Oscillating Lights

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There are photos of E7 #809 (modified after delivery) with a red gyrolite. Was this temporary, experimental, dedicated to a particular train, required by the Illinois Central, what? Were any of the other 800s so equipped?

-- Ethan Fellows (fellowse@hotmail.com), October 25, 2004


The extra headlight on E7 #809 has perplexed Central fans for years. This diesel was delivered in 1948 with the single headlight. The extra light appeared sometime in 1949. By May 1953, the single light was back again. The exact reason for the swap hasn't been determined for certain - some suspect a minor accident may have damaged the original nose door. There is another theory that Illinois Central required a working mars or gyrolight on lead units running to and from Chicago on the Seminole and City of Miami. The two E8s (811 & 812) weren't delivered until 1950, and they both had the extra headlight. Perhaps 809 was filling that slot until the E8s arrived. Until written documentation can be unearthed, we can only speculate. Photographic evidence suggests that no other E7 received the extra light - only 809 for a short period and the two E8s.

-- Tom Alderman (Topa12283@aol.com), October 26, 2004.

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