Working Ditch and Step lights for BNSF 7070 and 7072

Step and Ditch Lights
The front pilot of #7070 with the right ditch light and and step light lit via a 9v battery.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do with the BNSF SD40-2’s from the very beginning was to light them as completely as possible.  To me, that means more than just the usual ditch light, head light and reverse light.  My goal is to have working step lights; truck lights; front, rear and side walkway lights; number board lights and cab interior lighting.  This has slowed construction considerably and is going to create a mess of wiring inside the shell, but judging by this latest progress photo, I think it will be worth the effort.

So far I’ve installed Ngineering Nano LED’s in a set of modified Railflyer ditch light housings as well as behind all four of the Cannon & Company step light’s that I attached to the step wells.  The magnet wire for each light runs through holes I drilled in the pilots and along channels carved into the deck.  Once the treadplate is down, it will be completely hidden.

A Cannon & Company step light housing installed on #7070. The LED is glued to the back of the housing, and even from this extreme angle is not visible (it’s not lit in this photo either).

The ditch lights will be connected to individual circuits on the decoder so that they can flash.  The step lights, the truck lights and the walkway lights will all be connected in parallel (with resistors on each LED) to a single circuit on the decoder.  I do need to do a bit more research into the latest LokSound decoders to determine how many outputs are actually available, but I imagine I will need to combine a lot of the lights and this scheme seems to make sense.

The headlight and reverse lights will be comprised of two bulbs each wired in series.  I haven’t yet decided how I will manage with the cab interior light and the number board lights.

– Chris

3 Replies to “Working Ditch and Step lights for BNSF 7070 and 7072”

  1. This is very nice work! I am in the process of doing this to a few of my BN/BNSF fleet as well and was curious how you were going to wire the steps and other “always on” lights. I was thinking of taking rail power from the decoder so it does not use a function as I want flashing ditch lights and directional lighting with sound.

    1. I’m planning to run the step lights, deck lights, truck lights and any cab lighting to a single function on the decoder. I want to be able to keep the lights off most of the time. I believe the Loksound decoders I use have enough lighting functions to accommodate this, though I haven’t researched it much.

      – Chris

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