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Author Topic: Rear red lights  (Read 425 times)

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Offline Mustermark

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Rear red lights
« on: March 13, 2019, 01:24:06 AM »
Does anyone know if the rear red lights on a loco are on if it has coaches or freight behind it?
I’m thinking specifically BR blue era. But in any era - if they aren’t visible behind the train, why would they be on?
Or put another way... Is it prototypical to be running my Western with a red light shining on the front of the first coach?

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Offline MJKERR

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 02:27:20 AM »
Not normally, in most cases the lights have three positions; forward, rear, off

When the loco draws up to coaches the switch for the forward light is then turned to the off position

Offline jpendle

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 02:49:24 AM »
A loco would only have both sets of lights on if it were running light engine.

If it is hauling a train then just the front (white) headlights would be on, pushing a train just the rear (red) lights would be on.

The only N Gauge loco that supports this kind of functionality is the Dapol CL68, where they have taken advantage of the extra pins available on the Next18 DCC socket.

For DC running there are switches inside the loco which can turn the lights on and off.

Regards,

John P

Offline NeilWhite

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 07:48:02 AM »
In the 'big four' era, the tail light on the engine was required to be turned off it was hauling any wagons or coaches. I think that this would have carried on well into the BR era.

Only one red light was shown and that had to be at the rear end of a train.

Part (most??) of the reason for this was that if a signalman saw the red light at the end of a train (or on the rear of a light engine) then he could assume that the train was complete and send a signal to the preceding signal box that they could send the next train onto the (now clear) section of the line. If there was more than one red light on a train there was a possibility that the following train could be running onto the same stretch of track that some disconnected rolling stock was sitting on.

Neil


     

Offline njee20

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 07:49:39 AM »
Still the case now. Red lights mark the end of the train.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 08:49:12 AM »
Same thing with German rail (and probably most railways of the world).

I think a lot of the confusion comes from the model manufacturers thinking it's attractive to show red lights on the rear of the loco and it's easy to do.  I've got N gauge locos going back to the 60s which show rear red lights.  Unfortunately the simple DCC implementation connects rear red to front white, and yes you need a separate function to turn off the red lights independently which means more connections to the decoder.
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Online Shropshire Lad

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 09:10:56 AM »
In the early to mid BR blue era red tail marker lights were separately switched. It was possible but not common to have both rear lights lit. It looks odd now to see a photo of an HST with only one red light at the rear, I guess we're used to seeing both lit now. Loco and multiple unit lighting was really poor, tail lights couldn't always be seen in bright sunlight.
Cheers Colin
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 09:11:58 AM by Shropshire Lad »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 09:34:27 AM »
As an old DC fart, I believe the only loco I have with an external switch to turn off the rear lights (if desired) is my Dapol class 33.

Offline Steven B

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2019, 09:35:40 AM »
The only N Gauge loco that supports this kind of functionality is the Dapol CL68, where they have taken advantage of the extra pins available on the Next18 DCC socket.

The updated Farish class 40 also has independent rear lights (like the class 68 it uses a Next18 decoder). I suspect the re-worked class 31 and 47 will also use them.

As Newportnobby mentions, some locos and DMUs (Dapol in particular) have switches allowing the lights to be turned off even on DC.

Using the additional outputs on the Zimo MX622 family of decoders, some wire and a solder iron it's possible to have independent rear lights on most Farish diesels; My class 37s are slowly being converted.

If you're running several DMU/EMUs together, then the lights should be off at all cabs other than the two at the very ends of the train.

Steven B.

Offline MJKERR

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2019, 10:40:11 AM »
It looks odd now to see a photo of an HST with only one red light at the rear, I guess we're used to seeing both lit now
HST (1984 to 1994) rear lights were paired, the same as the fronts
However, many suffered failed bulbs and would be inspected daily then repaired at the next monthly exam

The use of LED style lamps has removed this issue

Offline Mustermark

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2019, 10:53:13 AM »
Thanks all. Comprehensively answered! Brilliant :thumbsup: :beers:

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Offline edwin_m

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2019, 04:58:10 PM »
With traditional absolute block signalling, having tail lights present/lit anywhere other than the rear of the train is a serious safety issue.  The signalman observes every passing train and if there is a tail light he can conclude that the entire train has passed out of the section and give permission for the next train.  So if the train is divided and the rear of the front portion has a tail light... 

Hence why I cringe when I see this at exhibitions.  I've modified several Farish locos to control the tails separately off a four-function decoder, which is really straightforward but I don't have the details to hand of which wire is which.  And failing that if your loco spends its time hauling trains it's easy to snip the wires and disable the tails completely. 

Less of an issue today even with the remaining Absolute Block lines as trains have continuous brakes that should stop both parts if it divides, so something would have to go wrong with those too to cause an accident.  But I'd expect a train with an intermediate tail light in an Absolute Block area to be pulled up and the crew told to fix it before it got very far.  However some years ago when such things still existed, I remember shouting across to the driver of a 47 on parcels in the goods roads at Derby that his loco's tail lights were on.  He shouted back that they must have been like that all the way from St Pancras. 

Offline LASteve

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2019, 05:56:07 PM »
The only N Gauge loco that supports this kind of functionality is the Dapol CL68, where they have taken advantage of the extra pins available on the Next18 DCC socket.
As Newportnobby mentions, some locos and DMUs (Dapol in particular) have switches allowing the lights to be turned off even on DC.

Using the additional outputs on the Zimo MX622 family of decoders, some wire and a solder iron it's possible to have independent rear lights on most Farish diesels; My class 37s are slowly being converted.

I have a Dapol CL 33 fitted with an ESU LokSound Micro decoder from CR Signals. This has a function to turn off the rear lights.

Offline njee20

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2019, 08:56:07 PM »
Yep, as said you can wire a loco to work that way given suitable function outputs on the decoder, but other than Next-18 fitted stock it’s not the standard way they work.

Online Pete @ EGLM

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Re: Rear red lights
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 11:00:53 PM »
Being a bit old school, I put a bit of electrical tape over the red LED for locos pulling a train. 

Pete @EGLM

 

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