I am usually alright with the diesel sounds. It’s the other club members with everything from Annies to K27s. Since I have the Phoenix Sound Programmer, they all end up here. But what do I know about steam, it was all gone before I was 12. I spent my leisure time fishing and playing sports, not roaming rail yards.
Although my dad was a Conductor, my fist time on a train was to go trout fishing with him in Algonquin Park. That got to be a regular spring and fall event during my teens. Even then, I was more interested in the park and fishing than trains. But I do remember those trips in the van (caboose).
The fold down beds that were 6 inches shorter than I was and smelled of coal oil, as did everything else in the van including my dad’s leather grip. The wash basin that was so shallow it splashed water every time the van lurched. And with 110 cars ahead of us on winding rails it lurched a lot. Climbing the grab irons up to the cupola to watch for hotboxes, and of course enjoying the park scenery. Watching my dad cook a full course meal in an iron skillet on the pot bellied stove. My dad always said he lived through the golden age of railroading, and I believe him.
Now where was I …. Oh yah, sound boards. Because we do a lot of switching, the first thing that is turned off is any automatic toots, clangs, hisses, screeches, etc. at start-up. Next is the automatic grade crossing signal once a certain speed is reached. Then the whistle/horn and bell are set to manual. We pay a good dollar for a programmable sound board with all the bells and whistles, and then turn most of it off. But it sure does add a lot of realism and enjoyment to any locomotive. :-)