British Modern Headlight System Explained

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Giugiaro

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Good Evening Everyone,

I want to ask if there is anyone who can explain me the modern British system of Headlights and the meaning of each configuration of lighten headlights.

I'm asking this because British rolling stock in some classes have rounded and squared headlights, something unusual in my country, and with combinations of turned on lights that, if I remember, weren't symmetrical.


What I'm seeking is something like this:




Thank you for the help! ;)
 
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Geeves

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For the majority of stock running in the UK built before the 90s the train will have two small marker lights and two headlights left and right. Right one will be lit for running in the day and left for running at night (I think...). Trains built more recently also have a light situated above the cab.

Generally on the depot just the two marker lights will be lit.

Two red lights on the rear at all times although stock can run with just one on if necessary.

One flashing red tail lamp on the end of freight and hauled passenger coaches to signify that the train is complete.
 

A-driver

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Older stock will have a marker light each side and a single headlight drivers side.

Newer stock as explained has 2 headlights. Drivers side is lit for night as it reflects line side signs. Non drivers side is lit during the day for no reason known to me but if it fails then you can run normally with the night one on during the day.

Market lights only are used in sidings/yards as the headlights can dazzle shunters. Markers don't count as headlights though so if they are working but the headlight isn't then speed restrictions in accordance with the rules operate.

As mentioned you need 2 tail lights and must have 1 working except on the NCL where you need 3, 2 of which must work hence the red destination blind on the back of a moorgate bound 313.

The additional 3rd high level 'cyclops' light seems to appear on all new builds but there are no rules about it being on. It just makes the train more obvious and in some stock like 377s can indicate power problems as its the first thing to stop working in loadshed.
 

swt_passenger

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For the original questioner, there's a Rail Group Standard on this:

http://www.rgsonline.co.uk/Railway_...ck/Railway Group Standards/GMRT2483 Iss 1.pdf

It reads as though the top marker light does have to be on if fitted. Previous debates on this suggested that top marker lights do not have to be retrofitted to existing stock.

But as far as I can see the rule book prevents a unit or loco with a defective marker light leaving a maintenance depot.
 

Geeves

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Also your front end day and front end night should have both marker lights lit.

On more modern stock or stock that has gone through upgrades the two marker lights have been replaced with LED lamps that can show both white and red and are situated inside of the two main headlight lamps.

On older stock as mentioned there is no 'cyclops' light. Not my photos...

156424 OLD



156424 NEW You can see the LED lights inside showing white. They can also show red, or even pink if you so desire

 
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TGV

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The topic is british lighting, but just FYI, the TGV system is simple. The attached applies whether on depot, station, high speed line... etc....

There is an alternate headlight flashing mode which is an SOS signal to other drivers that the train is in some kind of trouble. The head lights can be dimmed just as in your car also and is accepted "good practice" when passing other trains, especially at night.

Anyway, sort of parallel to the topic, but there you go.
 

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jw

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Older stock will have a marker light each side and a single headlight drivers side.

Newer stock as explained has 2 headlights. Drivers side is lit for night as it reflects line side signs. Non drivers side is lit during the day for no reason known to me but if it fails then you can run normally with the night one on during the day.

Market lights only are used in sidings/yards as the headlights can dazzle shunters. Markers don't count as headlights though so if they are working but the headlight isn't then speed restrictions in accordance with the rules operate.

As mentioned you need 2 tail lights and must have 1 working except on the NCL where you need 3, 2 of which must work hence the red destination blind on the back of a moorgate bound 313.

The additional 3rd high level 'cyclops' light seems to appear on all new builds but there are no rules about it being on. It just makes the train more obvious and in some stock like 377s can indicate power problems as its the first thing to stop working in loadshed.

Is there a specific reason the NCL units need 2 rear markers?

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 

A-driver

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Think it's just because it's all in a tunnel and they get a bit jumpy about collisions etc. The NCL runs to London underground rules, not NR regs so I Imagen it's just because it's their rule.

Rules are also stricter for passing sigs at danger and moving towards failed trains-3mph instead of the usual caution.

On the mainline trains have 2 so if 1 fails they can carry on without issue. On the NCL they have 3 for the same reason.
 

RPM

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The "cyclops" light would be illuminated along with the two marker lights on the Depot configuration.
 

lukefarley

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Also your front end day and front end night should have both marker lights lit.

Not so. Various types of rolling stock only have the marker light lit on the non-Headlight side. This includes class 60, 153, 158, 159, 165, 166 to name a few.



I'm not sure why though - it seems to vary.

Some operators (including ATW) have modified their 158s so that both marker lights are lit as well as a headlight. If you look at the FGW 158s, only one marker light is lit and only one headlight.
 

bronzeonion

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I've never understood why the layout like on a Class 91 where markers and headlights are lit on both sides, it only seems to be the railways in the UK that have this strange uneven look at the lights!
 

