Hancock Air Whistles

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Re: Hancock Air Whistles

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:01 pm

Railroads have geographically widespread operations, so a lot of employees work out of sight of top management. So every so often something gets done that top management was … never actually asked to approve.

My ***GUESS*** would be a scenario something like this. Some time, shortly after the 1969 merger, the C-425 was being shopped (maybe very minor shopping) at some location where there was a spare Hancock whistle (perhaps from a scrapped unit?) in a pile of we-don't-have-an-obvious-use-for-these-but-haven't-gotten-around-to-calling-the-scrap-dealer stuff. And some ex-New Haven employee (perhaps resenting his new x-PRR boss, or maybe just nostalgic) said "That's a NEW HAVEN unit, it OUGHT to have a Hancock whistle," and a half hour later the job was done.

And, since it WORKED adequately, (and top management never wanted to devote MUCH time effort and money to repairing Alcos), nobody ever bothered switching back!

…As I said, it's a ***GUESS***, but not one that seems too implausible to me. If it's true, there was probably never any documentation…

---
George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" rail image site has four photos of C-425 in its New Haven section… all (or at least all showing the front clearly enough) with non-Hancock air horns. So apparently the New Haven had stopped specifying Hancock whistles by the time the C-425 were ordered. So at least PART of my scenario seems to be true: this was a "field modification."
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Re: Hancock Air Whistles

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:36 pm

Allen Hazen wrote:Railroads have geographically widespread operations, so a lot of employees work out of sight of top management. So every so often something gets done that top management was … never actually asked to approve.

My ***GUESS*** would be a scenario something like this. Some time, shortly after the 1969 merger, the C-425 was being shopped (maybe very minor shopping) at some location where there was a spare Hancock whistle (perhaps from a scrapped unit?) in a pile of we-don't-have-an-obvious-use-for-these-but-haven't-gotten-around-to-calling-the-scrap-dealer stuff. And some ex-New Haven employee (perhaps resenting his new x-PRR boss, or maybe just nostalgic) said "That's a NEW HAVEN unit, it OUGHT to have a Hancock whistle," and a half hour later the job was done.

And, since it WORKED adequately, (and top management never wanted to devote MUCH time effort and money to repairing Alcos), nobody ever bothered switching back!

…As I said, it's a ***GUESS***, but not one that seems too implausible to me. If it's true, there was probably never any documentation…

---
George Elwood's "Fallen Flags" rail image site has four photos of C-425 in its New Haven section… all (or at least all showing the front clearly enough) with non-Hancock air horns. So apparently the New Haven had stopped specifying Hancock whistles by the time the C-425 were ordered. So at least PART of my scenario seems to be true: this was a "field modification."


These particular Alco's stayed close to New Haven for maybe a couple of years before the Alco's were mostly sent to Ohio for ore and coal train service. Eventually most if not all of them ended up at Mingo Junction, Ohio. I had the 2456 a couple of times in maybe 1972 or 1973, I am still searching for the exact dates and trains involved and I think I had it as a lead unit at least once or twice. They never had Hancock Whistles while on the New Haven and in fact when they were new the New Haven equipped them with the same type horns that were used on the Central Vermont and Canadian National.Hancock Whistles were phased out during the mid 70's for the most part, they did not meet requirements for sound at grade crossings and had a problem getting clogged up with oil, dirt and debris. After I pull my old timebooks and check further I will tell you what trains I had it on and where I went with it. Stay tuned.
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