Question Question about radio/electrical interference being picked up by noise canceling headphones while on a train


Feb 2, 2021
My question is more out of curiosity. I recently came back from a trip that involved both traveling by air and by train. While traveling by airplane and train, especially while on long routes, I would listen to some music on my headphones from either my smartphone or portable mp3 player. On this trip, because of the long duration of travel, I listened to music with my Bose QC 45 headphones connected by audio cable to my Sony NWA-55 mp3 player. During my air flights to and from home, my music listening equipment seemed to be playing fine. I am sure any of you tech enthusiasts and experts who are experienced with air travel know that it is always possible to pickup a little interference in your headphones due to factors such as the aircraft's electrical, electronic, or GPS/satellite components, radio communication between the aircraft pilots and air traffic control (ATC), certain electronic devices used by other passengers, and/or solar radiation or electromagnetic activities in the upper atmosphere. That's what I always assumed to be the possible causes when pickup occasional blips or interferences when listening to my music while on an airplane. While using the Amtrak train service for the first time on my trip, going between Washington DC and Newark, New Jersey (if location helps), it appeared that the train either used or passed by electrical lines. I assume these electrical lines were high voltage and high wattage ( I am not an electrical expert) and were used to supply power to either the trains or other associated functions on the trains and train cars and/or railroad tracks and services and operations along the railroad tracks. I noticed from time to time large concentrations of electrical towers , but I am uncertain if they were associated with the rail service. Anyway, occasionally, while listening to my music on my mentioned headphones and mp3 player while riding the train, I heard a brief thumping sound in my headphones. I did not have these thumping sounds while on my air flights both before and after the train ride so I suspected that maybe the thumping was due to the train either using or being in close proximity to electrical lines along the railroad tracks. So out of curiosity, were the thumping sounds that I heard on my noise canceling headphones likely just electrical interference from the electrical lines and systems being used by the train and railroad tracks? That is what I am currently suspecting but just thought I would ask.

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