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headlight rules for operations

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headlight rules for operations
Posted by Howard Zane on Monday, May 06, 2019 10:46 AM

It has come up in a discussion about federal rules for loco headlights (no, not on model railroads). Were there and are there federal or company rules that require locos to use headights during running on main and in in yard operations?

I had heard that an accident on the WM during the early 50's set this rule in motion, but cannot find anything to verify this.

Anyone know?

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, May 06, 2019 11:01 AM

I found this:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.125

It doesn't give any history of why, such as the accident you mentioned.

Mike.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, May 06, 2019 11:25 AM

Read the link Mike posted, interesting.

All locomotives do have headlights on both ends. Even the Genesis has a rear headlight. So in response to your question yes, all locos much have headlights when running. They do, however sometime dim the headlights.

I should also no locos crossing road crossings at over 20 mph require ditch lights. This has lead most railroads  add ditch lights to at least the front. May railroads add them to the rear too, but some don’t, it saves a bit of money.

The BNSF doesn’t always put ditch on the rear because BNSF company policy requires engines to always run forward, so rear ditch lights are just an extra cost.

 

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by dehusman on Monday, May 06, 2019 12:15 PM

Originally railroad rules required headlights to be on from sunset to sunrise (or 1 hour before sunset to 1 hour after sunrise, depending on the railroad) but did not require a headlight during the day.  Starting in the 1940's and over the course of a decade or two the rules changed to a headlight by "day and by night".  Dimming headlights didn't come into play until electric headlights with incandescent bulbs came into wide useage around WW1 or so.

Ditch lights didn't come into play in the US until the 1990's or so, they were in Canada much earlier than that.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by jrbernier on Monday, May 06, 2019 12:18 PM

  Most 4 axle locomotives on BNSF have ditch lights on both ends as the are most used in switching or local service.

  Large 6 axle locomotives with 'safety's cabs' usually have the ditch lights only on the front.  Running backwards is frowned on, and would require 'under 20 mph' operation.

 

Jim

 

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, May 06, 2019 12:26 PM

jrbernier

  Most 4 axle locomotives on BNSF have ditch lights on both ends as the are most used in switching or local service.

  Large 6 axle locomotives with 'safety's cabs' usually have the ditch lights only on the front.  Running backwards is frowned on, and would require 'under 20 mph' operation. 

On BNSF running backwards isn’t just frowned upon, it’s not done. A retired engineer who worked locals in the Seattle area told me BNSF now only runs forwards for visibility reasons, as well as the ditch lights. Other railroads don’t necessarily do this, short lines are always running long hood forward and I’ve even seen CSX run a safety cab loco long hood forward (bet the engineer though that was a great idea!).

Regards, Isaac

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, May 06, 2019 2:12 PM

Jim,Both the NS and CSX has ditchlights on both ends..I believe UP has them on both ends.

I watch several rail cams and seen locomotives running long hood forward at track speed. 

I'm sure the engineers wasn't very happy campers.

Larry

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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 9:30 AM

     It seems running one of these "safety cab" units with "desk top" controls in reverse, for an extended move, would be quite painful. 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 3:58 PM

BRAKIE

Jim,Both the NS and CSX has ditchlights on both ends..I believe UP has them on both ends.

I watch several rail cams and seen locomotives running long hood forward at track speed. 

I'm sure the engineers wasn't very happy campers.

 

UP only has ditchlights on both ends of the engines used primarily for yard and local service.

I had the priviledge (?) of running an SD70ACe backwards for about 25 miles or so.  It was on a double stack train that had 4 engines, 1 facing west the others facing east.  All were brand new and I was the 3rd engineer to have them on their maiden voyage, westbound.  We struck the iceberg about 80 miles west of my home terminal, the odometer on the computer screen reading 407 miles.  We had stopped to let higher priority trains get around us.  When we started, the lead traction motor had locked up.

