Light Terminology

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Woodie, Mar 30, 2001.

  1. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Can anyone tell me what the mars, stobe, beacon, ditch lights are? I've looked everywhere to try to find out. These light terms are referred to on supported capabilites of digital decoders. Which leads to my next question.........

    TOOT!
  2. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Woodie:

    MARS lights are oscillating lights used (mainly)on locomotives. I'm not sure if many are still in use currently (in the US), but they used to be quite prevalent.
    Strobe lights are usually found on top of locomotives and have a very brilliant flash.
    I'm not sure about beacons, but I suspect they are basically the same function as strobes, but not as bright.
    Ditch lights are lights mounted low on the pilot of a locomotive (or cab car) which either burn steadily, to illuminate the ditches along the right of way, or flash alternately. The later function is usually used when a train is coming into or passing through a station. I've heard that the automatically switch to flashing mode when the bell is activated. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable of prototype practices can fill in more details here. Most DCC decoders can be set up to activate these various lights, in addition to headlights and actually running the locomotive.

    ------------------
    Dave Flinn, Northeast Regional Vice President, NRHS
    National Director, Cornell Chapter, NRHS
    Life Member NMRA, NER, NFR,
    Danbury Railway Museum

    [This message has been edited by Dave Flinn (edited 03-30-2001).]
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Thanks Dave,

    Must be a US thing. Only lights they have in OZ where headlights. maybe some clearance lights on the top, but no flasing or strobes or anything.

    TOOT!
  4. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    North American, anyway. I know they use ditch lights in Canada, and I think I've seen strobes used there, too.

    BTW, I've been watching the series on our Public TV about Railway Journeys in Australia. Quite enjoyable. I've visited your country twice, and a few of the locations were familiar to me, but not many.

    ------------------
    Dave Flinn, Northeast Regional Vice President, NRHS
    National Director, Cornell Chapter, NRHS
    Life Member NMRA, NER, NFR,
    Danbury Railway Museum

    [This message has been edited by Dave Flinn (edited 03-31-2001).]
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    Dave,

    Yeah... fab place for some amazing railway journeys. Some of the longest in the world. Very easy to model, no hills and no trees!

    TOOT!

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