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Classification lights

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Classification lights
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 1, 2004 9:03 AM
How come it seems that classification lights are disappearing on railroads?How come the railroads are getting rid of them? What's the purpose of them? Is there anyone who makes a blanked version in HO scale? thanks for reading[;)].

Extra Credit: how come headlights are on the nose of newer diesels, but are between the numberboards on older units? Thanks again for reading this. [swg]
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 9,986 posts
Posted by dehusman on Thursday, January 1, 2004 10:03 AM
Classification lights are used to indicate whether the train was a "regular" train or not .

In the mid 1800's trains were moved on timetable schedules. Then with the advent of better communications (telegraph) instructions could be sent to move trains outside of the timetable schedule. Then it became important to tell whether a train was a regular train, moving on a timetable schedule or an extra train authorized by train orders.

That's where class lights or "signals" came in . Class lights were displayed on the lead engine of a train. No lights or dark (unlit) lights meant a regular train, one moving on a timetable schedule. Green lights meant that there was another section of the train schedule following this one. If a train had too many cars for one train, the railroad might break the train into two or more pieces called sections and operate each section on the same schedule. If the train was authorized to run by train orders, not a timetable schedule, it was considered "extra" and displayed white class lights.

Railroads got rid of class lights because they got rid of timetable and train order operation and went to DTC, TWC, etc. No timetables, no regular trains, no need for class lights.

Dave H.

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

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