JeffPo's Pyle Marker Lamps (large size) Page
Last update: 10/26/15
Here you see a couple of Pyle National marker lamps. They are about 11 inches tall, not including the handle. Some refer to this style of lamp as a canon ball. These are quite a bit larger than my other Pyle style marker lamps. These electric lamps represent the ending days of separate, individual marker lamps. During the second and later half of the 20th century, cabooses and passenger cars started integrating the rear of train marker lights into the actual design of the rail car. Freight trains don't even have cabooses anymore. The last car will have a single flashing light mechanism, which also serves as an electronic measure of various train components. Passenger cars have red markers molded into the car, just like your automobile has.
These lamps would go on each side of the caboose or last passenger car, at the back. Each has a single red lens, and 3 signal green lenses (the bluish lens will shine green with the yellowed light from the electric bulb).
Both lamps are marked on top with PYLE-NATIONAL and the symbol for the company, the letter P superimposed on the letter N.
Here you see the inside of a lamp. I've placed a 110 volt bulb in it that almost fit, but not quite, so I wonder what kind of special bulbs these took. The other lamp was missing it's insides and I've removed the old wiring from both. These lamps are interesting in that they have an on/off switch on the outside. I've never seen that before with a railroad lamp.
You can rotate the lamps by pulling down on a lever on the bottom of the lamp and then turning the lamp to show the desired color toward the rear. When the train was on the mainline of railroad track, it would have a red signal facing toward the rear. When the train pulled onto a siding, they would turn the lamp so that a green signal was toward the rear. This would indicate to any following trains that this train is clear of the main line track.
There's just something about red and green lights that I find fascinating. And I'm sure it would have been neat to have been sitting at a railroad crossing and watched a train pass with these marker lamps. I can imagine seeing the train fade into the distance, with only the whistle and these glowing lamps to mark its location.
There is also a case where the two marker lamps would actually display different colors from each other at the same time. If there are multiple tracks, and the train is going against the normal current of traffic flow, it would display a red (or amber for some railroads) signal to the rear on the outside of the tracks, and it would display a green signal to the rear on the inside next to the track that is the normal current. Consider the above image with two mainline tracks. Letís assume the track on the right side is the normal current flow of traffic for a train going away from us. The train is on the left track. But the normal traffic flow for the direction the train is traveling is actually on the track on the right. So the marker lamps show red on the left side, which is on the outside of the tracks, and green on the inside, next to the normal current of traffic flow track. If the train had been traveling on the track on the right, which would be the normal flow of traffic, then it would display the typical red signal on both sides of the railcar.
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