Why use tail lamps when working tail lights are available?

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by GM228, 10 Aug 2015.

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  1. GM228

    GM228 Member

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    I'm curious as to why tail lamps are regularly used on rear locos which are up and running when they have working tail lights? If a loco is shut down that makes sense but not when running or pushing a train, happens most of the time with the Cumbrian 37s.
     
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  3. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    In case of failure and having to run the rest loco to the front thus leaving the train with no tail lamp?
     
  4. GM228

    GM228 Member

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    Arn't there spare tail lamps carried in the DBSO for that reason?
     
  5. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    My guess: consistency of procedure - always hang a tail lamp, never forget to hang one.
     
  6. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Often used to isolate the Battery Isolation Switch (BIS) on DBSOs if ETS couldn't be relied upon or n/a. Therefore independent tail lamp used.
     
  7. GM228

    GM228 Member

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    But the tail lamps are hung on the 37s most of the time when trailing but never on the DBSOs!
     
  8. Daz9284

    Daz9284 Member

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    It's a good questions

    I often see a tail lamp on the rear of any DBS or FL 6 convoys, but when I have seen GBRf 66 convoys (or 66 on the rear of a coal hopper movement), they use the tail lights on the loco.

    regards,
    darryl
     
  9. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    I saw both a lamp and tail lights used in tandem the other day on an engineering train - IIRC it was at Selhurst. It looked rather weird.
     
  10. railnerd

    railnerd Member

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    Hi.
    I think tail lamps are becoming less important these days. A test train passed me on the joint line recently and it was a 37 on the rear. Definately no tail lamp! Did i think it worth reporting? No. I decided to let the signaller at sleaford report it.
    I should point out im just an anorak who was taking a pic at spalding. The train had started at peterboro. Im sure the axle counters were doing their job.:lol:
    I have been at crossings in the past and rung up signallers in psbs to report same colour lights at both ends. I havent done this on AB lines for obvious reasons.
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2015
  11. carriageline

    carriageline Established Member

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    Still just as important, maybe not so in nornal working situations, but degraded and AB areas, definetly.
     
  12. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    If a train passes me with no red tail light it's into a safe position and a rapid call to the signaller!!
     
  13. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Tail lamps are as important as ever. No illumination means train stopped & one needs to be attatched regardless of what type or the delay ensued.
     
  14. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Here's a question then - under ERTMS, does a tail lamp remain necessary? If so, what purpose does it serve? Surely the ERTMS system has to know where the tail of it's own train is, so it can provide that information to other trains.
     
  15. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    As long as the change is sent out in a rule book amendment, then yes.
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The tail lamp has two functions that I can think of.

    In absolute block areas it allows the signalman to confirm that the train is complete. Most trains these days complete their entire journeys without using AB so this is arguably unnecessary on many routes.

    The other function is to provide a defence of last resort against collisions. There are many other ways of reducing collisions these days but there could still be, for example, a train signalled into an occupied platform in poor visibility and the driver failing to see the unlit end of the other train until it is too late to stop.

    As to the original question, is using the built-in lights versus portable tail lamps when a loco is at the rear of a train perhaps just a question of how reliable the batteries are considered to be on the loco in question?
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2015
  17. GM228

    GM228 Member

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    Not just AB but in all areas the tail light signifies the train is complete, this applies to train dispatch staff, other drivers/guards etc. as well as signallers.

    The reason I ask is that most of the time (BUT not all of the time) tail lamps are used even on modern locos which have decent batteries! But in the case of the 37s and DBSOs for example the rear loco is running (obviously) so the batteries don't come into question! If a loco is shut down than I would say yes to tail lamps 100%, I just find it very odd! If it's a case of not trusting the built in tail lamps then we need tail lights on every DMU, EMU, HST etc etc!
     
  18. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    I suspect (but do not know for a fact) that MU will have a warning light to alert the driver if the tail light fails, but that a loco in rear would not.
     
  19. hassaanhc

    hassaanhc Established Member

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    I have seen a Class 166 DMU with a portable tail lamp displayed in the rear cab windscreen, when the engine on that coach was not running for some reason.

