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Reply to "Passenger Trains and Mars Lights"

@pdxtrains posted:

When I was a kid, growing up in the 60s and 70s near Trenton, NJ, I used to ride the train to NYC all the time. I can remember vividly the engine approaching the station and the Mars light flashing, which thrilled me.

I have been trying my best to find an o gauge train that could duplicate that experience for a while now, but I guess I first need to figure out what engine would have been pulling passenger cars in the Northeast Corridor, passing through Trenton, and sporting a Mars light.

Any ideas?

Mars oscillating headlights were not popular in the Northeast.  The DL&W ("Lackawanna") did have EMD E8A units equipped with Mars Lights.  The Lackawanna trains terminated in New Jersey, and you would have finished your trip on a ferry.

The Pennsylvania Railroad -- while it did not normally use oscillating headlights -- did purchase a small number of passenger diesels so equipped:

  • One BP20 Baldwin sharknose DR6-4-20 with a Mars Light, in 1948 and
  • Two EP22 EMD E8A's with Pyle Gyralites, around 1952.

I am not certain that these orphan Pennsy locomotives retained their oscillating headlights into the 1960's, but someone on this Forum probably knows.  And they were diesels, so I do not know if you were riding outside the electrified zone.

Now, if you're referring to Amtrak locomotives (after 1971), there's only on choice.  The only electric locomotives equipped with oscillating headlights in the Northeast were Amtrak's E60 locomotives, which had Gyralites.  If an electric locomotive was used on your train, it was Amtrak and the locomotive was an E60.

Last edited by Number 90
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