Headlights on rear Red Line cars

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Postby fm535 » Mon Jan 10, 2005 7:51 pm

octr202 wrote:I take it that the unusual (to someone who wasn't born and raised here) Boston practice of having red marker lights on all the time, on both ends of the train, is a holdover from the days when there were no headlights? To this day it seems strange to me to see a train entering a station with nothing but red lights on the front...no green or white marker lights or dimmed headlights...


They shut their headlights off as they enter stations to avoid 'deer caught in the headlights" situation with platform occupants. That's a safety issue.
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Postby octr202 » Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:32 pm

fm535 wrote:
octr202 wrote:I take it that the unusual (to someone who wasn't born and raised here) Boston practice of having red marker lights on all the time, on both ends of the train, is a holdover from the days when there were no headlights? To this day it seems strange to me to see a train entering a station with nothing but red lights on the front...no green or white marker lights or dimmed headlights...


They shut their headlights off as they enter stations to avoid 'deer caught in the headlights" situation with platform occupants. That's a safety issue.


I realize why they do it -- I just find it odd that they never just added a "dim" feature to the headlights, like it used on most systems (and even the Green Line) for entering stations, passing opposing trains, etc. Plus, on a lot of systems, displaying red marker lights to the front is a major no-no (one that comes to mind is Chicago -- but then the El did have large amounts of multi-track main and complex junctions controlled by manual towers, so maybe that explains the differences).
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:02 am

Look a little closer at your own profile picture, Robert. You'll see that the 01400s did indeed have headlights!

If I recall correctly, the big dual sealed-beam lights above the roll signs were not original equipment, but were installed around the time the South Shore Extension to Quincy and Braintree was opened. Still, they were there for a good portion of the 01400 fleet's service life.


Yeah I meant the rear, #2 blind end of the 01400s. Sorry I neglected to include that.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:53 am

Actually the MBTA subway trains do have a light on the front to indicate that it is the controllong end. Granted it is very small, but it is there. (The yellow light near the destination board on the front, which is lit when that end is cut-in.) :wink:
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Postby RailBus63 » Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:29 pm

01500's also still have the rollsign window on the blind end. Prior to being rebuilt in the late 1980's, they still had the original 1969 rollsigns with readings for 'A QUINCY', C ASHMONT', etc.

Also, the 01400's and earlier cars had adjustable top marker lights - the lens were red, blue-green, yellow and white (clear). They were normally turned to the red position but I have photos in my collection with the other colors showing.

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NO HEADLIGHTS - again !!

Postby Head-end View » Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:45 pm

I'm really surprised that they bothered having headlights on the blind ends, considering that they rarely use the ones on the front.

I wrote about this practice a few years ago. I agree it's weird and improper railroading to have all red markers on the front of any train. A train coming toward you should display white lights. If they don't want to use headlights, like virtually every other railroad and rapid-transit system in the country, they should at least have white lower-markers like (I believe) NYC Subways did before they got headlights in the 1950's. (No! I'm not old enough to really remember that!)

The reasons given by knowledgable people on this board back when I asked about it were that the tunnels are so well lighted (that's true compared to my native New York) that they just don't need headlights. Might be so, but they're still visually misleading with all red lights. BUT, I still like to come to Boston to see them, 'cause these variations from one system to another are what makes all this stuff interesting. :-D
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Yellow light

Postby McTed » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:06 pm

CSX Conductor just for the record the Yellow light on the front of Orange and Red line cars is part of the ATO system. When the light is on it signals the train in is ATO.
When the light is off it means the train in manual or ATO bypass.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:13 pm

I could have sworn that I saw the yellow light lit years ago on the old El, before ATO was installed on the 01200's.
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Postby McTed » Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:02 pm

If were talking about the same yellow light and I think we are that light was installed with the ATO system

But I'll do a little homework and look into it
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Postby CRail » Sat Jan 15, 2005 8:43 pm

That light just signifies the operating cab. but what i dont know is if the door operator's cab's light is on, anyone for follow up on that?
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:03 pm

CRail wrote:That light just signifies the operating cab. but what i dont know is if the door operator's cab's light is on, anyone for follow up on that?

You answer your ownqestion on that one.......no. :wink:
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Postby CRail » Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:15 am

thanks CSX, I just have to laugh now. I noticed, though, on one train the other day they were all on. Common Technical problem?
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Postby CSX Conductor » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:34 pm

Was it a set of 01800's? I noticed one yesterday that had the yellow light under the destination board lit on the rear car as well s the leading end.
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Postby octr202 » Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:41 pm

CSX Conductor wrote:Was it a set of 01800's? I noticed one yesterday that had the yellow light under the destination board lit on the rear car as well s the leading end.


Yesterday and today, on three different 01800 trains, I noticed that all the yellow end lights were on on all six cars -- even mid train. Seems to be standard.
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Postby Silverliner II » Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:09 pm

octr202 wrote:They shut their headlights off as they enter stations to avoid 'deer caught in the headlights" situation with platform occupants. That's a safety issue.


During my last two visits to Boston (summers of 1991 and 2000) I had time to ride the entire rapid transit system. The only trains I saw using their headlights were a couple Red Line trains I rode after dark on the surface sections.

None of them used their headlights in the tunnels at all. In fact, back on my 1991 visit, my brother and I were privileged to get a cab ride on a set of 01400's from Alewife to South Station. The operator told me that they never use the headlights except on the surface at night because they are so bright (and he demonstrated in the tunnel by turning them on briefly).

That cab ride represented my one and only ride on a set of 01400's.
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