Airchime K3LA and K3HA


The picture above illustrates a common arrangement of the horn bells. From left to right, the bells are #4a, 1, and 2 with the #2 bell reversed, giving a K3LAR2. This particular horn uses the low profile L manifold, ironically mounted on a raised base. Other common arrangements are all-bells-forward and with the 4a bell reversed, the K3LAR4a.

The same bells can be mounted on a "high profile" H manifold to give a K3HA. The horn at left, on a Union Pacific locomotive, is a K3HAR2. The manifold has a short "neck" about three inches tall below the horizontal portion that holds the horn bells. The L manifold lacks this neck. Apparently even the high profile manifold wasn't high enough in this case, as this particular horn is also sitting on a raised shelf. The horn has "shower caps" over the mouths of the bells to keep dust, insects, and other foreign matter from entering and fouling the horn.

An all bells forward K3LA, courtesy Brent Lee. The K3LA was first produced in 1977 as a derivative of the K5LA, using the #1, 2, and 4a bells from that horn. The K3LA is the American tuned version of the much older Canadian tuned K3H. Visually, there is very little to distinguish the American and Canadian tuned horns. The K3LA and K3HA have gained widespread acceptance as an alternative to the Leslie S-3L.


Factory tuning for both the K3LA and K3HA is: B major (D#,F#,B)


The K3LA and K3HA are common horns on both BNSF and Union Pacific. In recent years, they have been supplanted by the K5LLA and K5HL on new locomotive purchases from EMD and GE. The K3LA was also used on later Soo Line locomotives.


K3LA or K3HA sound samples:

Santa Fe, various locomotives:
Sample 1...582kB...26 seconds
Sample 2...258kB...11 seconds
Sample 3...523kB...24 seconds
Sample 4...304kB...14 seconds

Union Pacific, various locomotives:
Sample 1...310kB...14 seconds
Sample 2...301kB...13 seconds




When bad things happen to good horns:

Horn with one bell silent:
Sample 1...243kB...11 seconds
Sample 2...194kB...8 seconds

Horn with two bells silent:
Sample 1...151kB...6 seconds

Various fouled K3LA's:
Sample 1...237kB...11 seconds
Sample 2...326kB...15 seconds
Sample 3...237kB...11 seconds




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