Learn about train whistle signals!

Railroad Whistle Talk!

Anytime your ride a train you will hear the Engineer blow the horn or whistle anytime the train moves. This is the way trains “talk” to people to let everyone know what the train is about to do. This is so that workers and those close by the tracks will know that the train may be headed in their direction. Check out the whistle symbols below to keep YOU safe by the tracks!

Each * means a short toot. Each — means a long toot.

Apply brakes. Stop.
— — Release brakes. Proceed.
— — — — Flagman return from west or south.
— — — — — Flagman return from east or north.
* * * — Protect front of train
* * Answer to any signal not otherwise provided for.
* * * When standing, to back up. When running, to stop at next passenger station.
* * * * Call for signals.
— — * — Approaching highway crossing at grade.
—— Approaching stations, junctions, and railroad crossings.
— — * Approaching meeting, or waiting, points of trains.
A number of short toots is an alarm for persons or livestock on the track.