Cool. I've got an old one that's pretty interesting I'll dig out.
Rainer, what a beautiful location. I love the reverb the forest imparts on the train horn. Cool to see and hear some larger steam locomotives in action, and not just small scale (toy) tourist and mountain trains. When I spent some time in India in the late 90's they still had a few lines running big steam engines and it was a visual and audio spectacle when they'd pull into a station. I really wish I had a recording rig with me to capture those sounds. The big steam engines in India are now all out of service, but there are still a few very small steam powered toy trains providing passenger service up into the mountains. Those routes require small "toy trains" to accommodate the very tight turns and high grade climbs of the mountainous terrain. Some have clogged third rails to handle really steep sections. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
is one of the most interesting, and has been designated a World Heritage Site. It runs diesel engines for regular service, but still runs regular passenger service with the old steam engines too. The route is so tight, it was designed with tight loop switchbacks and zig-zags (train chugs up into a blind ended ravine, stops, reverses direction and on the way back out of the ravine switches to the section of track which heads up hill rather than down. The train proceeds backwards until next zig-zag switch back, where it changes direction and goes forward again. It's a really fun ride, but very slow. The somewhat less quaint, larger but still small gauge Kalka–Shimla "toy train" railway in Himachal Pradesh doesn't do that kind of crazy switch back stuff provides some spectacular views. I believe that one switched to diesel engines entirely back in the 70's. It feels more like a regular Indian train line, just downsized and with great views.
Morst, I remember well that SF siren and announcement form when I was living there 25 years ago. Good to know some things haven't changed much.
Moke, there used to be a live music venue in a town near here with both inside and outside performance areas. The inside stage was the smaller of the two, the large main performance stage was out back at a large patio. The back wall of that stage was a tall wooden fence which ran to buildings on either side, and immediately behind the wall were RR tracks. Most bands and many patrons wouldn't realize the tracks were there until a freight passed by mid-set, and it was always interesting to watch how people reacted. Most bands couldn't figure out what was going on at first, then as it grew louder and they realized a train was screaming past only a few yards behind them, they'd either stop playing and wait for it to pass, play louder, or on occasion would segue into an improvisational jam blending with the rhythm and intensity of the train-pass-by. The same tracks run through this town, and when I was regularly recording a monthly jazz trio gig for a few years in a venue directly across a street from the tracks they'd often leave the side door open, and a train can be heard at some point on almost every recording. Often it was just prior to start, or just as they finished playing. It wasn't nearly as startling or impactful as the surprise passings at the other place, and always made everyone in the room smile.
[edited to add wikipedia link to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway entry]