When did high-intensity headlights become mandatory?

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by USRailFan, 18 May 2019.

  1. USRailFan

    USRailFan Member

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    I used to think the high-intensity headlights (such as on this Class 37) became mandatory at the same time as the sectorisation liveries were introduced in the late 80s, but recently I've seen photos of newly refurbished 37/4s on test runs in the mid-80s with the high-intensity headlight clearly visible, and at the same time I've seen pictures from as late as the early 90s of locos in triple-grey Railfreight livery that still had not had these lights fitted.

    Were these made mandatory in special circumstances only at first? This could explain why the 37/4s had them from "new" given that they were meant for Scotland and Wales, with lots of hilly lines...
     
    Last edited: 18 May 2019
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  3. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I'm not sure when they were made mandatory but the first 47s were equipped with the standard off-set box high-intensity headlight from 1983 onwards, Class 37s from about 1986.

    Southern Region 33s were fitted out much later, possibly not until very late 1980s.
     
  4. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    Didn’t 50s get their central lamp from about 1980?
     
  5. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Possibly in tandem with their refurbishment?
     
  6. Llama

    Llama Member

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    Class 87s and 56s had 'sealed beam' headlights a bit earlier still.
     
  7. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I think they were both introduced with them, no?
     
  8. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    Yes, although most if not all of the 87s had them replaced with the more common 80s style headlights (as fitted to 37s, 47s 86s etc) in the mid to late 80s. Not sure why but presumably because their original headlights were considered too dim.

    The 56s seemed to hold on to their original headlights for longer before they were replaced.
     
  9. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    At a guess 87s being mainly passenger locos they decided they were more worthy of getting the new high-intensity lights before freight locos?

    Could easily be another reason of course.
     
  10. gg1

    gg1 Member

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    Now you mention it, it may well have been due to the types of working each class undertook but with speed rather than prestige being the key factor. The primary purpose of train headlights is to be seen rather than to see so it makes sense to prioritise a 110mph loco over a 75mph one (which in practice would often find itself on slower workings). It would also explain why surviving 1st gen DMUs didn't start to receive them in large numbers until the 90s.
     
  11. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    That would make more sense. Obviously you want to see something approaching at a fair lick as soon as possible, so track workers can get out of the way quick.
     
  12. ic31420

    ic31420 Member

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    What lamps did the two respective types run?
     
  13. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I don't know the names, but 87s appear to have had small round ones incased in a rubber ring orginally, with 56s having similar or a plain round one.
     
  14. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Established Member

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    I have no idea when, or even if, they became mandatory but I think the first locomotives to have them fitted (rather than be built with them) were the 47/7s in the late 1970s. They were quite different to the later adopted design and were basically just a car headlight stuck on the front – or that is what they looked like anyway.
     
  15. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    47901 had a similar arrangement too. Fitted when converted from 47601 to 47901.
    The class 50s discussed above did indeed receive their central headlights during refurbishment -from about 1979/80.
     
  16. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Those ones looked very similar to the ones some 120s were fitted with.
     
  17. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    The Scottish Region fitted extra headlights to other classes as well, including Inverness based 24s, 26s and 37s.
    They looked similar to the ones 47/7s were fitted with when converted. The 47/7s had that first style in the same place as they were eventually all fitted.

    I think in the 1970s/80s some Landore based DMUs and 37s had unofficial headlights fitted for work in Central Wales too?
     
  18. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I could be wrong but wasn't 47901 the prototype for headlights among 47s? Though it had it beneath the driver's side rather than slightly off-centre.

    I thought it was most likely they would have received high-intensity headlights during refurbishment but 1979 was just early enough to make me wonder of that was the case as most classes seemed to be done from the mid-80s onwards.
     
  19. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I have an idea 26s had double headlights?
     
  20. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I’m not sure about that but I remember seeing the odd 47/0 or 47/3 around without a headlight as late as maybe 1987?

    I think all of the remaining 45/1s managed to gain them in 1986/87 too.
    In fact they appeared very fast after 1988 on all kinds of locos.
    Here’s a picture of the Scottish type on 37175 in 1987 (taken by my stepbrother).
    DDD98849-702C-4176-8A3E-5C0D91CD03DB.jpeg
     
  21. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Established Member

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  22. chuff chuff

    chuff chuff Member

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    Can't remember any I was on being so.
     
  23. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    They did. Must have been lonely driving for hours through the pitch black of the far north...
     
  24. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    That first photo is nearly the style I was thinking of.

    I think I saw it in a book or it may have been an online photo gallery somewhere.

    Quite, but a nice drive scenery wise. As long as the cab wasn't draughty, the heater worked and there was a flask on the boil I'd be quite happy making such a run! :lol:
     
  25. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Yes, I'm told on good authority they were Lucas round sealed beam units identical to those fitted to Minis of the era, and were added from around 1974 onwards, making them almost exact contemporaries of those on the 87s. They were placed side by centrally in the welded up gangway area of Inverness based Class 24s and 26s used on Kyle and Far North services. They were intended to warn off sheep as much as anything else apparently, so had a very different purpose to those on express locos.

    The Class 37s didn't come to the routes until 1982 and were fitted with single headlights more consistent with standards of the time, but it was only with the 'large logo' refurb that they got the standard boxed headlight fitted to just about everything else later in the eighties, and still found on 37s now.
     
  26. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    It's definitely the Lucas ones I recall seeing. Interesting that their purpose was mainly to deter animals, wasn't that the original purpose of headlights on some other railways as well?
     
  27. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    The first locomotive I ever saw fitted with the 87 style headlamp you mention above was actually a class 47 during late 1972 or early 73 at Manchester Piccadilly, I do have a shot of this but the slide needs to be scanned. From a hazy memory I think it was a D15xx series and I'm sure there was at least another 47 so fitted at the time.
     
  28. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I’ve often wondered about this.
    It’s not like you could stop in the distance illuminated by a high intensity headlight even though it would be longer than you’d had previously...
    But you’d maybe have more chance of getting out of your seat and hiding in the engine room if you saw a landslide/herd of cows/stalled tractor on a crossing appear out of the gloom?
    I wonder how many animals survived due to seeing the headlights? I expect it would’ve made a difference.
     
  29. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Get back up in that loft AB. :lol:
     
  30. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

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    Haha...just come down again with more info. Found the slide and it was 1547 working 1E87 which i think was the Manchester - Harwich Boat Train, date was April 1972 so the 47 actually pipped the 87s by a fair margin.
     
  31. big all

    big all On Moderation

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    In the 1970s and 80s people used to be amazed that you would drive trains in the dark with no speedo or headlights and yet fully knowing where you were by route knowledge, with the odd signal or cut-out painted yellow to help.

    To be fair, it wasn't that difficult as you would learn through months of repetition as a second-man, so it became second nature.

    Away from the obvious signals, stations and level crossings you would get clues from bridges, jointed track sections, rough spots, embankments and cuttings, with the odd landmark, building or even tree would all subconsciously register in your brain to alert you as to where you are.

    Of course, in daylight hours you would have a different journey, but in general the same fairly relaxed, journey as at night.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 19 May 2019

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