.  I have several sound boxcars, including "flat spot" cars.  I have found that adjusting the volume to a low setting gives the most satisfaction.  When I'm running a train at modest speeds I want the sounds of the locomotives and rail cars to blend with the sound of wheels on the track. They don't have to stand out on their own.  They just have to add to the overall sound of the train in motion.  I often compare it to an orchestra where all the instruments contribute, but few stand out on their own.

Here is a train with several sound cars:

Tom

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Slow and quiet. For the most part I like the old clickity clack. I don’t mind hearing the modern sounds as they come around to where I’m at. Sometimes I like to listen to music while they cruise around. Sometimes I might just sit quietly with the house lights down and my models lit up. Then again I’m not above opening the window (at an appropriate time), and cranking up an old steamer vid on YT to mess with my Nieghbor. He laughed one day and said that must be one big model train you have up there.

I remember the 1st time that I built what I call is a plateau on one of my Christmas layouts.  I had always had just a level floor layout that was very quiet because I put blue insulation board down first with Homasote on top of that.  No track bed.  Tin-plate track.

I remember well the first time that I ran my PW 2343 Santa Fe on the plateau - the reverberation scared the crap out of me since I hadn't heard that echo effect before - I thought something bad happened!!!

I've liked quiet ever since!  Or at least low-volume on my sound trains.

- walt

Great topic. The loud versus quiet issue also dovetails with the numerous track noise comments that have been posted here over the years. I run Legacy and a few Atlas TMCC locomotives on Fastrack (which I chose for its simplicity and forgiving nature, especially for my grandsons) on a layout in a detached building. I don't have to worry about disturbing someone. The steam whistles and diesel horns are amazingly realistic, especially with Legacy's quilling feature, and it's fun to blast those occasionally for full effect. As for Fastrack noise, I installed 1/8" neoprene padding under the track (which is screwed to plywood roadbed) and the noise does not seem bad at all--never drowning out the chuffing or engine sounds. Most of the layout does not yet have scenery, which will absorb even more track noise once it's completed. Perhaps more importantly, I have noticed that "budget grade" rolling stock--the kind with plastic trucks and lightweight construction that you find in train sets--generate much more noise than premium rolling stock such as MTH Premiere, Lionel "Standard O" and others with sprung metal trucks.

When not wearing my hearing aids, I have about a 75% hearing loss. If there is any advantage to this, it is that loud toy trains are not loud to me. In fact, on the rare occasions I run trains while wearing my hearing aids, I’m surprised how loud they actually are.

Now; my wife has “bionic hearing” so, I refrain from operating trains in the basement while she is trying to sleep. As the old saying goes “happy wife - happy life”.

Curt

There two sources of noise track and engine.  I find track noise annoying because it can drown out the engine sounds.  Fastrack is the worst. Followed by tubular track.  If you are using command control, you can reduce engine noise or run quiet. I find The You Tube videos of conventional trains on tubular track very annoying. I guess when I was a kid it was ok but with the modern sound systems, I want to hear the engine. I use Atlas on Homasote and have no track noise except the clickity clack.  With MTH you can go into doppler mode, and the sound will fade as the train gets further away.   Hope that helps.

Art

I enjoy the sounds the equipment is supposed to make (railsounds, freightsounds, etc) but dislike track noise.  The ability to adjust individual components on Legacy, LC+2.0 and Protosound is an incredible feature.  I usually turn down the engine and bell volume so I can hear the talking better.  Occasionally we get a high-speed runner at the club, all tubular track.  When that happens, volumes levels that are too loud for me at home are inaudible. 

I've also come to dislike anything without a horn.  It makes finding my train when I can't see it easier.   The lower level loops at the club are at most 30% visible from any spot around them.

This is a great Question Arnold, lots of different thoughts, some like the new sound cars, locomotives, diesels, StationSounds cars, and possibly some of the folks have never heard them. From the yesteryear of tinplate track, clickety clack, on the sectional track screwed to plywood, to the newer scale like operation track laid on cork roadbed atop homasote, with sounds turned up loud, it’s just whatever floats your boats. I love the new locomotives with 4 chuffs per revolution, the diesels reving up, it’s so much fun, also running in command mode and adjusting the levels from low to high, it’s a wow. Happy Railroading Everyone

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