We’ve got the sound to keep you getting downtown

(With apologies to Quad City DJs)

Ding-dong. Bzk bzk bzk bzk BNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNnnnn

In the coming years there will be new trains on Miami’s Metrorail. I kinda seriously love some of the sounds the old ones make, so I’m trying to get good clean captures of them.

The first and foremost: door close chime. This is two notes played on a synth that sounds like retro-futuristic outer space. A similar sounding note of different pitch used to play on PalmTran buses when a stop was requested.

But that’s only the theme music, of sorts….

Once all the doors clatter shut and the train interlocks clear, the operator may set the train in motion. The trains accelerate quickly but first they do a test to see if the brakes have cleared yet – a tone chatters on and off at low duty cycle.
Next the tone comes back loudly and stays with you a while as the station begins to fly away into the distance. It will fade away for a while as the control system (Westinghouse automatic train control or bipedal bag of colorful water) applies 100% motor power, then it quickly fades back into action once full speed is reached.

But then it also just goes silly.

Anyway, here are some recordings of it doing what it does. I would like to also try recording it via a magnetic pickup…!! I’ve heard urban folklore that the motor does have curiously strong magnetic leakage. Maybe I’ll even be able to hear track circuit tones.


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