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Lately I've been watching some 1:1 railroading videos on YouTube from Today's Railroading In America | TRAINS 21.  I noticed that I couldn't detect any real pattern as to when they ring their bells.  Doing both a forum and a google search yielded fairly few conclusive answers.  One response on another forum seemed to suggest some rules but I couldn't really see these rules being followed in the 1:1 videos:

     From GCOR (2005):
     5.8.1 Ringing Engine Bell
     Ring the engine bell under any of the following conditions:
       * Before moving, except when making momentary stop and start switching movements.
       * As a warning signal anytime it is necessary.
       * When approaching men or equipment on or near the track.
       * When whistle signal (7) is required. [ this refers to public grade crossings ]
       * Approaching public crossings at grade with the engine in front and sounding of the whistle is     prohibited, start signal at the crossing sign. If no sign, or if movement begins between sign and crossing, start signal soon enough before crossing to provide warning. Continue ringing bell until the crossing is occupied.

So, all that being said, when do you ring your bells on your little locomotives?

Last edited by Brad Trout
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I try to follow Pennsylvania Railroad practices.  In the PRR rulebook, use of the bell was Rule 30.

"The engine bell or warning signal must be sounded when an engine is about to move, when running through tunnels, while approaching and passing public crossings at grade and when passing a train standing on an adjacent track."

As to the real engine bell, I only rang it before initiating movement if there were adjacent tracks or footpaths.  If I was starting out of a siding out in the country, I didn't ring the bell for the jackrabbits.  Approaching crossings, because it was required by law, I always rang it from the whistle post to the point at which the crossing was fully occupied.  I also rang it continuously when meeting or passing a train on an adjacent track, and when arriving, leaving, or moving through stations, as well as when approaching and moving past human beings, whether they were railroad employees or not.  Another time I used the bell was when passing through neighborhoods at low speed.  At high speed, the train makes so much noise, that people usually can't hear it approaching.  Also, the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal rules required use of the bell when moving within any of the platform tracks.

On the model railroad, I don't use the bell much: when arriving, departing, or passing through the station is about it.  As soon as the train starts moving, I turn it off.  I ring it continuously when moving within the locomotive facility and for a prudent distance when approaching a private crossing in Caprock yard.

Last edited by Number 90

Whenver!

But I tend to ring the bell when I'm moving slowly through a tight area since my operations are yard focused and in the steel industry. That's how one of the guys ran the train in real life in the foundry. He would ring the bell when coming into a building and when moving the locomotive inside the building. Not everyone did but I thought it was good policy to have the bell going when you're in a congested area so I follow suit on my layout.

@Hot Water posted:

Except,,,,,,,,,,,,,the original poster's question is about REAL TRAINS!!!!!

That would be a negative Ghost Rider......

He was referring to REAL TRAINS to set the premise of his question which was how do we apply these rules to our trains "So, all that being said, when do you ring your bells on your little locomotives?"

I know you like to be quick to set us heathens in line, but sometimes it's good to take a breath before asking Zeus to release the kraken.

Just curious, but if you hit the horn in a modern diesel and the bell comes on, how long does it stay on? I mean if I were to hit the horn and the bell starts ringing and I hold the horn for 5 seconds does the bell cut out as soon as I let off the horn or does it stay on for some predetermined amount of time?

@Hudson J1e posted:

Just curious, but if you hit the horn in a modern diesel and the bell comes on, how long does it stay on?

Until you shut off the bell.

I mean if I were to hit the horn and the bell starts ringing and I hold the horn for 5 seconds does the bell cut out as soon as I let off the horn or does it stay on for some predetermined amount of time?

Nope. The bell will stay on until it is shut off by the Engineer. The Conductor also has a horn & bell button, on his/her side of the cab, which works the same way.

As per FRA rule and NS rule book.

Most engines now automatically activate the bell when you blow the horn .

But for examples ; road crossings , passing thru a tunnel , passing MoW workers , anytime on service tracks and inside service buildings when required and in certain restricted areas of customers we service.

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