Class lights...

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Class lights...

Postby NV290 » Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:14 am

Hi all, i was just wondering, why did all CP use class lights on thier locos?. And why did they stop? And what did the colors mean? And i have seen the they have independant control of the right and left, what was that for. I tried searching for an answer here but had no luck. Thanks in advance.
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Postby metman499 » Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:37 am

Class lights and flags date from the earliest days of railroading. They are used to give train information at a glance. White means extra train. Red and Green have to do with second and multiple sections of the same train, ie four sections of the Twentieth Century Limited, which happened.
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Postby Skullitor » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:43 am

Conrail uses red Class lights on all their engines.
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CP Class Lights...

Postby SooLineRob » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:59 pm

As noted above, class lights were an "old school" method of train/engine identification. The employee timetable used to list train "schedules", and a trackside observer (railroad employees) would see a train roll through "Clementsville" at 11:07 AM, and know that's train "404". If an employee was at "Clementsville" and saw a train come through at 10:57 displaying green class lights, he/she knew it was a "second section" of regular scheduled train #404, and the "real" 404 was still coming. And still yet, if an employee was standing at Clementsville and saw a train go by at 11:17 (after 404) with white class lights, it was an unscheduled "extra train" not listed in the timetable. The red class lights were used as marker lights, indicating the 3 light engines WERE the train, as opposed to a train's power running up the track for some reason, while their train was left behind.

All the class light / timetable rules were made pointless, and removed, from rule books when railroads started to run all their trains as "extras", and used the lead locomotive number as the new "identification". So, as opposed to being I.D.'ed as 404, nowadays they'd be "8774 West".

With regards to being able to light up individual class lights on either side of the locos, (green left, white right) that's not correct. There was a switch in the cab that controlled the class lights, and it was OFF-GREEN-WHITE-RED. If you saw different color lights lit up, it was because the switch was placed in WHITE, and one of the bulbs was hanging out of the white socket and illuminating the green lense from behind. This set up was unique to CP locos, as the US roads had a class light ON-OFF switch in the cab, and the Engineer went outside and manually changed the lense color to whatever color was required. In this case, it was possible to "mix them up" especially around Christmas; displaying one red light and one green one. Former Conrail units (purchased new by CR) had red lights only, to be displyed as "markers" with light engine moves. Most other roads didn't have these, they simply had a rule requiring a headlight on DIM displayed on the rear locomotive of a light engine set, to indicate the light locomotives were the "train".

CP has been removing the unused class light assemblies when locos are shopped for work. These assemblies are a source of water leaks, and are slowly being removed. Most, if not all, of the switches in the locomotive cab are disconnected, rendering the class lights disabled, even though the unit still has the lights on the locomotive exterior.
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Re: CP Class Lights...

Postby NV290 » Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:47 am

SooLineRob wrote: .With regards to being able to light up individual class lights on either side of the locos, (green left, white right) that's not correct.


No, it's most definatley correct. I was in a CN engine 3 days ago and it had two identical switches to the left of the brake handles marked "Left Class" and "Right Class". I have also seen this in tons of CP SD40's. You can even see them on any CP cab picture on SD40's on sites like Rail Pictures.net. They without question had independant control of right and left class lights. I even cycled through them and was able to display any combination i wanted. That is why i am trying to figure out what two different color lights up front signified.
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Re: CP Class Lights...

Postby .Taurus. » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:26 pm

SooLineRob wrote:The red class lights were used as marker lights, indicating the 3 light engines WERE the train, [...]

Hello again! :-D

First question: Where were the red class lights used ?
On the leading engine (so that the trackside observer can identify the light engine move while it is approaching to him/her) or
on the last trailing engine (like rear end markers) ?

SooLineRob wrote:[...] as opposed to a train's power running up the track for some reason, while their train was left behind.

Second question:
You mean, if the connection between the engines and rail cars fail and only the engines passed the trackside observer while the rest of the train stood (or maybe rolled) somewhere behind them on the tracks.
So that the trackside observer could detect that the track behind the engines weren't clear?

Greets
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Postby conrail_engineer » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:30 pm

Skullitor wrote:Conrail uses red Class lights on all their engines.


