Are ditch light the law?

BC Rail King Apr 23, 2001

  1. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    Hello,

    This question is for Yankees, so about 85% of this board. Are Ditch Lights required in the United States? I seem them on alot of locomotives, but there is others I still do not! If it is a law, when did it start?

    Happy Railroading!

    Dane N. ;)
     
  2. Gregg Mahlkov

    Gregg Mahlkov Guest

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    Yes, ditch lights are the law in the US, thanks to Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, who was upset about a grade crossing accident in her home state and lobbied the rest of Congress to pass the law. It requires a "triangle" of lights at the front of all US trains that operate in excess of 20 mph. Only the lead locomotive must be equipped. It took effect on various dates, with the Class I railroads having to equip their locomotives first, then the smaller railroads. Locomotive that already had additional safety lighting, like Mars lights, were exempted for several years, but even they had to have ditch lights by about 1998. MTA and ConnDOT had to add center headlights to their commuter cars due to the "triangular" requirement. It just shows the power that Senators have over reason, as I don't think the additional lights will make someone notice a train that is otherwise too distracted or stupid to do so. :confused: :mad:
     
  3. Mopac3092

    Mopac3092 TrainBoard Member

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    no the additional lights don't help as we have just as many people run across as we did before but it is a whole lot nicer for us on the engine as far as better vision. i don't know how we went without them for so long. the problem with people is they can see the train coming it's just they are in too big a hurry and take chances, if trains didn't have lighting would be better for crossings because when people can't see the train coming is when they stop and look.
     
  4. CPRailfan

    CPRailfan TrainBoard Member

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    Hey,

    This question is for the Canucks up in the British Columbia area. rsn, or BC Rail King, could you guys post some pics of BCRail trains? You guys are the lucky ones, I wish I could see that line in action [​IMG] Do those BC locos have ditch lights?


    Biggest Nucks fan in Wisconsin, they'll win it next year! :D

    -Drew

    [ 23 April 2001: Message edited by: CPRailfan ]
     
  5. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    First the Canucks, if they improve over the next while as they have done, probably two years to get that trophy....lol.

    Now, both Dane (BC Rail King) and I have a ton of BC Rail photos and CN and CP in the Fraser Canyon, as well as Via in Vancouver. Its getting it on the net that is the problem. I don't have a scanner, Dane is my son. I am in the process of trying to get the layout to a modicum of "started" and I have about $500 of goodies on hold I will be purchasing in the next month, hence "hobby poverty."

    Also, Dane and I would like to Amtrack it to Seattle and back on the Talgo's....more hobby poverty.

    I would like to get a dedicated scanner and do away with prints altogether, except for the print out of the ones we want. When we do get up and running I will post many "goodies" from the Royal Hudson, Consolidation, RDC's, lots of goodies that BC Rail has that you can see in the North Vancouver yard; also CN and CP at the North Vancouver and Vancouver Granaries, CN and CP at the Frisco Bridges in the Fraser Canyon, goodies at North Bend and Boston Bar. But to be honest, it will be a while.

    This is rsn48 that posted this and not BC Rail King. Forgot to log out under his name, and log in under mine....lol.

    [ 23 April 2001: Message edited by: BC Rail King ]
     
  6. rsn48

    rsn48 TrainBoard Member

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    The Americans were substantially behind us Canadians when it came to ditch lights. I can remember some of the early ditch lights on CN passenger trains in the 50's or early 60's. The ditch lights were mounted to a triangle of two by fours, attached to the front of the engine. Although it was a triangle, only two lights (on either side) were attached; the triangle was built for strenght and easy of attachment. I can remember thinking the ditch lights cheapened the looks of the engine. My grandfather, one of the engineers on the Super Continental passenger train out of Jasper, Alberta loved them. Their original purpose was not to warn traffic over crossings ( a secondary benefit) but to improve visibility through the Rockies. The idea was then expanded through out all the CN consists.

    Ditch lights have been the law in Canada for a very long time; it was something the Americans borrowed from us and not vice versa.
     
  7. DaveCN5710

    DaveCN5710 Profile Locked

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    Like mentioned earlier , you can use a Locomotive without ditch lights , or inoperative but you are restricted to 20MPH over public crossings .

    If your headlight fails enroute , and you have operating ditch lights , highball , until you reach the next place where the headlight can be repaired .

    [ 23 April 2001: Message edited by: DaveCN5623 ]
     
  8. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rsn48:


    Ditch lights have been the law in Canada for a very long time; it was something the Americans borrowed from us and not vice versa.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Am I right in thinking that the lights were originally called "rock lights" in canada?
     
