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The electric headlamps fitted to steam locos in the past weren't the high intensity type carried today so were not that visible in daylight unlike the white painted oil lamps would be. Early diesels had discs so they didn't rely on the lamps in daylight either.

I've always found it curious that in countries like Germany practically every steam loco from narrow gauge engines through shunters to large express engines carried working electric lighting yet British railways seemed to have so much difficulty with it.

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