Cab and Ground lights on steam locomotives

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Tue Aug 29 17:36:03 EDT 2023

Hi everyone.

When were electric “ground” lights commonly applied to steam locomotives? I remember these under-cab lights on LS&I #33 (in the 1970’s), and I have recent photos of them on C&O #1309, NKP #765, Cass Shay #2, and Steam Town’s #26. I’m wondering if these were a post-steam (or late steam) additions, or if they have been around since steam had electric headlights? 

My working theory is that they have been around as long as electric; I see light fixtures for gauges in the excellent blackhead photos in the V&T collection that date from the late twenties, and found a drawing for the stoker light and conduit dated 1927, 

Attached is a photo of #26, with a very dim ground light by the fireman’s left shin, as reference - in case I’m not using the right term.

The reason for the question is that I’m planning a locomotive lighting project for my 1938-era layout. 

Matt Goodman

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