U34CH red nose light

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U34CH red nose light

Postby dlandw » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:37 pm

Hello all,

I think I posted this question to the ERIELACK list server a few years ago, but I don't remember the answer and couldn't find it now if I tried, so here it is again:

To my knowledge, the red light centered on the top of the nose of the U34CH was something unique to this locomotive model, and to the EL. I've never seen a comparable light on any other low-hood roadswitcher used by other commuter operators, nor on closely-related freight units (i.e., U33/U36C).

The only thing I am aware of that is somewhat similar was on some of Southern Pacific's Peninsula Commute locomotives, which I believe was a red Pyle National Gyralite. I believe all of the units equipped with this light were high-hood units (FM Trainmasters and GP7s or 9s). These lights would presumably have been added by the railroad, whereas the nose light in the U34CH was factory-installed.

So, first question: was the U34CH nose light a fixed beam, a Pyle National Gyralite, or a Mars light?

Second question: Does anyone know the origin of the light?
Is it possible that a former DL&W employee pushed for it? It seems to be a descendant of earlier DL&W practice (i.e., red emergency light in the nose door of freight FTs and F3s, red bulb in the upper headlight/Mars light assembly of the DL&W E8s).

Third question:
Why would the third light have been necessary, if the marker lights at the corners of the nose would also have been lit when the unit was in push mode?

Al "dlandw"
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Re: U34CH red nose light

Postby dano23 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:29 pm

It was always just a solid red light as I remember, nothing else.
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Re: U34CH red nose light

Postby PRR4483 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:51 am

The corner marker lights were actually class lights. There was a white lens(clear) a green lens and a red lens. The color could be changed using a lever which protruded from the rim of the light fixture. The use of the various colors was still in the rule books when the engines were purchased. White was for extra, green for following section and red for rear of train.

When a train operated as a "following section" it would display a green at the hind end. It is possible that the minds in play at the time wanted a red light displayed when ever the engine was pushing for safety purposes, not denoting train status. Past practice is also a consideration as you mentioned. Back in those days, experienced people ran the railroads and continued practices since they were logical and practical, not like the state of affairs we deal with nowadays...

BTW, the middle light was simple aimed bulb, similar to a small headlight bulb.

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