Many of Gallup’s guests don’t know about or understand why there are train whistles loud and often. There are multiple reasons:
Safety: The horn alerts people that the trains are approaching railroad crossings. There are multiple railroad crossings throughout Gallup. Both federal and state regulations require the horn whenever a crossing is approached.
Signal to Other Trains: Whistles are used by conductors to communicate with other conductors when there are multiple trains on the tracks. Because there is a train yard in downtown Gallup, guests and residents alike will hear a wide variety of train whistle types and lengths. Did you know that historically different railway companies used to use different types of whistles with a variety of tones? Collectors now seek out old train whistles due to their unique variety.
Signal of Train Direction: Often in downtown Gallup trains may be switching cars at the rail yard. As such, you’ll hear some shorthorn/whistle sounds as the train is moving backward and forward down the track to make those switches.