Train Air Horns and How They Work

The warning sound of an approaching train is unmistakable; the ear-splittingly loud tones are designed to get your attention and make sure you get off the tracks and stay off until the danger is past. We all know the sound, but what makes it work?

Train air horns are powered by air, and more specifically pressurized air. The device is powered by an air tank filled with compressed air by an air compressor. When the signal is activated the pressurized air flows through a valve and on through the rest of the workings until a very loud honk comes from the trumpets.

The over-the-top sound produced by train air horns acts is loud enough that it acts as a warning signal long before the locomotive reaches the intersection. This gives motorists and pedestrians time to clear off the tracks so the train can safely pass.

Train air horns have taken the car enthusiast market by storm to the point they are being installed on cars, SUVs and passenger trucks. They are installed in one of two ways. The first is where the gleaming trumpets are on full display so the owner can show off this great addition. The second is to conceal all parts of the device. This type of installation makes it really confusing to passersby who hear the sound of a locomotive and can’t find the source.

Using these devices on these types of vehicles helps make a statement. However, the decibel level (loudness) is really more than is needed on the roadway. In fact, installing them on vehicles in some countries is against the law. Fortunately, it’s still legal in the United States, although there are noise ordinances and volume guidelines that must be adhered to, such as designated quiet zones.

Train air horns are available in complete kits that make installation a snap because you’ll have everything you need on hand to get the job done. They are available through automotive aftermarket retailers and there are a number of websites that also sell the kits and ship them to the buyer for installation.