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Joe
08-01-2004, 09:04 PM
What is the difference between having the headlights on the locomotive above the cab and on the nose? And also having the ditch lights on the on the deck or below near the plow? Are there any major differences?

Thanks!

Chris Starnes
08-01-2004, 09:16 PM
That is just the railroad's preference as to how they want their engines set up. I am not aware of and industry regulations that strictly say they have to be set up a certain way.

Both low and high headlights have advantages and disadvantages. A low headlight puts it right about head-level when you walk in front of it on the walkway which can be a little annoying. High headlights do seem to provide a little better light for night running but there isn't a huge difference.

J
08-01-2004, 09:34 PM
I don't have a copy of the Federal Regulations handy but the only requirements are for trains operating over crossings at speeds greater than 20 mph (or is it 25 - it's hard to keep up with the requirements for ditch lights, event recorders, etc. when you don't work with them daily):

- A certain level of candella (brightness) for both the headlight and the "crossing" (ditch) lights
- A requirement that the headlight and crossing lights form a specific triangular pattern

The second requirement is intended to help motorists recognize that the lights represent an approaching train. Especially at night, the triangular pattern is intended to help perceive the distance and speed of a train as the lights appear to move farther apart. The shape of the triangle is not too prescriptive if you compare the arrangement of lights on a P42 with those of a freight locomotive with the light mounted above the windshield.

Instead of crossing lights, a rotating beacon is permissible and you'll still see these on some units such as MARC GP40W's in the DC area.

As for above or below the hood, Chris Starnes correctly points out that it is a matter of preference. Headlights on the nose are easier to maintain but I recall an order of ATSF GE's a few years back that had the nose headlilghts recessed slightly - supposedly to keep them away from employees who might inadvertantly brush against the hot glass. Many former SP units are running around with most of their headlight packages removed. The original fixed headlight remains on the nose. Directly above, the read rotating beacon has been removed - in some cases a metal plate has been welded in place. This beacon would come on whenever the train experienced an emergency brake application or it could manually illuminated by the engineer as a warning to an approaching train. Above the nose, the original Pyle National Gyralight has been removed and a metal plate has blanked off the opening. See:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=71884

Guilford350
08-02-2004, 12:58 AM
J,

I think now its 30 Mph or greater that requires the use of ditch lights.

J
08-02-2004, 12:11 PM
Well, you shamed me into looking into my Code of Federal Regulations and Section 229.125(d) states, "at a speed greater than 20 mph over one or more public highway-rail crossings..."

When you consider all the requirements that a locomotive must meet to be oprated in the lead - yes there are some exemptions at low speeds - it can be a challenge to find a compliant unit. Here's a partial list - each component is discussed in detail in the FRA rules.

whistle, headlights, auxiliary lights, event recorder, sanders, non-leaking exhaust manifolds, clean/functional toilet, correct wheel profiles, no oil on floors or platforms, no cracked windshield, etc. etc.

Joe
08-02-2004, 03:35 PM
Gotta have that clean/functional toilet! :lol:

C40dash8
08-03-2004, 02:25 AM
You would be amazed at how many engines we take out of service for dirty or smelly toilets.

daz
08-03-2004, 05:04 AM
I have look all over this website for lower cab pictures and i cant find any.
I am trying to model it and i have not idea what it looks like or what is there. Can any one help ?

Thanks

Warren
08-03-2004, 02:03 PM
I remember the ditch lights alternating flashing one side to the other on frieght trains many years ago. Is that correct or am I remembering wrong?

Joe
08-03-2004, 09:26 PM
I think on some freight locomotives, the ditch lights flash when you blow the horn. Many passenger locmotive ditch lights flash, but that's manual. Metra cabcar ditch lights always flash, I've never seen them constant.

Chris Starnes
08-03-2004, 09:53 PM
Yes, on most freight locomotives the ditch lights will alternate for 30 seconds after blowing the horn.

CTS

bnsf sammy
06-26-2005, 03:28 PM
Many passenger locmotive ditch lights flash, but that's manual.

