Author Topic: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?  (Read 1612 times)

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mmagliaro

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Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« on: October 21, 2016, 08:37:03 PM »
+1
As I work on my 0-6-0, to include giving it a working tender tail light, I realized I don't know the answer to this.
Would a steam switcher working in a yard have its tail light on all the time?  Would it be off except under special circumstances?
It would seem a little odd to only turn it on when going in reverse, but maybe they did.

I'd love to hear from somebody who was really there in the steam era.

Chris333

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 08:46:03 PM »
+1
In all the photos I've seen of the Erie. Never seen any lights on during the day, sorry. This is why I pull out the bulbs of everything I own.  One exception is my Walthers N&W 2-8-8-2 because I've seen video of them with the headlight on (but it was in the 1950's not 1940's)

wazzou

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 09:09:34 PM »
0
I'll reach out to my Uncle who worked on the NP in the PNW and get you a definitive answer.
Bryan

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mmagliaro

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 09:19:33 PM »
0
I'll reach out to my Uncle who worked on the NP in the PNW and get you a definitive answer.

Bryan, that is a glorious offer.  THANK you!  I really would love to hear this from the horse's mouth.

BOK

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 09:45:34 PM »
0
I recall the requirement to run with a headlight burning, during the day occurred when diesels started to take over from steam locomotives. I am not sure if steam or diesel switchers had their headlights or backup light both on at night but if they did it was in the "dim" position so as not to blind switchman safely, using lanterns to send and pass hand signals.

When I worked as an engineer switching at night I had the head light or backup light on bright to help my conductor see where he was going to make a joint or find switches in the direction we were moving. However, as soon as he made the joint or got off I went to "dim" or extinguished it to keep him from being blinded. I generally left the rear light on dim when switching on the front end and only lit it up "bright" when going acroos a public road crossing or when making a reverse move and the were no other engines or crews which could be blinded.

Barry

Chris333

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 10:23:32 PM »
0
You have to account for what era you're modeling.

mmagliaro

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 11:33:01 PM »
0
You have to account for what era you're modeling.

Yes, I hear you Chris.  I think early 1950s would count as a period when diesels were definitely coming in and the headlight requirements probably became more rigorous.   

Chris333

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 11:53:51 PM »
0
It would take me forever to find the answer on my phone, but I'm guessing around 1970's before it was the law.  Before that each railroad had a rules handbook. Some railroads started earlier.

BCR 570

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2016, 12:05:36 AM »
0
Hi Max:

In Canada the 1962 Uniform Code of Operating Rules required a yard engine to "display a headlight to the front and rear by night" (Rule 18).  I would expect that it would have also been practice by day in low visibility.  I cannot speak for earlier times, or for the U.S., but I cannot imagine it being too different. 

Tim
 
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BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

PGE_Modeller

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2016, 01:04:31 AM »
0
The 1951 Canadian Uniform Code of Operating Rules states:"Yard engines will display a headlight to the front and rear by night.  When not provided with a headlight at the rear a white light must be displayed.  Under conditions not requiring display of markers, other engines without cars will display a white light to the front and rear by night.  NOTE: Headlight on end coupled to cars may be extinguished."   The 1954 Pacific Great Eastern rule book includes the same wording for Rule 18.

Rule 9 would most likely be interpreted to apply in cases of reduced visibility: "Day signals must be displayed from sunrise to sunset, but when day signals cannot be plainly seen night signals must be used in addition.  Night signals must be displayed from sunset to sunrise, unless otherwise provided."

In earlier times, the 1913 Pacific Great Eastern rule book contains the following Rule 18: "Yard engines will display the headlight to the front and rear by night.  When not provided with a headlight at the rear, two white lights will be displayed.  Yard engines will not display markers.    Under conditions not requiring display of markers, road engines without cars will display a white light on the rear of tender by night."  Rule 9 in the 1913 book specifically stated "When weather or other conditions obscure day signals, night signals must be used in addition."

Cheers,

Chris333

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2016, 01:18:21 AM »
0
The Ashley Drew & Northern didn't require day time lights till 1982.

robert3985

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 03:47:36 AM »
0
Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and D&RGW switchers, both steam and diesel, had no lights on during daylight as far as I can tell looking at the several hundred photos of the Ogden, Salt Lack City, Cache Junction and Roper Yard photos taken by Emil Albrecht from 1945 through the mid 1950's. Mainline trains also seem to turn their lights out when moving in the yard, or while in the yard lead, either entering or leaving.

I would guess that most likely, in the early to mid 50's, your switcher would be NOT have been required to have had its lights on in the daylight.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 11:17:48 PM by robert3985 »

peteski

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2016, 09:41:22 AM »
-2
You knew it was coming: is this a prototype-specific or N/Z scale-specific question?
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Cajonpassfan

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 12:00:55 PM »
0
Max, I think the answer depends on the era you're modeling, and the railroad.
Generally, whenever a headlight was required on a yard engine, a white light was required on the tender as well. Initially, lights were used only at night, but many railroads started requiring lights by day with the advent of diesel power. (On the Santa Fe, this change occurred in 1952; don't know about the NP). It became a federal requirement much later, as previously noted.

Rule 18 on the Santa Fe prior to 1952 reads:
"18. Yard engines will display the headlight to the front and rear by night. When not provided with a headlight at the rear, a white light must be displayed.
   The headlight may be dimmed or extinguished on the end coupled to cars."

With DCC, it's easy to simulate both eras (although most if not all DCC guys turn on the lights just because they can, and use the usual default setting where lights change with the direction of travel, which is not prototypical).
In DC, the lights are either on or off, unless one were to install a switch somewhere, probably more trouble then it's worth....

I let other people decide whether this belongs here or in the prototype section. I think it's perfectly legitimate here, in context with your N scale switcher build. If it were in the proto section, personally I would have probably never seen it as I don't check it very often...
Otto K.

mmagliaro

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Re: Q: Did steam switchers have their tail lights on all the time?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2016, 04:13:40 PM »
+2
With regards to whether this is an N Scale question or a prototype question, the answer is "both".
The idea is to do something on my model that I find aesthetically pleasing that is also not ridiculously out of line with what the prototype
would have done.

So far, based on all of the feedback people are providing (and believe, I thank ALL of you for your thoughtful and well-considered ideas),
 I think the best looking solution for my model would be headlight on all the time, tail light on dim in forward and bright in reverse
(not that hard to do, even without DCC).

Thank you all again.  This has been very helpful.  Feel free to keep the ideas and opinions coming.