Have you ever wondered what the train's whistle means? It is heard by museum visitors and echoes throughout the Cowichan region, depending on which direction the wind is travelling.
When the engineer is given the signal to move forward by the conductor he gives two short toots. This is an acknowledgment that they he has received the hand signal that it is safe to move forward.
If the conductor requires the engineer to move backward, the hand signal is acknowledged with three short toots.
When the train starts to move or slows down to stop, it is required to ring its bell until fully stopped or well underway in its movement.
The most common whistle is two long, one short and one long whistle which is a warning that the train is about to enter a crossing. Engineers know when to perform this signal because of the prominent white whistle signs along the engineer's side of the track. This whistle is also accompanied by the ringing of the train's bell.
Engineers also make judgment calls on whether to sound a warning whistle if someone or something is too close to the tracks. A series of short loud bursts is a warning for people or animals to move away from the tracks.