I dont think its manual. Also, it goes by the railroad as far as blinking ditch lights. CSX and NS do, BNSF and UP dont. Amtrak on some of their engines do like the F59PHI. Also, the ditch lights are supposed to flash whenever the bell rings as well. According to the Metrolink Timetable #2, bell and flashing ditch lights must be operated when passing through passenger stations when persons are seen on or near station platforms.

ssw9662
06-26-2005, 11:19 PM
The flashing ditchlights found on northeastern locomotives are required by NORAC.

"Rule 22b: Auxilary Lights

The leading end of leading engines that operate over public crossings at grade at speeds greater than 20 MPH must be equipped with auxilary lights. Auxilary lights consist of two ditch lights (auxilary lights on steady), two crossing lights (auxilary lights alternately flashing), or one oscillating light (auxilary light that moves in a circle of figure-eight pattern). Auxilary lights are considered operative when they illuminate after the engine horn and/or bell is sounded or the auxilary light switch is activated."

Super2000
06-27-2005, 12:29 AM
[QUOTE=Joe] Many passenger locmotive ditch lights flash, but that's manual. QUOTE]

I dont think its manual. Also, it goes by the railroad as far as blinking ditch lights. CSX and NS do, BNSF and UP dont. Amtrak on some of their engines do like the F59PHI.
I've seen one UP train with flashing ditch lights.

Amtrak's P42s blink their ditch lights on station arrival and departure as far as I can tell. Once they're underway the lights are constant.

J
06-30-2005, 03:07 PM
[QUOTE=bnsf sammy]
Amtrak's P42s blink their ditch lights on station arrival and departure as far as I can tell. Once they're underway the lights are constant.

Consistant with the operation of the bell.

CDTX_2051
06-30-2005, 05:42 PM
[QUOTE=Super2000]

Consistant with the operation of the bell.

I've always understood that on the newer Amtrak engines (P42s, Dash 8s, etc.), the ditch lights alternate upon blowing the horn. This is also the case for the Surfliner and Amtrak California cab cars.

Super2000
07-01-2005, 04:35 AM
I've always understood that on the newer Amtrak engines (P42s, Dash 8s, etc.), the ditch lights alternate upon blowing the horn.
A recent observation confirmed this. I saw the Southwest Chief approach a crossing with steady ditch lights. They started blinking when the whistle blew.

J
07-01-2005, 11:05 AM
I should have been more specific. On many units, the bell comes on automatically when horn is sounded.

Often the bell is located on the left side of the unit and I've seen many crewmembers have to remind the engineer (on the opposite side of the cab) to push the brass bell valve to shut the darn thing off.

fuente1
01-27-2006, 04:26 AM
I have a questions on this topic that I cant seem to get an answer too. During the east coast Steam Excursions on NS 1967-1994 none of the engines had ditch lights on them, nor does 3985 or 844 on UP. Is steam exempt? I know on UP they travel pretty fast with steam. I guess if you dont feel a N&W A class or 3985 coming you need your pulse checked but, is there an exemption for historical equipment?

J
01-27-2006, 04:48 PM
49 CFR 229.125(h): "Any locomotive subject to Part 229, that was built before December 31, 1948, and that is not used regularly in commuter or intercity passenger service, shall be considered historic equipment and excepted from the requirements of paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section."

That means they don't need the auxiliary lights.

fuente1
01-27-2006, 05:43 PM
49 CFR 229.125(h): "Any locomotive subject to Part 229, that was built before December 31, 1948, and that is not used regularly in commuter or intercity passenger service, shall be considered historic equipment and excepted from the requirements of paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section."

That means they don't need the auxiliary lights.


Thanks for that info J. I know they are in the interest of safety but ditch lights absolutely ruin the appearance of a steam locomotive, and thankfully the FRA has exempted most of them.

J
01-27-2006, 05:55 PM
Maybe so, but Original Equipment didn't look that bad!
SOURCE:
http://www.angelfire.com/ms3/mopaso/Steam/

fuente1
01-27-2006, 11:44 PM
That original equipment looks nice :) I just dont like how they did SP 745 down in Louisiana with modern ditch lights on the front. Looks foolish.