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In a lash up of diesel locos at night, will the lead unit be the only one with any forward facing lights on?  Would the last loco in the head end string have the rear facing headlight or red light lit?  Would a pusher have the red light lit on his tail end, and his headlight shining into the last car (guessing this would ruin night vision) ?  Do all of them leave the ditch lights lit on each loco or just the head end unit?

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@CALNNC posted:

In a lash up of diesel locos at night, will the lead unit be the only one with any forward facing lights on?  Would the last loco in the head end string have the rear facing headlight or red light lit?  Would a pusher have the red light lit on his tail end, and his headlight shining into the last car (guessing this would ruin night vision) ?  Do all of them leave the ditch lights lit on each loco or just the head end unit?

In real railroading all the other engines as dark, the last engine should show red marker lights or at the very least one.

@CALNNC posted:

In a lash up of diesel locos

It is NOT a "lash up"! It is an "MU Consist", i.e. Multiple Unit Consist.

at night, will the lead unit be the only one with any forward facing lights on?

Yes

Would the last loco in the head end string have the rear facing headlight or red light lit?

Not if coupled to a train. If a set of light units, then the rear unit would have either the headlight on dim, or if equipped with class lights, then the class lights would be red.

  Would a pusher have the red light lit on his tail end,

If so equipped, yes. Otherwise the rear facing headlight would be on dim.

and his headlight shining into the last car (guessing this would ruin night vision) ?

No.

Do all of them leave the ditch lights lit on each loco or just the head end unit?

Just the front of the lead unit.

@Hot Water posted:

He didn't ask about those.

In real railroads all the other engines are dark, at times there will be a white light on one of the steps. It’s just like daylight running most steam engines never ran with the headlight on, it was latter that the practice started. On The PennCentral you were lucky the engines all would stay running let alone lights……lol

When you make up your engine consist , each unit has a light selection switch on the inside rear bulkhead panel that allows that unit to be in the short hood , long hood or middle setting.

If you have three units your lead unit (if facing short hood) will be in the short hood position the middle unit in the middle selection and the rear in the either the short or long hood selection  , according to the way the unit is turned.

And trailing  units in the consist , must have the lights on the control stand in the off position .

Number boards usually have a simple up or down switch for each number board.

On lead units the step lights at night should be eliminated according to the FRA . I've seen some rebuilt units come out of the shops without steplights.

The number boards of the engine that identifies the train will be lighted.  All others will be dark.  Examples: "Extra 2929 East;  Engine 5517 West;  No. 18, engine 20)  This is so that other trains or engines which have been given authority to occupy the main track after the arrival of another specific train at their location, can verify that the train they are waiting for has passed their location.

Usually, this means that the leading unit has number lights illuminated and others are dark.  There are exceptions, but only rarely.

Ground lights running board lights, and step lights (controlled by the same switch on the control stand) are supposed to be lighted on the leading locomotive unit, and dark on the others.

Last edited by Number 90

I was asking about the number boards when I saw the topic. I often wondered if there was a regulation calling for them. A lot of times when rail fanning I would see them both ways, on or off but everything would be dark.  Didn't know if a crew accidently left them on.

Would number boards been used as night lights??? I know it can be super dark out there and it wouldn't be fun trying to climb on a loco that is having issues. I have my lantern at all times when running Late night Dinner trains.

"Supposed to" and "in practice" seem to be two different things. It's a pet peeve of mine to have any lights or number boards lit on trailing engines. I can't tell you how many consists I've taken control of and had number lights on between engines, ditch lights on between engines, MU headlight switches in the "wrong" position, etc.

When our OCS train ran a couple of weeks ago, I was the engineer for it over my territory. It pulled up with the marker lights lit on the lead engine. The first thing I did when I climbed into the cab was shut those off. Unprofessional, looks silly...and on the loaded OCS no less!

Of course, there was an engineer who used to be out here (hired in the 60s) who told me "I like lights, so I turn on every light switch I can find on the engines" (trailing included).

Understood that there are regulations regarding lighting while operating.  Also understood that the FRA likely mandated these rules.  My question is how are these rules enforced and, besides safety, what are the ramifications of not displaying the proper mandated lighting?  What happens when, as in the example above, an engineer runs with, "all the lights on, even the trailing units?"

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