Choosing the Right Diesel Sound

If you don’t know the particular prime mover and proper airhorn(s) for a specific locomotive, the task of choosing the correct diesel Tsunami2 can seem confusing. While we cannot tell you exactly which horn was used on a given locomotive on a particular day in history, we can help narrow your choices to those that were most commonly used by a particular road. Keep in mind that many of our prime movers are available in multiple decoder formats.

Selecting the Prime Mover

The term prime mover refers to the diesel engine that is found in each locomotive. Tsunami2 is available with the most common prime movers found on many diesel locomotives. Although different locomotive designs may have the same prime mover, they may produce slightly different sounds. These differences are due to how the prime mover is mounted and how the exhaust manifold is set up. To accommodate this, Tsunami2 has a 7-band equalizer that can be adjusted to make each locomotive have its own unique timbre.

Locomotives also differ in their gear ratio design. Some were designed with very low ratios for yard switching, while others had higher ratios for high-speed passenger train operations. Tsunami2 allows you to set the top speed and adjust how fast it reaches its highest notch through a user-adjustable speed curve and momentum CVs. Some locomotives contain two of the same prime movers. For example, the ALCO DH-643 has two 244 prime movers. To better accommodate this sound, you should consider adding a second speaker and boosting the equalizer's low-frequency volume.

Below is a list of prime movers and the product line to which they correspond. Select a prime mover from one of the charts below to see a list of specific locomotives that use that engine. Note that Econami Digital Sound Decoders have a more limited selection of prime movers than Tsunami2 does. If you cannot find your locomotive in the Econami selection consider Tsunami2 instead.


Tsunami2: EMD 567 No Transition (1st generation)

Switchers

NW2
NW3
NW5

 

SW1
SW7
SW8
SW9
SW600
SW900
SW1200

 

TR1
TR2
TR3
TR4
TR5
TR6

 

GMD1

Tsunami2 & Econami: EMD 567 Non-Turbo (1st generation)

F-Units

FT
F3
F7
FP7

 

CF7
F9
FP9
FL9

"Geeps"

GP7
GP9
GP18
GP28

SDs

SD7
SD9

Switchers

BL1
BL2

Tsunami2: EMD 567D Turbo (1st generation)

"Geeps"

GP20
GP30
GP35

SDs

SD24
SD26
SD35

8-Axle Units

DD35*
DD35A*

*DD35 series locomotives were equipped with two prime movers; we recommend adding a second speaker for further realism if space allows in your particular model.

Tsunami2: EMD Dual 567 (1st generation, non-turbo)

E-Units

E3
E4

E5
E6

E7
E8

E9

Tsunami2: EMD 645 Non-Turbo (2nd generation)

"Geeps"

GP15-1
GP38
GP38-2
GP38AC

 

 

SDs

SD38

Switchers

SW1000
SW1500
SW1504
MP15
MP15AC

Tsunami2 & Econami: EMD 645 Turbo (2nd generation)

F-Units

FP40
F40PH
FP45
F45

"Geeps"

GP40
GP40-2
GP40TC
GP40P
GP40P-2
GP40X

 

GP50
GP15T
GP49
GP50

SDs

SD39
SD40
SD40-2
SD45
SD50
SDP40

 

SDP45
SD40T-2
SDL39
SDL45-2
SD45X
SD45-2

Tsunami2: EMD Dual 645 Turbo (2nd generation)

8-Axle Units

DDA40X

Tsunami2 & Econami: EMD 710 Turbo (3rd generation)

F-Units

F59PH
F56PHI
F69PH-AC

"Geeps"

GP59
GP60
GP60B

SDs

SD60
SD60F
SD60M
SD60MAC
SD70

 

SD70M
SD70MAC
SD90
SD90M
SD90MAC

Tsunami2: EMD 710 G3C-T2 (3rd generation)

SDs

SD70ACe

 

SD70M-2


Tsunami2: ALCO 539 Turbo

Cab Units

DL-105
DL-107
DL-109
DL-110

Road Switchers

RS-1
RSD-1

Switchers

HH-900
HH-1000
S-2
S-2
S-4
S-12**

**The S-12 was built by Montreal Locomotive Works, which took over production of ALCO locomotives and prime movers in 1970.

Tsunami2: ALCO 539 Non-Turbo

Cab Units

HH-660

Road Switchers

RSC-13**

Switchers

S-1
S-3
S-10**
S-11**

 

 

**The S-10, S-11, and RSC-13 were built by Montreal Locomotive Works, which took over production of ALCO locomotives and prime movers in 1970.

Tsunami2 & Econami: ALCO 244

Cab Units

FA-1
FA-2
FB-2
PA-1
PB-1
PA-2
PB-2

Road Switchers

RS-2
RS-3
RSC-2
RS-5
RS-10
RSD-4
RSD-5
RS-4
RSD-7
RSD-3
RSC-24**

 

 

 

 

**The RSC-24 was built by Montreal Locomotive Works, which took over production of ALCO locomotives and prime movers in 1970.

Tsunami2: ALCO 251 i6

Switchers

S-5
S-6
S-13**

Road Switchers

RSD-35 (Narrow Gauge WP&YR)
RS-23

**The S-13 was built by Montreal Locomotive Works, which took over production of ALCO locomotives and prime movers in 1970.

Tsunami2: ALCO 251 v12

Cab Units

FPA-4
FPB-4

Road Switchers

RS-11
RS-18**
RS-36
RSD-12

"Century Series"

C-420
M-420

Diesel-Hydraulic

DH-643**

*DH-643 is equipped with two of the 251 12-cylinder prime movers; we recommend adding a second speaker for further realism if space allows in your particular model.