Giugiaro

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This is starting to get a little bit confusing.

What is the company that is responsible for forming new train drivers?
What is the state institute that regulates the British railway transport?
What does the most recent General National Rail Regulations papers tell about head/tail-lights?

Because, as it was said already, there are both classes that use either both marker lights lit or a marker light on in the opposite side to the lit headlight. If there is a proper answer, it has to be in the regulations, if they exist!


Anyway, thank you for the information. I'll update the image based on what is to come.

PS: Modern passenger cars don't have themselves installed tail-lights? They need a movable flashing red light like cargo wagons? And why also flashing? And only one instead of two?
 
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ainsworth74

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What is the company that is responsible for forming new train drivers?

I'm not sure quite what you mean here, but train drivers are trained by the individual TOCs that employ them.

What is the state institute that regulates the British railway transport?

That is not an easy question to answer. In general terms the Department for Transport is the main state controller of the industry, but there is also the Office of Rail Regulation who are responsible for economic and safety regulation of the industry. But the body who would be responsible for the standards relating to things like headlight systems would the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) who are responsible for things like the Rule Book and Railway Group Standards.

What does the most recent General National Rail Regulations papers tell about head/tail-lights?

There is no such thing as a General National Rail Regulations. The most relevant document will be the Railway Group Standard for train visibility which was linked to earlier and you can find here.

PS: Modern passenger cars don't have themselves installed tail-lights? They need a movable flashing red light like cargo wagons? And why also flashing? And only one instead of two?

All multiple units have inbuilt tail lights. Mk3 and Mk4s also have inbuilt tail lights (which I've seen in use and there are pictures on the internet) but I'm not sure why they aren't more commonly used.
 

Giugiaro

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I'm not sure quite what you mean here, but train drivers are trained by the individual TOCs that employ them.

This must have to do with the environment I'm used to. Here in Portugal all railway companies, whenever they're cargo, passenger, private, state, metro, rail infrastructure or rail and train maintenance, almost everyone is trained at a single training company: Fernave.

Rail Transport is regulated by the public institute IMTT: Institute of Mobility and Land Transport; With its railway unit URF, they're the ones responsible for the regulations over signalling, security, inspection, economy, training, vehicle specifications and others. This is the institute responsible for the RGS (Regulamento Geral de Segurança -General Security Regulations) and for editing it, much like they also do for the Highway Code.


So each TOC is responsible for training they're drivers. Which means that National rail is also responsible for training its employees, right?

The equivalent to the IMTT -URF would be then the Office of Rail Regulation, but it looks like there is no unique document concerning railway regulations, like road drivers would have when taking their license?
 
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ainsworth74

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So each TOC is responsible for training they're drivers. Which means that National rail is also responsible for training its employees, right?

Well I doubt National Rail have many employees as they're concerned simply with providing information for passengers on behalf of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) also their call centre is based in India. But yes I suppose what staff they do have are trained internally. Network Rail (the infrastructure operator) are also responsible for the training of their own staff but they also use quite a lot of contractors to do work for them (such as Balfour Beatty) and those contractors will also recruit and train their own staff.

Basically there is no central body that is responsible for the training of anyone that works on the railway. Every company is responsible for making their own arrangements for training their staff.

The equivalent to the IMTT -URF would be then the Office of Rail Regulation, but it looks like there is no unique document concerning railway regulations, like road drivers would have when taking their license?

I'm not quite sure what you're mean but there is the Rule Book (administered by the RSSB) which contains the rules and regulations that various staff have to follow in the course of their duties. I suppose that's closest to the Highway Code (the rules that road drivers have to follow).
 

Giugiaro

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The situation of Railways in Britain is much more complex than what I originally thought. Privatisation sure was a great blow on how things were organized... Each and everytime I get an answer to my questions I have even more questions, questions that go far beyond the original topic's subject. :shock:

I feel like I should go to a Forum meet next time I go to the UK.


Anyway, I checked the link you gave me and that is what I was looking for. Unfortunately the Portuguese RGS isn't available to public view anywere in the internet, if so I would have shown what I was looking for right from the beginning.

Thank you for the help. This place seems to have pretty much all answers
to all the questions I would come with. :)
 

ainsworth74

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The situation of Railways in Britain is much more complex than what I originally thought. Privatisation sure was a great blow on how things were organized...

I'm not personally totally opposed to privatisation but it certainly has led to a lot of fragmentation and duplication (does every TOC really need to have it's own arrangements for training drivers/guards?).

Each and everytime I get an answer to my questions I have even more questions, questions that go far beyond the original topic's subject.

Keep asking them, if people didn't then this forum would quickly become a very quiet and boring place ;) Besides it's been an interesting experience for me in answering them as I've had to a bit of research on some of the questions you've asked.

I feel like I should go to a Forum meet next time I go to the UK.

By all means, we're a friendly enough bunch :)
 
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