We were fortunate to be at a place to set out the lead engine.  They figured out where to get a new leader, but asked me if I would run west (backwards, long hood forward) to meet the train that was going to set it out.  I said if they would give me time and intials and instructed me to do so I would. (Cab signal territory, none of the engines equipped to have operative cab signals running backwards.  They said they were treating it like an enroute failure.  A real stretch of that concept.)  So they gave me time and initials and off we went.  No ditchlights, so 20 mph over the crossings.  It was a foggy, wet night.  I had to rely on the conductor for block signal aspects, as the closest I ever saw one running long hood forward was where I could see the reflection off cars on the adjacent track.   Someone over the radio asked how I liked running like the NS does.

Jeff

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 7:44 PM

That's a great post Jeff.  I love hearing about real situations,  but I digress.

Mike.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 10:44 PM

Here is what I find interesting.....

Dave H was the only response that addressed the historical aspect of the question Howard asked?

Howard asked when and why ditch lights or even daylight headlights came into use.

And possibly when/how that became Federal Regulation?

Ditch lights, I model 1953, we don't have no stinken ditch lights.

We just started turning those darn headlights on in daylight a few years ago.

And now they have delivered a few locomotives with these crazy "mars" lights......

As Dave explained, even daylight running of headlights was not "standard", or "required", or universal on all roads until the late 40's or early 50's from what I understand.

I too would be interested to know when daylight headlights became the operating law of the land. Because it has always been my understand that it was different from road to road for a long time.

Happily stuck modeling in 1953.........4 years before I was even born.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by OldEngineman on Tuesday, May 07, 2019 10:47 PM

NHTX wrote: "It seems running one of these "safety cab" units with "desk top" controls in reverse, for an extended move, would be quite painful."

Back around 1989 or 1990. I brought a train up from Oak Point to Selkirk and they had a new 6-axle EMD at the engine house, might have been an SD60. I'd never been in one (Conrail didn't use them on the Hudson Line or in Connecticut/suburban NY), and when I sat in the engineer's seat with the desktop controls, the first thing I thought was, "how do you get comfortable backing this up, or running long-hood forward?".

The answer was, "you didn't". Also, I found it almost impossible to see the front steps, which meant you couldn't see the brakeman there unless you stuck your head out the window.

This must have been a common complaint amongst engineers, for I see that many of the newest freight diesels have "gone back" to the more traditional "AAR control stand" design.

The "desktop controls" were fine with passenger trains, which mainly "go forward" and don't do any local switching or setouts/pickups. Not so much so on freight trains...

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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, May 08, 2019 2:01 PM

OldEngineman
The answer was, "you didn't". Also, I found it almost impossible to see the front steps, which meant you couldn't see the brakeman there unless you stuck your head out the window.

Lot of those widecbas had a small mirror on the rear of the outside of the cab, and if you set it right, you could bounce a view of the front steps onto the main mirror.  But those mirrors were hardly ever used, and got broken (or crusty) frequently.

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, May 08, 2019 2:41 PM

jeffhergert
I had the priviledge (?) of running an SD70ACe backwards for about 25 miles or so. It was on a double stack train that had 4 engines, 1 facing west the others facing east. All were brand new and I was the 3rd engineer to have them on their maiden voyage, westbound. We struck the iceberg about 80 miles west of my home terminal, the odometer on the computer screen reading 407 miles. We had stopped to let higher priority trains get around us. When we started, the lead traction motor had locked up.

Good grief a brand new engine to boot..Black Eye

I know a lot of the older units like EMD end cab switchers, GP7/9s  and  SD7/9s  had seats that could rotate by pulling a seat pin,lifting the seat and turn it 180 degrees and then you replaced the pin.. I believe Alco RS units seats could be turned as well.

A lot of yard engineers place their seat side ways(back of the seat facing the window)so he could see the switchman's signals.

Larry

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“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, May 08, 2019 2:57 PM

Even our newer engines you can spin the seat.  I'd rather have a decent mirror, though.  Running with your "other" hand is just odd.

I know some people just can't use their mirrors to run.  That's ok - we all have our own ways of doing things.

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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