Class lights, as class lights, went out before Conrail ever was. With Staggers, ALL freights on Conrail were "extra" freights, that is, not scheduled freights.

Conrail continued to order power with lights where classification lights were - but those lights weren't adjustable color. They were given red lenses, and used to identify the rear on pusher/helper operations, or to identify standing locomotives on mains.
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Postby gp9rm4108 » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:07 am

Red class lights are now used on locomovites so equipped when on the rear of a train.
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Postby ExCRHog » Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:19 am

To shed some more light on the subject.see:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wais ... 21_05.html

The later Conrail "Class lights" (They were labeled as such on the control panel) were intended to be one method of complying with the above regulations. They were much easier on the eyes than a dim headlight and provided a greater margin of safety which is being eliminated in favor of reduced maintenance costs. They were used fairly often as power tended to get bunched up on the ends of the Conrail system. Light engine moves were used to balance the locomotive supply. Not sure if the older style lights are bright enough to comply with current regulations, so engineers should use a dim headlight on the rear to be safe.
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Re: CP Class Lights...

Postby .Taurus. » Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:24 am

And hello again ! :-D
Happy new year

NV290 wrote:
SooLineRob wrote: With regards to being able to light up individual class lights on either side of the locos, (green left, white right) that's not correct.

No, it's most definatley correct. I was in a CN engine 3 days ago and it had two identical switches to the left of the brake handles marked "Left Class" and "Right Class" [...]


Please take a look on this Picture
"Two SD35s and an SD24 on a northbound extra with a single white flag and one class light burning."

Bye :P
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Re: CP Class Lights...

Postby ENR3870 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:03 am

NV290 wrote:
SooLineRob wrote: .With regards to being able to light up individual class lights on either side of the locos, (green left, white right) that's not correct.


No, it's most definatley correct. I was in a CN engine 3 days ago and it had two identical switches to the left of the brake handles marked "Left Class" and "Right Class".


Some units have a switch for each light, Left Front, Right Front, Left Rear, Right Rear. These days two different lights mean the crew is just screwing around with the light switches.
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Re: Class lights...

Postby rhodtpr » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:12 pm

NV290 wrote:Hi all, i was just wondering, why did all CP use class lights on thier locos?. And why did they stop? And what did the colors mean? And i have seen the they have independant control of the right and left, what was that for. I tried searching for an answer here but had no luck. Thanks in advance.


Class lights were used by CPR to designate whether a train was a regular section (no class lights); first of a second or third or fourth section following (green class lights); or an extra (white class lights) during the days of written train order operations and scheduled trains of a designated class; ie...first - second - third or forth class train with no schedule.

With the advent of OCS (occupancy control system issued by radio or other means by a dispatcher) operations the old system of identifying trains based upon their class lights became redundant.

The reason for independant control of the lights on either side was to indicate to opposing or overtaking train at meeting points that a train was clear of the main track in the siding and the switches were lined for the main track - ie; white/green on the head end or green/red on the tail end if the engine was a pusher locomotive at the end of the train.

Cheers!
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Re: Class lights...

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:59 am

I have seen the CN units, where the colours of lights could be different on each side. I don't see the need for this. The CP units had 1 rotary switch, like the headlight set up switch. It was next to the isolation switch, on the back panel.

The Canadian roads may have kept the class lights longer than the US roads. This is because Canada has a national rule book. They can't change it without governmental regulation, although they can issue a system instruction. The whole timetable operation was too major to be written out with a special instruction. Finally the Canadian Railway Operating Rules book was changed to be more in line with what is done in the US.

There are still some things which are done differently. Authority to pass a stop signal has to be dictated on a form, as does a reverse movement. They are not verbal like NORAC or GCOR.
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Re: Class lights...

Postby doepack » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:21 am

Engineer Spike wrote:There are still some things which are done differently. Authority to pass a stop signal has to be dictated on a form, as does a reverse movement. They are not verbal like NORAC or GCOR.


Not to veer too much off topic, but what happens if a train comes up on a malfunctioning signal that displays all red at an interlocking that the crew has no paperwork on? Can they still be "flagged" through via the radio?
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Re: Class lights...

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:54 pm

If the RTC can't get a signal, or you reverse in the plant, or even encounter a dark signal, then the crew needs to copy authority on the CTC form.
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