Prior to renovation
Jully 2016. Four or five times a day, the railroad 486000 connects Paimpol with Guingamp both ways. The line is old, it’s all out of shape. The railcar 554## has to run at slow speed on some sections. The track will be closed in september. It’s taking its last trains.
Between Squiffiec and Pontrieux, there are seven unprotected level crossings. A sign warns the motorist that he’ll be crossing a railroad. When a train is approaching, it all very simple : it hoots its horn. For more busy roads, the usual automatic half barrier does the work.
Two months prior to the track closing down, I station a dummy head next to every criss-cross, each in turn, on various schedules. The horn has a wide range. It depends on the wind, the humidity. These acoustics milestones mark the residents’ everyday life.
The condition of the track has gave rise to much debate. There has been some talk about giving it up, eventually it will be refurbished. For this purpose it will be closed for seven months. The new line will be more comfortable, faster, less noisy.
The sound of the old line will die out. Pinned on a map, the horn blows and slow crossing of the railcar remain in binaural.
The map below is a first attempt at sticking together the time trace (the time of the sound) now gone (but preserved inside the recording) and the geographic area in which the horn would spread (and still does in the binaural space).
A geolocated listening system could easily play those recordings on site, couldn’t it ?