JeffPo's Handlan Marker Lamp Page

Last update:  09/14/07


This is a Handlan marker lamp.  It has a single red lens about 5" in diameter.  They were mounted on the back of a caboose or railcar as an end of train marker.  This would serve as a warning for any trains approaching from behind.  Sadly, you'll not find any cabooses on trains today (though some might still be found on small, local railroads).  Cabooses are a thing of the past, replaced by a flashing rear end device (FRED).  Passenger cars now have permanently mounted, electric rear marker lamps.


The lamp is mounted on a bracket that allows the lamp to be rotated.  As you can see in the bottom view, there is a handle with a tab that releases a locking pin.  The railroad worker would grab the bar, slide the tab, and twist to turn the lamp.

As you can see in this drawing, the lamp could be mounted on directly on the back of a railcar (lamp #1) or on the corner (lamp #2).  But since this particular lamp only rotates about 45 degrees to the left or right, it could not be mounted directly on the side because it would not be able to rotate far enough around to shine directly back.

The panel that holds the lens has a hinge on top that allows the panel to flip up.  This gives you access to the fuel fount and burner.  The fount on this lamp is not as big as those on the switch lamps because this lamp wasn't intended to burn as long, unattended.  Plus, given that these were on the back of a caboose, and a caboose was occupied, there was always someone available to service the lamp.

When lit, the lamp puts out a strong beam of red light.

I don't know which railroad this lamp was used on.  The previous owner speculated it was used on the New Haven railroad.  The silver rectangle under the lens is actually a bare spot of missing paint.  There must have been some sort of tag there, that possibly had the railroad name, but there's no way to know now.


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