Lighting System Used On Trains

General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

Moderator: John_Perkowski

Lighting System Used On Trains

Postby rail10 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:01 pm

How do todays lighting system on trains differ from earlier electric ,gas and oil lighted trains in general ?
rail10
 
Posts: 284
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:45 pm

Re: Lighting System Used On Trains

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:39 pm

In the 20th century the cars were lit with electric lights. The cars had batteries which were charged by a generator connected to the wheels. Some short runs couldn't keep batteries charged because of not going long or fast enough. B&M used larger turbogenerators on the steamers, and ran a jumper to the cars. Some of their roadswitchers used in commuter service had extra generators for car lighting. The RS3s had it on the walkway, next to the radiator, on the engineer's side. Rock Island had this too. The EMDs had a squared off end on the long hood. CNJ, and C&NW had this too on some of their geeps.
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
Engineer Spike
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm

Re: Lighting System Used On Trains

Postby ExCon90 » Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:32 pm

The big distinction between then and now is that cars described by Engineer Spike, except for those adapted for commuter service as described, were completely self-contained, as long as the batteries held out, and especially if they didn't. If a train was kept standing for several hours for some reason, the batteries would eventually run down, the lights would dim, and the air conditioning, if on, would fade, and there was really nothing that could be done about it. When the train got going, once the speed reached 15 mph or so, the lights would come on again and the air conditioning would come back. On one occasion I was in the diner when the train slowed down, and the conductor announced that a crew member had spotted a boxcar door lying beside the track, and all trains in both directions were instructed to proceed at Restricted Speed until it was determined that nothing else had fallen off something. We crawled along at 15 mph or less for quite a while, until the air conditioning died completely. As soon as the territory was cleared we speeded up, and you could feel the air conditioning come on immediately (it was summer, and really felt good).
ExCon90
 
Posts: 3491
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: Lighting System Used On Trains

Postby Engineer Spike » Thu May 12, 2016 5:03 pm

Now most everything runs on head end power. This is usually 480v, and is brought down to domestic 120/240. Some locomotives have an alternator connected to the prime mover, others have a small diesel generator, and still others have an inverter.

In the old battery days, some terminals had lines to keep the batteries charged. An example might be a place where a sleeper was set out. The patrons were welcome to stay aboard until morning. Even cabooses had them, since most had battery powered lighting.
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
Engineer Spike
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:24 pm


Return to General Discussion: Locomotives, Rolling Stock, and Equipment

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests