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When to switch on the number board light?

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  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Germany
  • 462 posts
When to switch on the number board light?
Posted by faraway on Monday, March 13, 2017 5:21 AM

Is it common practice to switch the number boards on and off together with the head and rear lights in this days? 

Reinhard

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 4,294 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Monday, March 13, 2017 5:52 AM

Hi, Reinhard

My preference is to see the number boards lit all the time. Day or night. That's the way I remember them all through the 1960s and 1970s.

Modern practice may be different. I have noticed that many of the present-day prototype locomotives are using LED lighting for their auxiliary lights. Steps, walkway, engine room, ground lights, cab lights, etc. are LED.

Some newer locomotives have no provision for illuminated number boards on the end that is not normally facing forward. They are just painted or laminated vinyl engine numbers.

If in doubt, leave them on all the time. On some DCC engines I have, I wired the LED directly to track power so they are always illuminated. Some HO locomotives have no provision for illuminated number boards No Genesis and Bowser F units. 

Others may have additional input, this is just my preference.

Regards, Ed

  • Member since
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  • From: OH
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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 13, 2017 6:44 AM

Reinhard,In my experience just as soon as the engineer sits down and turn on the headlights and number boards.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, March 13, 2017 7:19 AM

The number board of the engine that is addressed in the orders or warrants is turned on, the headlight of the leading engine in the consist will be lit.

They may not be the same engine.

On the train Extra 1234 North or ABC 1234 North, the numberboards on the engine ABC 1234 will always be lit.  If there are three engines in the consist, north to south ABC1234-ABC6543-ABC7890, when the ABC1234 is leading, the headlight and numberboard on the ABC1234 will both be on.  When the ABC7890 is leading the numberboard on the ABC1234 will be lit and the headlight will be on the ABC7890.  If the train has a DPU engine, its headlight will be on low and the numberboards off. 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

  • Member since
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  • From: OH
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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 13, 2017 8:00 AM

In layman's terms  in a three unit consist as observed on NS and CSX  during after dark railfaning.

3345 is the lead unit then its number board and headlight is lit.

3360 number board and headlights off.I have notice some times the number board is lit.

3500 number board lit and headlight on low. I have notice the headlights off on the last unit and number board lit..

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
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  • From: Central Iowa
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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, March 13, 2017 9:13 AM

BRAKIE

In layman's terms  in a three unit consist as observed on NS and CSX  during after dark railfaning.

3345 is the lead unit then its number board and headlight is lit.

3360 number board and headlights off.I have notice some times the number board is lit.

3500 number board lit and headlight on low. I have notice the headlights off on the last unit and number board lit..

 

 

That's because someone didn't properly turn off the number board lights on the trailing engines.  As Dave said about the DPU, the number boards should be unlit.  Still, it isn't unusual to see a DPU with their boards lit up.  Some managers will take exception and give, what our company calls, a "coaching" event.  

Current practice where I work is to use the lead engine for train identification.  That is, if our track warrant for bulletins is addressed to a trailing unit, we call the dispatcher and have the address changed to the actual lead engine.  (An exception is for work trains and locals that change directions during their trip.)  We do this even though the rules would allow a trailing unit to be used for id purposes.

When a train is tied down and unattended, the headlight (depending on rules and conditions) may be either off or on dim.  The number boards would be left on.

Jeff

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Monday, March 13, 2017 10:26 AM

jeffhergert
Current practice where I work is to use the lead engine for train identification. That is, if our track warrant for bulletins is addressed to a trailing unit, we call the dispatcher and have the address changed to the actual lead engine. (An exception is for work trains and locals that change directions during their trip.) We do this even though the rules would allow a trailing unit to be used for id purposes.

Jeff is correct.  Having a "middle" unit with the number board lit was more common in train order days where the dispatcher might have train orders written to multiple trains referencing the a particular unit and so swapping unit numbers would involve a great deal of annulling and reissueing orders to multiple trains.  In the track warrant era it is MUCH simpler to change the engine number on the warrant (especially in CTC).

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

  • Member since
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  • From: Germany
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Posted by faraway on Monday, March 13, 2017 11:28 AM

Thank you for the very interesting answers.

Reinhard

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, March 13, 2017 12:15 PM

dehusman
Jeff is correct. Having a "middle" unit with the number board lit was more common in train order days where the dispatcher might have train orders written to multiple trains referencing the a particular unit and so swapping unit numbers would involve a great deal of annulling and reissueing orders to multiple trains. In the track warrant era it is MUCH simpler to change the engine number on the warrant (especially in CTC).

Seems there's a lot of variables at work..I've seen number boards on all three CSX or NS units or the trailing units number boards was off..

These are actual observations while railfaning after dark at Marion Union station,from by backyard(last year) and when I had a account with Railstream so,it's current and not dated information.

Railfaning is a wonderful thing..You get to see how things may not be has perfect as books lead you to believe.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 13 posts
Posted by Gaucho on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:32 PM

The good thing about reading these posts is that one can find a justification for whatever you want to do.

In my case I'm upgraing a CNJ Trainmaster and I want to have lighted number boards and operational marker/class lights. After much evaluation this is what I'm doing and it will be nice to hear  opinions on the subject. This takes in account that the engine will not be required to pull a second section of a passenger train ( no green class ligh required) and the decoder that I have available has a total of 6 programable functions.

1. Head and rear light normal rule 17. 

2. Number boards lighted up all the time from track power ( w/reed sw on-off control)

3. Red/white marker/class lights with front/rear direccional with  independently ON-OFF function control. This will allow to run the locomotive short or long hood forward, turn the white light class light ON to indicate that it is  an extra train (most of the time)   and turn the red marker  light ON only to signify end of train (mostly used when the loco is running light). 

For the red/white lights I'm using red/white common anode LEDs.

Lighted number  board are scratch built ( the original engine was an Athearn Blue Box).

It is great to be retired and do things for the heck of it.

Moe Bursztein

Tags: CNJ , LED , lights
  • Member since
    May, 2004
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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 7:54 PM

Moe,

Seems to me that if you have a locomotive running light (as you mention), the rear markers only should be red.  On the front, you would have the class lights lit white because it almost surely would be running extra.  If it were scheduled (how often would THAT happen?), they'd be extinguished.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 13 posts
Posted by Gaucho on Sunday, July 02, 2017 6:05 PM

Ed,

Thank you for your reply. After reading your reply I decided to have front and rear marker/class lights on at the same time. This saves  me 2 output function that I can use to control the lighted number boards.

 

Moe

 

 

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    November, 2015
  • 829 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, July 09, 2017 8:26 PM

On Amtrak/Metrolink/BNSF here in Mission Viejo CA, and Laguna Niguel CA , I see numberboards lit only at night. 

How many bulbs do numberboards have?

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