Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

one of the questions concerning British outline modelling that constantly comes up when I read 00 scale reviews here on the forum (like the Bachmann Ivatt class 2 2-6-0) is that these models have no lighting installed.

My HO models feature some sorts of head- and taillight, depending whether they are Royal Bavarian or modern Swiss outline, the illumination may differ, but my "old steamers" all have working lights. I am yet to see something similar on British outline models, and I just can´t imagine that the real thing had no lamps at all, day and night, as this would seem to violate safety precautions for both the train and those who´d want to see the train coming, like on a street crossing.

Why is it that the 00 UK outline models are "dark" Some modern diesels, like the class 66 or the Hymek seem to have working headlights - so why not the steamers also?

Sorry if this question may be beyond stupid for a UK outline modeller, but I was wondering...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
My understanding is that the lamps they had were small and were not for the purpose of illuminating the track so much as marking what route was intended for signalling purposes. Apparently illumination was not neccessary as rail tracks in the UK were fenced off whereas in other countries they are not.

Regardless of how small and insignificant they were I think they should be included and operational on models.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,844 Posts
I don't know how lighting was arranged on continental locomotives, but the two Swiss steam locos I have seen (here's an example in the gallery) have pretty large lamps which appear to be permanent parts of the locomotive. This probably makes them easier to wire in and electrify on a model.

British locomotives, by contrast carried oil (paraffin?) lamps which were mounted on brackets placed at the front of the locomotive. There are three along the top of the buffer beam and one placed centrally on or above the smokebox door. The lamps are not particularly large either. The location of these lamps and their small size even at the larger 1:76 scale of OO makes creating working lights on a British outline model a difficult task. Add to that the fact of the four lamp locations, only those required for the particular train code were installed at any one time, you can't really have a fixed arrangement. There are different codes for Express Passenger and Light Engine for example.

Lighting on the tender is also by lamps hung on brackets.

To get some idea of the scale of the problem, you can just see the buffer beam lamp brackets in this photo of 46440 which I have uploaded to the gallery. Unfortunately the gallery does not support the full 3000 pixel width of the original, but you can just make them out if you know where to look.

I have wondered about the possibility of wiring some small surface mount LEDs by hand but I really don't think it's on.

I do think that in this DCC age that the manufacturers could give us a firebox glow and a smoke generator.

In summary, British steam locomotive lighting is literally out on a limb.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
QUOTE (dwb @ 15 Aug 2007, 08:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>In summary, British steam locomotive lighting is literally out on a limb.

David

Oh I dunno. The latest catalogue shows the Hogwarts Express with a beauty!
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (mikelhh @ 14 Aug 2007, 23:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Well, if you're stupid, that makes two of us
I'd like to know too.

Mike

Better make that three then !

No excuse now of course, when you look at some of the tiny LED's avaiable.
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,666 Posts
To expand a little on what David posted: the real difficulty is that the lights have to be changed for the duty the loco is working. And although most of the UK had four lamp irons, on the Southern there were even more positions as their headcodes were for route designation not traffic type. And on the Western often lamps would be neatly parked on the footplating by the smokebox, lit, as the loco worked light engine off shed, to be put into the appropriate headcode when the train was collected. Furthermore the lights have to be dim to be realistic, and preferably flicker a little, but DCC can take care of that.

A thought that has crossed my mind is that a fibre optic routed into each lamp iron postion, and unmasked by replacing the lamp iron with a plug in oil lamp might most simply provide lit lamps. Those will be small and fiddly parts, but this should be more robust and more readily have the potential to be of scale size in 4mm than an LED installed at the lamp position. The only classes on which it might be a little simpler than most, are those that had electric lighting: ex LNE B1 and Peppercorn pacifics, ex SR Bulleid pacifics are classes that come to mind. Here at least there was an electric light permanently installed at each position; but very often the electric supply failed, and conventional lamp irons above the electric light bore oil lamps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,497 Posts
Railways in Britain have always been required to fence off their tracks, originally to stop cattle and other livestock straying from adjacent land, more recently to deter trespass, particularly by children onto electrified lines. The fencing also included gates at road crossings.

