Re: Ditch Lights

tom kline

If you want to re-live that experience, take a trip to the Chicago suburbs and find a nice place to sit and watch the commuter rush along any one of METRA’s lines.  All of their locomotives and cab cars are outfitted with Pyle Gyralights (an oscillating headlight with a circular pattern instead of the figure-8 pattern of the Mars and often confused as a Mars light).  It’s a great show on foggy or rainy nights.


Tom Kline





From: [] On Behalf Of survivingworldsteam via
Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2022 10:02 AM
Subject: Re: [Railspot] Ditch Lights


Mars lights have not been used in a long time.  Since they used a mechanical device to rotate the light around, it was high maintenance, and fell out of favor.

I remember staying at my grandparents house next to the tracks in the 1970s.  I would sit on the front stoop, and every now and then, I would stand on the tracks and look in both directions.  When I saw a rhythmic flash on the horizon, I knew it was the mars light of an approaching train; and would sit on the stoop and wait for it to pass.

-James Hefner 

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