**The RS–18 was built by Montreal Locomotive Works, which took over production of ALCO locomotives and prime movers in 1970.

Tsunami2: ALCO 251 v12 Super Charged

Road Switchers

RS-32

Tsunami2: ALCO 251C v16

Road Switchers

RS-27
RSD-15
RSD-17

"Century Series"

C-424
C-425
C-430
C-855*
C-855B*

*C-855 and C-855B locomotives contain two of the 16-cylinder 251 prime movers; we recommend adding a second speaker for further realism if space allows in your particular model.

Tsunami2: ALCO 251C v16 Super Charged

"Century Series"

M-630

 

M-636

 

C-630

 

C-636


Tsunami2: GE FDL-12

GE "Universal Series"

U23B
U23C
U26C (export)

GE "Dash 7" Line

B23-7
BQ23-7
B30-7A
C30-7A

GE "Dash 8" Line

Dash 8-32B
Dash 8-32C
P32-8WH
P32AC-DM

Tsunami2 & Econami: GE FDL-16

GE "Universal Series"

U25B
U25C
U28B
U28C
U30B
U30C
U33B
U33C
U36B
U36C

GE "Dash 7" Line

B36-7
C30-7
C36-7
B30-7

GE "Dash 8" Line

Dash 8-39B
Dash 8-39C
Dash 8-40B
Dash 8-40BW
Dash 8-40C
Dash 8-40CW
Dash 8-40CM
Dash 8-41CW
Dash 8-44CW

GE Passenger

P30CH
U34CH
U30CG
U28CG
U36CG

Tsunami2: GE 7FDL-16

GE "AC"

AC4400CW
AC6000CW

GE "Dash 9" Line

Dash 9-40C
Dash 9-40CW
Dash 9-44CW

GE "Genesis" Series

P40DC
P42DC

Tsunami2: GE Dual FDL-16

U50

Tsunami2: GE GEVO G12 “Evolution” Series

“Evolution” Series

ES40DC
ES44AC

ES44DC
ES44C4

ET44AC
ET44C4

Tsunami2: GE 44-Ton Center Cab Dual Caterpillar

45-Tonner

Light Dual Engine Industrial Switchers

Tsunami2: GE "Cummins" Diesel

70-Tonner

Light Single Engine Industrial Switchers

Diesel Rail Cars


Tsunami2: Baldwin VO

Switchers

VO-660

VO-1000

Tsunami2: Baldwin 608NA

Switchers

DS-4-4-1000

Road Units

DR-6-4-2000*

 

DT-6-6-2000*

*DR-6-4-2000 and DT-6-6-2000 locomotives contain two of the 608NA prime movers; we recommend adding a second speaker for further realism if space allows in your particular model.

Tsunami2: Baldwin 608A

Switchers

DS-4-4-1000*
S-12**

Road Units

DT-6-6-2000*
DRS-6-4-1000*
DRS-4-4-1000*
RS-12**
DRS-6-4-1500***
AS-416
DRS-4-4-1500***
AS-16
DRS-6-6-1500***
AS-616

Cab Units

DR-12-8-1500 “Centipede”***
DR-6-4-2000 “Sharknose”*
DR-6-2-1000*
DR-6-2-1500#
DR-4-4-1500 “Babyface”***
RF-16 “Sharknose”
DR-4-4-1500 “Sharknose”***

*These units were built with a 606SC prime mover that sounds similar to the 608A.
**The S-12 and RS-12 were built with a 606A prime mover that sounds similar to the 608A.
***These units were built with a 608SC prime mover that sounds similar to the 608A.

Tsunami2: Baldwin 606NA

Switchers

DS-4-4-660
DS-4-4-750
S-8

Road Units

DRS-6-4-660NA
DRS-6-4-750


Tsunami2: Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose

RGS Geese 1-7
Gas Engine Rail Bus

Other Light Industrial Locomotives

Tsunami2: Dual Whitcomb

44-Ton Center Cab
50-Ton Center Cab
65-Ton Center Cab
70-Ton Center Cab
80-Ton Center Cab

Other Light Industrial Locomotives


Tsunami2: Fairbanks-Morse

Switchers & Road Switchers

H-10-44
H-12-44
H-12-44TS
H-12-46
H-15-44
H-16-44
H-16-66
H-20-44
H-24-66

"C-Liners"

CFA-16-4
CFB-16-4
CFA-20-4
CFB-20-4
CPA-16-4
CPB-16-4
CPA-16-5
CPB-16-5
CPB-20-5
CPA-24-5

Cab Units

P12-42
"Erie Built"

Selecting the Airhorn

The most distinctive sound heard on a diesel locomotive is the airhorn. Railroads used airhorns to warn vehicles and pedestrians, as well as to communicate to other trains, yard personnel and trainmen.

One of the great features of Digital Sound Decoders and DCC is the ability to incorporate prototypical horn signals, just like the real thing! Tsunami2 and Econami decoders have functions for both a long horn blast and a short horn toot, making crisp and accurate signals possible. Both decoders also come with the ability to set up automatic signals such as forward, reverse, a public grade-crossing, and brakes applied.

To make your selection easier and more fun, each diesel Tsunami2 Digital Sound Decoder comes with 42 airhorns that were most commonly heard for the era and prototype. Each Econami Digital Sound Decoder comes pre-loaded with 16 of the most common airhorn choices used with the prime mover options in the decoder. Many railroads used more than one type of airhorn. Since Tsunami2 and Econami offer so many different airhorns in each decoder, you don’t have to permanently commit to any one. Remember this is your railroad -- so don’t hesitate to select the horn you enjoy hearing the most. If you are interested in sticking closely to prototype practice, you can read more information on which airhorn is appropriate for a specific road using the Locomotive Airhorn Usage page.