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Steam locomotives' lighting

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 240P15, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. 240P15

    240P15 Active Member

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    For a time ago I saw a picture of a BR standard class 9F equipped with a big electrical headlamp. This in consideration of banking duties.
    Steam locomotives in many countries used to have such permanent fitted headlights, but were this sort of lamps ever considered to be introduced in the UK? (for example by the new BR standard class?) (I`m not thinking of these white ,small ,portable lamps) mounted on brackets.

    For power supply to these lamps it was often mounted a steam turbo generator, which also gave power to other electrical equipment. I don`t know if this have been used in britain?
    Some locos had also lights mounted upon the running plates above the motion and made maintenance easier when it was dark. The BR standards with their high mounted running plates never get such?
     
  2. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    The short answer is No, high power headlights were not considered in steam days, and for a long time after.

    You don't drive a train like a car, looking ahead for hazards. You drive or drove a train on the signals: if you passed a signal at green then the next two (or three in M.A.S. areas) sections was clear. You need to remember that, even in clear daylight, a train is unlikely to be able to stop in the driver's seeing distance. No matter how powerful the headlamp, this still applies, and the modern high output headlight is make the train visible to people it is approaching, not to assist the driver.
     
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  3. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    I believe the one you refer to was 92079, which took over from Big Bertha on the Lickey Incline and gained the headlamp and turbo generator.

    Big Bertha had it to assist with buffering up to trains at night, at a guess the tank locos doing the same job were considered short enough to not inhibit vision?

    Interestingly the 9F that came after 92079 did not get the headlamp if I remember correctly, guess they decided they could do without.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS New Member

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    Bulleid Pacifics and some B1s had turbo generators and electric lighting
     
  5. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    So did some Black Fives and 6256/57. They powered to headlights, about the same intensity as the normal oil lamps.
     
  6. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    92079 lost its light during a visit to Swindon Works.
     
  7. Corbs

    Corbs Well-Known Member

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    Ah there we go. Was there ever a reason given as to why they no longer needed it? Was the 'buffering up area' lit by that time?
     
  8. 240P15

    240P15 Active Member

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    There you have it, thanks! :)
     
  9. std tank

    std tank Part of the furniture

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    When 92079 was fitted with 58100's head lamp, Bromsgrove was in the London Midland Region. The Western Region took over when there were boundary changes. Swindon, obviously, didn't like the lamp.
     
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  10. 240P15

    240P15 Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply sir. I know that the vision of front lights of locomotives isn`t the same as for a car. :) By the way, these standard ,white , portable lamps are they powered by a battery? Was it used paraffin in the earlier days?
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    It’s lamp oil rather than paraffin, but essentially yes, they were oil lamps. Still are on many heritage railways, as are gauge glass lamps in the cab. It’s still a part of our daily prep to ensure the loco goes off shed with the correct complement of lamps, and they have been checked for oil etc. - even if the Loco is due back in daylight, you never know what delays might happen that require you to light lamps.

    I believe that modern standards on the mainline mean that these days lamps are electric to meet the required intensity; some locos have them disguised so that from a distance they resemble traditional lamps.

    Tom
     
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  12. Copper-capped

    Copper-capped Active Member

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    Tom, (or anyone), do you have a pic of one of these in situ?
     
  13. 240P15

    240P15 Active Member

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  14. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    It was all done to a budget.
    The reasoning for not having headlamps was that Britains railways were largely fenced, thus there should be nothing to see on the track ... Which did not address the increase in visibility that a headlight afforded the train to someone on the ground.
    76079 was fitted with under-footplate lighting when it was first restored, powered by the battery from a Marina Van :)
     
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  15. Midland Red

    Midland Red New Member

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    I understand that steam locos operating on the main line are required to have electric-powered cab lighting. The end of oil lamps for frame lamps?
     
  16. Chris86

    Chris86 Active Member

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    Pretty sure the Bulleid Pacifics had a similar arrangement?

    Chris
     
  17. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Yep. We can illuminate the wheels and motion on 34081.
     
  18. Chris86

    Chris86 Active Member

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    For when your feeling a bit disco? ;-)

    Chris
     
  19. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Don’t mention disco lighting. As part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of German railways back in 2010, a floodlit night shoot was held at Gerolstein shed. All set up with tripod and awaiting the lights only to find they were multicoloured. Occasionally they turned to white but most of the time they were all colours of the rainbow. :eek:
     
  20. M59137

    M59137 Active Member

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    I think 44767 had a steam generator on the running board and electric lighting in the cab. The generator looked "traditional" to my untrained eyes. Was this a BR fitted Black 5 or a retro fit from its preserved mainline days?

    Sent from my HTC Desire 620 using Tapatalk
     

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