Lamps are devices that engines use at their front to light their path at night or in dark conditions. Tail-lamps are red lights hung on the back of engines and brake vans so that they can be seen from behind.
Almost all of the North Western Railway, Skarloey Railway and Arlesdale Railway steam engines are fitted with white headlamps, which are usually placed on either the right lamp-iron or the top of their smokebox. Steam engines from the Mainland, such as Flying Scotsman, Stepney and Spencer, are often fitted with LNER headlamps, while diesel engines are usually fitted with box-style lamps or built-in ones. Most of the engines are fitted with electric lamps, allowing them to turn the lamps on and off at will.
- Lady and Proteus are the only known engines to receive lamps for almost all of their merchandise.
- In the television series:
- Thomas carries an electric light on the right-hand side of his front buffer beam and a red tail light mounted on the centre of his bunker, whereas the original E2 class had removable kerosene lamps mounted on lamp irons, which Thomas incidentally has, although they are not used but instead included for continuity with the other engines.
- Thomas and Toby are the only engines who have always been seen wearing lamps since the first series.
- During the model series, the head and tail lamps used on the engines were salvaged from Gauge 1 Märklin models. These were carried over in CGI.
- After the third series briefly until the sixth series onwards, the engines do not use headcodes for their lamps whilst running a train.
- From the seventeenth series onwards, all the engines started gaining permanent headlamps and tail-lamps at the request of railway consultant Sam Wilkinson. Prior to this, lamps were only worn during night time scenes, with Thomas, Toby and Percy being notable exceptions.
- As of recent episodes, the drivers physically touch the lamps to turn them on at times.