The Importance of Choosing the Right Lighting in Locomotive Design

Rail transport is larger in scope than just a means of transportation that moves passengers and goods—it is transportation that people count on to be safe, reliable, and efficient. Hence, the ability to choose the right lighting is a critical part of these expectations. Whethe­r it’s illuminating platforms, tracks, or maintenance areas, ensuring the selection and installation of the­ right exterior and interior lighting is vital.

Our recent article, “Illuminating Safety: Essential Qualities for Selecting Locomotive Lighting,” published in Railway Age magazine, shares the several essential qualities that need to be considered when selecting interior and exterior locomotive lighting. For example, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the specs to follow when choosing exterior lighting state that, when illuminated, the headlight on a locomotive needs to produce a peak intensity of at least 200,000 candela, at least 3,000 candela at an angle of 7.5 degrees, and at least 400 candela at an angle of 20 degrees from the centerline of the locomotive when the light is aimed parallel to the tracks. To follow the FRA specs, one of the first decisions to make when sourcing lamps is the type to use. This typically comes down to a choice between incandescent, LED, or halogen.

In selecting interior lighting for locomotives, it is important to evaluate a variety of options based on several criteria, including cost, durability, longevity, and ease of use. LED lamps are designed to illuminate locomotive interiors that require bright lighting and take less energy—some about six to seven times less than a regular incandescent for the same amount of illumination. Additionally, the longer life span LEDs offer reduces maintenance cost.

We are proud to say that Amglo is a leading supplier of locomotive headlights and auxiliary lights in the locomotive industry. Our PAR halogen and LED A19 lamps continue to be the most reliable offering in the industry. The PAR series provides a wide range of operating temperatures, a focused beam angle improving light down the track, 4 times the life over incandescent, consistent output throughout lamp life, and vibration resistance. Amglo’s PAR lamps are FRA approved and maintain light output of over 200,000 candelas throughout lamp life. The filament withstands vibration consistently throughout life.

Our LED lamps are designed to illuminate locomotive interiors that require bright lighting, including walkways, stairways, engine rooms, and electrical cabinets. For increased safety and regulatory compliance, Amglo’s PAR 56 LED headlamps maintain their candela output throughout the entire life of the lamp (minimum light output 200,000 candelas), ensuring compliance with the FRA specifications. The A19 provides improved visibility throughout the locomotive with a 270-degree beam angle and meets the EMI standard S-9401 for eliminating radio transmission interruptions. Versatile and resilient, the A19 and PAR LED lamps can withstand a wide range of operating temperatures, from -40°F to 158°F, providing flexibility in deploying locomotives globally.

Purchasers and engineers that recognize the need to purchase products that deliver durability, adaptability, visibility, and energy efficiency also know the critical importance of enhancing safety, uptime, and sustainability. Investing in quality lighting solutions not only contributes to the overall efficiency and resilience of rail operations, it also ensures a well-lit and secure environment which benefits everyone involved.