Trains.com

Off-center headlight

7455 views
15 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 2,300 posts
Off-center headlight
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Sunday, May 17, 2020 9:42 PM

The current Trains has a photo of a shortline's ex-SP EMD end-cab switcher which has an off-center headlight, and on the other side, a single number-board.

What's that all about?

Still in training.


  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 18, 2020 7:58 AM

SP had a penchant at one time for installing all sorts of special lights and devices on some of its power -- some of the road engines got to looking a bit like the Borg had assimilated them.  The party ended when the FRA began enforcing the rule that all lights, whether required by law or not, had to be kept maintained and working -- this led to many of the lights being removed, but not to those that were originally relocated to 'add more' being put back to original centered position.

 

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Harrison Township, Michigan
  • 1,228 posts
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, May 18, 2020 9:07 AM
 

Lithonia Operator

The current Trains has a photo of a shortline's ex-SP EMD end-cab switcher which has an off-center headlight, and on the other side, a single number-board.

What's that all about?

 

SP had a light package that included. Mars Light, and a Gyra Light. As removal began you got results such as this. Here's a few pictures of before and after

RailPictures.Net Photo: SP 2612 Southern Pacific Railroad EMD ...

SP SW1500

SP 2534, EMD SW1500, at North Yard,

 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 12,528 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, May 18, 2020 10:06 AM

In the steam era, Belt Railway of Chicago had its switchers equipped with offset headlights.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, May 18, 2020 12:32 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
In the steam era, Belt Railway of Chicago had its switchers equipped with offset headlights.

It's always a joy to go looking for pictures and find a whole explanation, better still when it's from the pages of Trains:

https://trn.trains.com/~/media/files/pdf/belt-railway.pdf

Alas, the picture of 136 provided (p.46; it's one page before the reference in the text thanks to the way pictures broke across the gutter in the magazine) doesn't clearly show the offset... closest I can find is this -- others can probably do better.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • 1,630 posts
Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, May 18, 2020 12:47 PM

I wonder if they are still using tires? When Trains featured them in about 1993 or so a few years before the Alco era ended, they still were.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,232 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, May 18, 2020 5:46 PM

Not exactly 'off center', however, it is the first time I have seen operating headlights both above and below the windows along with ditch lights.  The headlight above the windows also looks to be moving side to side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g15woqHoo6A

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • From: Harrison Township, Michigan
  • 1,228 posts
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 6:17 AM

BaltACD

Not exactly 'off center', however, it is the first time I have seen operating headlights both above and below the windows along with ditch lights.  The headlight above the windows also looks to be moving side to side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g15woqHoo6A

 

Those would be Mars lights on the cab. They oscillate in a figure 8 pattern.

Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,278 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:01 PM

SD60MAC9500

 

 
BaltACD

Not exactly 'off center', however, it is the first time I have seen operating headlights both above and below the windows along with ditch lights.  The headlight above the windows also looks to be moving side to side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g15woqHoo6A

 

 

 

Those would be Mars lights on the cab. They oscillate in a figure 8 pattern.

 

Look at some of the Santa Fe SD40-2's in the 5060-5069 series from the 1980's . They had the extra lights to run on a short lived run-through train with EsPeeand to run against the current of traffic in Rule 251 territory . The extra lights went away when ATSF decided lights in the short hood were better than over the cab windows in a FRA/Volpe investigation.

 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • 698 posts
Posted by tdmidget on Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:43 AM

TWO Mars lights must look really neat at night.

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 1,768 posts
Posted by MMLDelete on Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:08 AM

Why would any railroad want any engine to have an off-center headlight? What is reason for doing it that way?

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Louisiana
  • 2,164 posts
Posted by Paul of Covington on Sunday, May 31, 2020 3:21 PM

Lithonia Operator

Why would any railroad want any engine to have an off-center headlight? What is reason for doing it that way?

   This is the first I've heard of this, but in the examples pictured, the headlights are on the left.   Were they always on the left?   The only reason I can think of (as a "throw it out there and see if anyone salutes" guess) might be for improved visibility in inclement weather.  With the headlights farther away from the engineer, the reflection from drops of rain or fog would be farther away from the engineer's line of sight.  Also, in any weather, shadows would be more prominent with the offset lights.  Again, I'm just guessing.

_____________ 

  "A stranger's just a friend you ain't met yet." --- Dave Gardner

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • 5 posts
Posted by MARC MONTRAY on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 8:26 AM

Lithonia Operator

Why would any railroad want any engine to have an off-center headlight? What is reason for doing it that way?

Santa Fe 100 class GP60m's had an off center headlight to clear the off center nose door.

 

  • Member since
    May 2019
  • 1,768 posts
Posted by MMLDelete on Saturday, June 20, 2020 11:26 AM

Paul of Covington

 

 
Lithonia Operator

Why would any railroad want any engine to have an off-center headlight? What is reason for doing it that way?

 

 

   This is the first I've heard of this, but in the examples pictured, the headlights are on the left.   Were they always on the left?   The only reason I can think of (as a "throw it out there and see if anyone salutes" guess) might be for improved visibility in inclement weather.  With the headlights farther away from the engineer, the reflection from drops of rain or fog would be farther away from the engineer's line of sight.  Also, in any weather, shadows would be more prominent with the offset lights.  Again, I'm just guessing.

 

That's a very interesting theory. It would definitely help in rain or snow, IMO.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,777 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, June 20, 2020 3:17 PM

I thought of it as reduced glare from the car ahead when pushing, something a switcher would often be called upon to do.

If I recall correctly, the Belt Railway steam locomotives had them offset to the right, perhaps for some additional illumination ahead on the engineer's side when shoving.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,544 posts
Posted by zugmann on Saturday, June 20, 2020 8:51 PM

Overmod
I thought of it as reduced glare from the car ahead when pushing, something a switcher would often be called upon to do.

You can turn it off for that...

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

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy