|Home||Open Account||Help||160 users online|
Western Railroad Discussion > Rationale
Date: 11/22/22 22:03
What was the idea of the red Mars light package that SP had installed on its engines and was SP the only railroad entity to have the light type? I'm asking this question because I never saw the light on any engine UP owned nor on any engine MP, the CN&W, the Rock Island, Milwaukee and/or the CB&Q/BN owned.
Just the Southern Pacific
Date: 11/22/22 22:18
Burlington had them as did some Western Pacific engines. Santa Fe had them on their passenger power.
Date: 11/22/22 23:20
They come on with emergency brake applications?
Date: 11/23/22 00:09
The UP 844 "back in the day" proudly wore a mars light. Of course she has not been adorned by one for many moons ...
Date: 11/23/22 00:39
> They come on with emergency brake applications?
Right. Intended to flag against opposing traffic on a multiple track railroad.
I remember a day that it cam,,e in handy on a single track line - Date: 01/14/06 10:28 Re: More about Hiland and train orders... Author: TAW
Date: 11/23/22 05:25
as i remember on the s.p. engines, the oscillating red light was labeled as "signal light" on the control stand.
Date: 11/23/22 05:31
A few C&NW units were equipped with a large red Mars light.
Posted from Android
Date: 11/23/22 07:49
They weren't only for multitrack railways. The White Pass and Yukon had them on the 101 class locomotives when they were delivered new in 1969.
Date: 11/23/22 08:41
TAW has it right, they are to prevent a second accident if a train derails and fouls an adjoining track.
Another one of the lessons in railroading we had to learn the hard way.
It doesn't have to be multiple track territory, a train moving on a siding and derails can foul the main track.
Date: 11/23/22 12:24
Not a very sharp image taken with my old Argus C3 approximately 1979, but this railroad eastbound/compass northbound SP caboose hop at East Milwaukie, Oregon (just south of Portland) shows the SP light package as they were usually used. This train was moving. The lights on the nose were the steady, twin-beam headlight. The lights above the cab were twin-beam oscillating. At night and on foggy days the oscillating lights were very obvious. They were similar in concept to current ditch lights in that the additional lights and motion made the train more visible. All the SP trains of my youth ran with the light packages operating like this.
Date: 11/23/22 12:34
In my opinion, motor-driven oscillating loco headlights are a far more effective safety warning device than flashing ditch lights.
When I was a kid living near the SP in Redding CA, that swinging Pyle or Mars headlight scared me good the first time I saw it.
Plus it made for some very interesting train watching from a distance, around curves, thru the mountains and hills, low clouds and in the fog. Downright artistic.
Flashing ditches are just easier and cheaper to maintain - a bad reason for junking the motor-driven lights.
Someone should do a study on this....
Date: 11/23/22 12:40
> TAW has it right, they are to prevent a second
> accident if a train derails and fouls an adjoining
> Another one of the lessons in railroading we had
> to learn the hard way.
> It doesn't have to be multiple track territory, a
> train moving on a siding and derails can foul the
> main track.
I didn't word that right - where there is more than one track (including a siding), the point being that it is not effective for single track flagging against a train coming the oposite direction, but it's worth a try in a pinch (because you realized you're in a place you shouldn't be).