Airchime K3L and K3H

These horns were introduced in 1954 as a low maintenance alternative to the M3H . They were a derivative of the derivative the K5H, using the #1, 2, and 3 bells from that horn to produce the D# minor chord required for use in Canada at that time. Early K3H's used the same pyramid-shaped manifold as the J3; later horns used either the high profile H manifold or the low profile L manifold. The horn pictured above is an early, sand cast K3L produced by AirChime licensee Holden Ltd. Horns produced after 1974 are die cast, and have a much smoother finish.

Rear view of the Holden K3L.

Some K3H's cast by Holden between 1957 and 1969 came with adjustable back caps, as shown at left (note the adjustment nuts at the centers of the caps). Most K horns are not adjustable. Note also the high profile H manifold, which features a short "neck" below the middle of the manifold.

An American-tuned K3LA illustrating the later die cast finish. The K3H and K3L are primarily Canadian horns, but do occasionally show up on American railroads, notably on the BNSF 960-series Dash 9-44CW's. Subsequent new BNSF locomotives have come with the American-tuned K3LA. All horns and photos courtesy Brent Lee.

Factory tuning is: D# minor (D#,F#,A#)

The horn uses bells #1, 2, and 3 from the K5H.

The K3H and K3L are the predominent horn on Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, and VIA Rail Canada. They are relatively rare on US railroads.

K3H or K3L sound samples:

BNSF 960-series Dash 9-44CW:
Sample 1...41kB...1 second
Sample 2...198kB...9 seconds
Sample 3...114kB...5 seconds

CP Rail, various locomotives:
Sample 1...157kB...7 seconds

VIA Rail Canada F40PH:
Sample 1...203kB...9 seconds

River Terminal SW1001:
Sample 1...162kB...7 seconds

Back to the Airhorn Guide

Back to Santa Fe Subjects