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Nostalgia & History > Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996


Date: 01/04/19 02:10
Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: RailRat

Another Shot from Ameture Rented Hi-8 Cam -then converted to VHS Tape, of a WB SP train on a lonely night, location is Amtrak Shack (AmShack) West bound, Elko,Nevada. My notes place this scene at about August, 1996, right about when SP was being Absorbed by the UP.

Jim Baker
Riverside, CA

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Date: 01/04/19 07:34
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: Rathole

I know it's picky, but just as info that's a Pyle Gyralight instead of a Mars light.  They have different patterns.  



Date: 01/04/19 07:58
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: SPDRGWfan

Yes.  The Mars did a figure 8 pattern didn't it?  They appeared to do two flashes then a pause, then two flashes, etc.

Cheers, Jim



Date: 01/04/19 08:43
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: BigSkyBlue

I wish I had shot some video of the SP and RG oscillating headlights. The oval pattern of the Gyralite is visible in the haze. Thanks for posting. BSB

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/04/19 10:34
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: wingomann

I still think the Mars or Gyralite lights were the best warning lights ever invented for trains.  You could tell that a train was coming for miles.  The lights didn't get lost in a background of other lights.  Even in farm country a single headlight could be confused with a stationary light at a distance.  With a Gyralight there was no question that a train was coming.  When the SPSF merger was going to happen SP started blanking out the Gyralights and installing a rotory warning light on the top of the cab.  It was dumb.  When a train was coming at you the rotory light was totally lost in the light from the headlight.

​One of the coolest things I witnessed was a SP SD9 with Gyralight in heavy fog at night.  You could see the light beam swinging around.  



Date: 01/04/19 10:41
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: Rathole

Correct on the way the Mars lights appeared.   DRGW was a big user of Mars lights but also had some Gyralights.   MoPac had 20 or so SD40-2 equipped with Mars lights to meet DRGW specs for run-thru coal operations.  
============================================================================================================== 

SPDRGWfan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes.  The Mars did a figure 8 pattern didn't
> it?  They appeared to do two flashes then a
> pause, then two flashes, etc.
>
> Cheers, Jim



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/19 10:44 by Rathole.



Date: 01/04/19 10:42
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: Rathole

I completely agree - oscillating headlights created a sense of movement, and as you stated, were not likely to be confused with anything else.

=============================================================================================


wingomann Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still think the Mars or Gyralite lights were the
> best warning lights ever invented for trains. 
> You could tell that a train was coming for
> miles.  The lights didn't get lost in a
> background of other lights.  



Date: 01/04/19 10:47
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: BigSkyBlue

wingomann Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still think the Mars or Gyralite lights were the
> best warning lights ever invented for trains. 
> You could tell that a train was coming for
> miles.  The lights didn't get lost in a
> background of other lights.  Even in farm country
> a single headlight could be confused with a
> stationary light at a distance.  With a Gyralight
> there was no question that a train was coming. 
> When the SPSF merger was going to happen SP
> started blanking out the Gyralights and installing
> a rotory warning light on the top of the cab.  It
> was dumb. 

I’ll take this a step further and say that the yellow rooftop flasher was the most useless accessory ever placed on a locomotive.
Sure it might have been useful for the Yardmaster to spot engines in a yard but for grade crossing safety it had absolutely zero value. BSB

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/04/19 10:48
Re: Night RG Mars Light on WB SP, Elko,Nevada 1996
Author: OldPorter

Thanks, Jim. Nice atmospheric look at a mid 90s SP manifest, in the desert on a lonely Nevada night.
If you hadn't captured it, it would have been lost to the fogs of history. Those oscillating lights were really a good idea.
While they lasted!



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