Therefore there has never been the need for a powerful light to warn of the approach of the train and the oil lamps were needed only for the information of signalmen and other trains.

With the widespread change to colour light signalling, automatic half-barrier road crossings and the more silent motive power of electric and diesel, it was realised that oil lamps were too weak to stand out, and in any case the higher speed of trains meant they would more often blow out. So lighting of greater brilliance has been built into locos and multiple units. Even preserved steam locos out on the main line now have to carry a battery-operated headlamp to improve the visibility of their approach both for track workers and trespassers.

Regards,
John Webb
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
The Southern Railway introduced electric lighting on the Bulleid pacifics to get round the problems of oil lamps blowing out while travellig at speed, but they were only used at night. In daylight hours all SR locomotives carried the headcode displayed with white discs. There was one period when the pacifics would burn out a buld on the road resulting in the train being stopped for inspection. This lead to locos carrying duplicated oil and electric lamps simaltaneously!

The first generation diesels carried discs with marker lights behind which could be switched according to duties. with the later diesels the headcode was illuminated removing the need for lamps, although they still carried red and white markers. Head codes went out of use in 1976 (I think).

I also have a feeling that headlights were introduced partly to aid sighting of trains in brightly lit areas.

That's probably confused the issue completely.

Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What kinds of duties did these lamps and disk display, and how exactly was it done?

All this sounds a bit complicated to me.
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
QUOTE (ME 26-06 @ 15 Aug 2007, 16:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What kinds of duties did these lamps and disk display, and how exactly was it done?

All this sounds a bit complicated to me.


The lamps/discs could be used to show a train was anything from a light engine to a locomotive hauling the Royal train. The discs folded in half so that the white side only showed when they were open, when folded down they covered the lamp set into the disc so that it could not be seen. (with me so far?) The fold down side of the disc was painted in the same colour as the body rendering it invisible when thetrain was in motion. It was only first generation diesels that carried the folding discs, steam locos carried non folding ones that were attached to the lamp irons. An exampe of a head code would be the Royal train, which in steam days would carry 3 lamps/discs at footplate level and a single lamp/disc underneath the chimney to form a triangle.

There were of course regional variations which I will not bore you with as it could take forever, the above is a brief explanation.

Examples of classes of locomotive that carried discs were 20, 22, 26, 27, 31/0 and 40 although there are probably others I have missed.

Hope that helps.

Regards
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (BRITHO @ 15 Aug 2007, 13:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There was one period when the pacifics would burn out a buld on the road resulting in the train being stopped for inspection. T

Regards

What's a "buld" ? - is it the same as a "lamd" ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,141 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, now I think I get it - unlike most continental trains, the headlights weren´t used to warn others of a train approaching, or to give the engineer at least a little illumination in the dark, but merely provide information to others about what (kind of?) train they were dealing with?

Was there no illumination at all on trains riding at night? Were these engineers literally left in the dark then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,202 Posts
'carrot cake' being the preferred British engine driver's food?

I suspect the move away from the 'marker lamp', which effectively was what they were, towards the 'searchlight', came about with the advent of the 'barrier'- type level crossing protection?

These effectively allowed direct access to the railway ROW....although access to this ROW is seemingly protected and enshrined in law..[hence the elaborate, cast, warning signs seen in the past?]

Previously, considerable effort went into preventing free access to the lines...[level crossing gates, etc?]

so the engine driver really did not need to 'see' the road ahead.......instead, the whole shebang being controlled by the signals, and the 'signalman?'

Of course, knowledge of the 'road' also helped.

[consider this, a modern euro express travelling at speeds of well over 100mph? The driver would need a considerably more powerful headlight to see far enough ahead to take evasive action should there be a problem, than is currently fitted to Germany's finest automobiles?
considering the vastly different stopping distance between a train, and a car?]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
It's a good question, but I've heard and read old steam drivers say that they knew the roads well enough that they knew every inch in the dark, and didn't need a headlamp.