  9. Barry Draper

    Barry Draper New Member

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    As others have said, Ditch Lights are required at grade crossings. Some units (at least out here in the west) are equipted so the Ditch Lights come on when the whistle is sounded, and some flash alternately left right when the whistle is sounded. You may see a train with the Ditch Lights dark when it is not near a grade crossing, but they will come on when the whistle is sounded approaching the crossing.
     
  10. DaveCN5710

    DaveCN5710 Profile Locked

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    But if a ditch light fails enroute and you only have one working instead of two , no restrictions BUT it must be fixed at the next available location where mechanical forces are on duty .

    I know , this has happened to me more than once :rolleyes:
     
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ditch Lights are installed on all engines operating on CSX through the MS Gulf Coast, to protect "nood-nicks" at grade crossings.

    So why did ditch lights NOT stop the 10 out of 11 "nood-nicks" from getting killed at the 129 grade crossings in the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the past 113 days? The last being yesterday at 3PM (broad daylight) when two 20+ year-old males slowed, then accelerated into the path of a UP SD-70M doing 45 mph! Their actions were confirmed by multiple on-the-ground witnesses, in addition to the on-board crew (God Bless Them!).

    The boys' parents, interviewed by our local TV, said that these were "good boys", and if CSX had just installed lights and gates at the crossing instead of signs (cross-bucks), the boys would be alive today!

    Ignorance can be cured, but Stupidity is Terminal!!!!

    Hank
     
  12. CPRailfan

    CPRailfan TrainBoard Member

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    Hank,

    You are right. I've seen many "nood-nicks" while railfanning, and I just hope and pray I'll never have to see one get hit.
     
  13. Mopac3092

    Mopac3092 TrainBoard Member

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    stupid people shouldn't breed or drive!!!!!!!
    i've hit my share of morons on the ns and the way i feel about it is if they're stupid enoughto race us across then they are stupid enough to suffer the consequences whatever that may be. it's just unfortunate that many die because then the police can't charge them the $500 dollars for the ticket and the paperwork we have to do sucks! not to mention what we go through then afterward after we start thinking back to it.
     
  14. yankinoz

    yankinoz TrainBoard Member

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    I read somewhere that it is difficult for the general public to accuratly estimate the distance or speed of an approching train. This is largely do to the large size of a train relative to things that we are used to estimating (cars and trucks for example) any way this study came to the conclusion that most of these people can clearly see the train coming - they just think they have more time. I'm sure many of the engineers here have made eye contact with these idiots. (man that's gotta suck :( I am sorry)

    I think ditch lights look way cool! I'm glad they are there, cuz I get to have 'em on my models.

    BTW - when the lights are flashing at level crossings I want to wait for the train! I've slowed down when I could see a train approching well ahead of the crossing hoping the lights start flashing so I 'have' to stop [​IMG] these people racing the trains don't know what they are missing.
     
  15. rsn48

    rsn48 TrainBoard Member

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    Alan,

    I just got off the phone talking to my uncle who was a CN engineer in Jasper Alberta, then Edmonton (It's his story I told in Tales from the Cab). He retired about 5 years ago after a 45 year career with CN, mostly as an Engineer. He started out as a kid on a bike delivering messages for CN to the crew as to when to show, then from there moved up to "car knocker" (or is it door knocker), then switchman, fireman, then engineer.

    I asked him about the "rock lights" but he has never heard anyone refer to ditch likes in such a manner. He did tell me that when ditch lights first came out, many cars ended up in the ditch because the lights were so blinding, the auto driver couldn't see where they were going.
     
  16. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Mr. Nicholson (sorry, don't know your first name) [​IMG] The term rock lights was relayed to me several years ago by a friend who visits Canada often, as his sister lives in calgary. We had thought that they were there to look for rock falls! :confused:
     
  17. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    Hello, CPRailfan

    BCR locos DO have ditch lights. Not only do they have them but most of the larger road locomtives have 2 sets! There is the standard set pointing to the front only, and then there is the special "Curve" set. The light on the left points to the right, and vice versa. Even the steamers here have to have ditch lights. They look OK on the 2860 Royal Hudson but they look goofy on the Consolidation, they are just to boxes stuck on the pilot!

    Happy Railroading!

    Dane N. :cool:
     
  18. CPRailfan

    CPRailfan TrainBoard Member

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    Dane,

    Cool, thanks buddy [​IMG]

    I've always liked this picture from BCRail's website. Good example of ditch lights? [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [ 24 April 2001: Message edited by: CPRailfan ]
     

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