Before the advent of modular controls and auxiliary lights, there was the Electro-Motive Diesel GP40, and the Gyra lights that were used by the Louisville and Nashville railroad. Unlike what some others have modeled, Gyra lights were not strobe lights. They were lights that were placed in front of a reflective lens, much the same way flashlights are built. That lens was then tilted and rotated (or “gyrated”) by an internal mechanism within the light housing. The resulting beam was cast about in a 30° arc (or more), and was used to alert anyone nearby that the train was coming.
Gyra and Mars lights were an elegant attention-getter. It is rumored that fans of the L&N were so enamored with them that they developed their own wayside signal – waving their camera about in a circular motion – to alert train engineers who had forgotten to turn the Gyra on. But eventually these lights fell victim to their own sophistication. Because of the frequency and high cost of maintenance, railroads began phasing out Gyra and Mars lights. By the mid-1970’s, most were gone, and it would be another decade before federal mandates made auxiliary lights, or ditch lights as they are commonly known, the new safety device for higher visibility.
You can get the Seaboard/L&N add-on pack for the EMD GP40-2 by clicking on the “Purchase” tab above, or by going directly to http://estore.vrailcreations.net !