Here's a good link that gives details of the RCH (Railway Clearing House) lamp codes that were almost, but not quite, universal. (The Highland Railway did things its own way, and perhaps others did too). Scroll down to read the headcode section. The illustration doesn't show the Royal Train headcode, which has lamps in all four positions at the front end.

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/gansg/3-sigs/bellhead.htm

Modelling the lamps convincingly in 00 is difficult, giving me yet another excuse to make the shift to Gauge 1 one of these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,141 Posts
QUOTE (alastairq @ 15 Aug 2007, 20:08) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...[consider this, a modern euro express travelling at speeds of well over 100mph? The driver would need a considerably more powerful headlight to see far enough ahead to take evasive action should there be a problem, than is currently fitted to Germany's finest automobiles?
considering the vastly different stopping distance between a train, and a car?]

Absolutely, but trains nowadays feature full beam headlights (both freight and passenger), and these are not used to throw the brake on time when something comes up on the track ("evasive action") but to warn any animals or humans on the track by using the horn (or fleeing from the driver´s cabin on time should a collision become inevitable), and to enhance the signals´ visibility by reflecting them.

This is why I wondered how come UK outline models didn´t feature headlights, as problems like animals on the track could also occur in the UK, and giving an engineer a fair chance to see trouble as early as possible does not seem like a bad idea to me. But I guess that if a ROW is isolated behind fences, chances aren´t as high for such a thing to happen than if the ROW is not.


full beam


normal headlight (pictures © www.eriksmail.de)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
It's worth pointing out that steam loco lamps were not actually lit in daylight anyway. And 1970s marker lights were barely visible in daylight. The tail lamp has 2 purposes : to indicate the train is complete to signalmen at each block post and other railwaymen(if there's no tail lamp on the last vehicle then it shouldn't be the last vehicle , and the code "train divided in section" is sent to the adjacent signal box to stop following trains), and as a last line of defence at night if the train is halted on the line

With steam engines, the sheer sound of the blast (coupled with a very visible smoke plume) served as an added warning of arrival. When deisels appeared in the mid 50s , it was rapidly found that there was a potential problem (especially with green diesels running through the country between hedges). Hence the introduction of the yellow warning panel on the front from 1960 onwards, originally small then fron the mid 60s covering the whole end. Only recently has the requirement that the whole front be yellow been slightly eased (which is why Eurostars have yellow noses) In the brief period when SNCF electrics with suitable signalling equipment worked through the Tunnel to Dollands Moor yard , the SNCF had to paint the lower cab ends yellow

The basic principle in Britain is that no-one and nothing should be on the line. The farmer and the railway are responsible for keeping all fences stock proof and anyone other than railways staff walking along the line is committing a criminal offense
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,844 Posts
Having said earlier that it would be a challenge, about the same time, this thread started and wouldn't you know it, someone has made a very convincing job of working headlamps on British outline locomotives. Scroll down for the pictures.

Re headcodes; the information I have on an old wall chart shows the revised RCH codes in the link that Andrew posted.

David
 

·
In depth idiot
Joined
·
7,666 Posts
QUOTE (ME 26-06 @ 15 Aug 2007, 18:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Were these engineers literally left in the dark then?
Oh yes, both literally and figuratively. Typically no installed illumination in the cab to read the instruments, other than the glow from the firehole. No indication on any UK locomotive of the maximum height of the firebox crown. Speedometers a rarity (just a few express classes) despite permanent limits and temporary speed restrictions as a standard feature of operation. Crew had to memorise entire routes to be 'passed' to operate the route, in order to know things like where to look for a signal - some could only be seen from one side of the cab - and could be required to use a loco type they had never operated before at a moments notice, with nothing but their general experience as a guide.
 

·
No Longer Active.
Joined
·
13,319 Posts
QUOTE (Ravenser @ 15 Aug 2007, 21:24) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>With steam engines, the sheer sound of the blast (coupled with a very visible smoke plume) served as an added warning of arrival.

If my memory serves me correctly the Bullied (unrebuilt) pacifics had a very soft exhaust & also in the summer often had very little visible exhaust so not much warning of them approaching !
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top