workextra wrote:How many lights do these trains need? If I remember correctly it was a Canadian railroad that started with the now accepted practice of auxiliary lights.
The current setup with the headlights (top/middle) and Auxiliary lights (lower left & right) seem to be bright enough. What purpose does this 3rd light serve?
If the practice becomes law in Canada, and work's successfully, It won't take long before the FRA catches the bug the all railroads must install this new cosmetic feature.
It was indeed after a derailment in the Rocky mountains that ditch lights were introduced, and became standard in Canada long before they were implemented throughout the US. It was also Canadian National that first fully implemented the "comfort" or "safety" cab, now standard in North America.
This new headlight on VIA Rail's units is for extra visibility farther down the tracks. There are many lines their trains run on that go through wooded areas with lots of animals that may stray on tracks, or through heavily populated areas, and at high speeds, making visibility more of an issue. Unlike Amtrak, whose high-speed lines are mostly closed off to vehicular traffic, VIA has a lot of level crossings through its "high speed" corridor routes. At higher speeds, seeing farther ahead on the tracks is a more significant priority.
I have heard from one VIA engineer, who commented that he found the new headlight worked great. Night visibility was a lot better, farther down the tracks, and it was also very helpful on dull days for lighting up signs, safety vests, and other reflective surfaces.
While it is working well for VIA, I don't expect to see it adopted any farther than that. The only likely application in the States would be with Amtrak, as they have the high speed concerns, but even that I don't expect to see.
Interesting thing though...with comments about Canadians and extra lights, you may wish to recall the Southern Pacific, and the extra lights they often had:
http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/7 ... 505600.jpg