The Master Retarder

I got a cheap giggle during a visit to Galesburg’s annual Railroad Days. At the non-stop urging of my three-year-old train fanatic, I was coerced into boarding an hour-long bus tour of the rail yard and surrounding area. It ended up being much more interesting than I would have guessed– but then again, if you combine my rampant curiousity with some sort of massive object, I will usually find it interesting.

Original photography by DaveX

There was a lot of nice graffiti, but this was my favorite.

It was also more than a little curious to find myself once again on a schoolbus, retracing a large portion of my old high-school bus route. Bizarre!

But I digress. You want to know about my aforementioned “cheap giggle.” Well, picture me on a schoolbus, with my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me– and then the tour guide says something like: “over there is the master retard”!

Uh….

Sure, I knew he was talking about the giant air brake that slows trains being humped (heh heh, humped) in the yard. It prevents rail cars from smacking into one another at inappropriate speeds. It also makes a great noise, which I’ve heard many times before– just never up close. Here’s some video, so you can dig the good sounds as well. Enjoy!

And hey, check this out while you’re at it– more train stuff, and more sound art as well. Not the usual combination!

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One Response to “The Master Retarder”

  1. Hymns Says:

    Sounds like you might also be interested in this:

    http://trainsound.blogspot.com/

    “Train Sound documents a collaborative project featuring live sounds by the Buckingham train family. The goal is to organize a real-time performance involving local and regional musicians and artists who will improvise on-site with a Buckingham train.”

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