    [​IMG]
    First Great Western 166213 on the 1212 London Paddington to Reading by Hassaan Chaudhry, on Flickr

    Another time I was at Blackfriars when a pair of 319s were found at to not be showing tail lights. The dispatch process was well-advanced (CD complete and RA about to be given), when a member of staff beyond the rear of the train noticed it. There was loads of shouting by him and other nearby staff to get the attention of the dispatcher halfway down the platform that something was wrong, followed by more shouting about the issue and fingers being pointed :lol:. The driver also had his head out of the cab looking at what the fuss was about. After what seemed like ages (but probably no more than 30 seconds) one of the staff on the platform entered the cab and sorted the issue, and when complete, RA was given.
     
  20. carriageline

    carriageline Established Member

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    It used to be so easy to signal to a driver that he's got reds on the front, no head lamps etc. but now, being 40 miles away it's not so easy, and unfortunately involved a phone call!
     
  21. TDK

    TDK Established Member

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    If a loco is dead hauled the battery switches are normally isolated so therefore no built in tail lamps will work that is the answer to one question.

    If a multiple unit has a portable tail lamp this is normally used if an engine shuts down and there is no remote supply circuit to feed power to the rear coach the portable is put in place in case the batteries go dead which will cause the tail lamps to go out.

    Tail lamps are a necessity especially in AB worked areas. Another rule is if a train needs to be stopped in an emergency and the unit is not fitted with hazard lights (alternating head lamps flashing) the a driver will switch on and then off their tail lamps to stop an advancing train.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    If I see a train approaching without a head lamp I will signal to the driver that they have not got a head lamp, If I see a train without tail lamps I will buzz my guard up to call the guard on the said train to switch them on. No need to call the signaller, control, the driver manager, the directors of the company or the RIAB :)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Class 175's have an indication that you have tail lamps on the rear of the train on the TMS
     
  22. GM228

    GM228 Member

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    Still dosn't answer my question in my OP! Indeed I know tail lights are necessary and regarded as a safety critical piece of equipment, and yes I know if a loco is dead it will usually require tail lamps, but I asked why when a loco is running or the rear of a push-pull set?

    Some modern stock indeed have marker/tail light failure indicators, but a lot don't and are no different to a 1960s loco!

    I know that GM usually designed their locos (mid 90s onwards) in a way that even when the main battery switch was cut the marker and tail lamps would still power (if turned on) as they were constantly live (along with one or two other items) unless their specific MCBs were triped but I'm not sure if this is the case with their UK products? Also modern LED lights will stay lit on a locos batteries for days or even weeks (depending on battery charge) due to their extremely low power consumption compared to traditional bulbs.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  23. Jamesb1974

    Jamesb1974 Member

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  24. 33056

    33056 Established Member

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    For the ultimate in modern vs old technology regarding tail end displays, try Hungary. This unit is brand new with built-in tail lights but still carries round a red "tail piece" just like everything else!
     

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  25. Jamesb1974

    Jamesb1974 Member

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  26. 33056

    33056 Established Member

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    It is presumably a requirement in their rule book as I can't think of anywhere else in Europe that does this, most other countries appear to be happy using the built-in tail lights where available.

    Freight trains are a different matter as hardly anybody uses tail lamps, just one of two "tail pieces" (not sure of the correct term), examples can be seen on each of the two wagons in the photo below (click to enlarge)

    [​IMG]

    In Ireland they always use two tail lights (or at least they used to, haven't been for a few years now :oops:) following a nasty rear-end collision a few years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
  27. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I witnessed the Moscow sleeper arriving in Riga yesterday morning and it had three built-in tail lights lit on the last coach. Which remained lit, as did the loco headlights at the rear, as it propelled out into the sidings.
     
  28. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    The other day, I saw a tail lamp on the desk of the back cab of a couple of 66s.

    How does that count within the rules?
     
  29. apk55

    apk55 Member

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    The possibility of a total electrical failure on a unit or loco has to be allowed for. Batteries or battery chargers can fail and a unit expire.
     
  30. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    It may have been that the lamp bracket was broken or it was a hand lamp of the type which does not fit onto a bracket.

    For passenger trains with lamp faults, often no portable tail lamp will be immediately available so, for example, an approved safety torch showing a red aspect may need to be securely attached to the desk. No doubt this may apply to 66s in a few scenarios.
     
  31. Crossover

    Crossover Established Member

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    Slightly off topic, but the weirdest thing I've seen re lamps was this Pacer which came barreling through Leeds platform 15 last year when I was waiting for a TPE

    Tail lamps were working ok. I'm guessing that since it had a lamp working on it, it wasn't too speed restricted
     

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