Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Trackside details, mile posts, various yard signs, tell tails, etc. where to place and size

2510 views
27 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Trackside details, mile posts, various yard signs, tell tails, etc. where to place and size
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 25, 2021 11:11 AM

I have many right of way items and yard signs to place. Would like to know the real size of these (I  have many by many manufactuers, all different sizes for same thing) and proper placement on a model railroad. I have out CMA(Tichy), B&H, Scalelike and Microscale to name a few, proubly a few more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 25, 2021 2:27 PM

Wish they would stop moving my posts around, was listed in general for a reason, though some of the question is prototype.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 21,705 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, July 25, 2021 2:55 PM

Seems to be more of a fit in the Prototype subforum.

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Huntsville, AR
  • 1,231 posts
Posted by oldline1 on Sunday, July 25, 2021 3:00 PM

These items would be railroad specific more than likely. I know some railroads had books of standard plans which covered thes items. Sizes and materials varied. Some roads used concrete and other wood or metal for signs and things.

oldline1

 

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 79 posts
Posted by trevorsmith3489 on Sunday, July 25, 2021 3:44 PM

I model the modern scene and my latest project is to create some signage.

I use Microsoft Word to create my signs to print out on photographic paper and then mount to thin plastic card.

I live in the UK and field research has to come from photographs.

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/777557/

This photo from today's railpitures has a distance marker. The size can be estimated by using the known height of the loco.

I use the ruler function on the Word toolbar to create a text box with the height and width of the distance marker. The numbers on my model distance marker are then added - font size is 6pt.

The text box can be filled with yellow for speed limit signage, for example.

Internet searches should provide examples of the sgnage you have purchased and a little bit of mathematics should enable you to assess whether the dimensions are correct.

The same internet searches may also reveal the positioning of the signage and the photo dates should help to define if the signage is correct for your time period.

  • Member since
    October 2006
  • 79 posts
Posted by trevorsmith3489 on Sunday, July 25, 2021 3:58 PM

To add to my earlier post

https://kaleyyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/img_0714.jpg

This is a sign I made for a bridge on Kaley Yard

I estimated the size from this photo. 

 

https://kaleyyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/s1240046-e1370988734134.jpg

The camera is at a height of 5 feet six inches and the sign I estimate to be five foot tall, knowing this dimension gives me a width of just less than 2 feet.

Moderator
  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 16,120 posts
Posted by tstage on Sunday, July 25, 2021 5:14 PM

rrebell
Wish they would stop moving my posts around, was listed in general for a reason, though some of the question is prototype.

rrebell,

While your query is non-prototype specific, it still is a prototype question and belongs here rather than in the General Discussion forum.  You'll also get better and more informative responses here, as well.

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Danbury Freight Yard
  • 269 posts
Posted by OldEngineman on Sunday, July 25, 2021 9:31 PM

Signs such as mileposts, yard limit signs, whistle posts, etc. will be placed to the RIGHT SIDE of the track(s). On double track, they'll be to the right side of both tracks. That's the engineer's side, of course.

Something that conveys information to a specific track, such as a temporary speed limit sign, will be placed next to the track it governs, again on the right.

A telltale will be placed on either side of the obstruction it's intended to protect, far enough back to afford someone on top of a car sufficient warning. But these have been gone for years.

Signals are generally placed to the right of the track governed. If on double track on a signal bridge, they'll be above the track governed, usually shifted towards the right side.

One error I see on MANY model railroads, even on club layouts, etc., is that model railroad guys don't seem to comprehend the concept of "interlocking limits". I see signals in what would be interlockings in all the wrong places!

If you get a copy or two of railroad rule books, in the signal rules there is often instructions on where to place the signs, where they can be found.

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 6,865 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, July 25, 2021 10:26 PM

OldEngineman

On double track, they'll be to the right side of both tracks. That's the engineer's side, of course.

 

 

That was pretty much an absolute in the olden days.  These days it's not uncommon to have the signals "outside" the double tracks.  I'm thinking particularly for a paired crossover interlocking, as on the UP mainline, and also the ends of the "double track" at sidings.

Part of this is because engineers don't have to look around a giant boiler anymore--they're right out in front, with the nose dropped down out of the way.  Another reason is for signal maintainer's safety, as they can work without crossing tracks.

 

Ed

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 25, 2021 11:38 PM

Ok, more specific. What do you think looks right for say mile posts as far as distance between them and should number be skipped to make the trip seem longer. Also this is for a railroad in the late 30's'. What about yard signs, what looks good, why yard limit sign. If no room on right would they put sign on left, what about single trackage. What would no clearance sign be used for, basicaly what looks good for a small layout of that era and what signs do I need, never got to this level of compleation before.

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • 649 posts
Posted by NHTX on Sunday, July 25, 2021 11:49 PM

As Oldline1 said, each railroad set their own standards for construction and placement of items such as you describe.  Some might even be era specific and without knowing that and what prototype if any, that you follow, your question can not receive a definitive answer.  Best option would be to see if a standards book is available for the prototype that interests you, and acquire a copy.  Also, if there is a historical society for the railroad that inerests you, they might have the information you need.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,017 posts
Posted by dehusman on Monday, July 26, 2021 6:52 AM

1930's signage will be very different from 1980's or later signage.

In the 1930's, they would have put milepost marker on the "pole line", the telegraph poles that ran along side the tracks.  Intermediate poles would be marked every 10 poles, usually with a white stripe or band.  One band for pole 10, two bands for pole 20, three bands for pole 30 (if there was one).  Locations in orders were given as miles and poles (reduce speed to 30 mph mp 234 pole 10 to mp 235 pole 25).

Yard limit signs were at the location stated in the timetable (usually in special instructions) and were generally on the engineer's side (right side) entering the yard limits, but NOT on the the leaving side.

Grade crossing signs or whistle signs were locate generally on the engineer's side approaching the crossing, about 1/4 mile before the crossing.

Speed restriction signs were placed 1-2 miles before the restriction and a resume speed sign was placed at the end of the restriction.  Also on the engineer's side.

Generally 1930's signage would be less, smaller and more likely to be cast metal signs as printed signs.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 26, 2021 11:10 AM

dehusman

1930's signage will be very different from 1980's or later signage.

In the 1930's, they would have put milepost marker on the "pole line", the telegraph poles that ran along side the tracks.  Intermediate poles would be marked every 10 poles, usually with a white stripe or band.  One band for pole 10, two bands for pole 20, three bands for pole 30 (if there was one).  Locations in orders were given as miles and poles (reduce speed to 30 mph mp 234 pole 10 to mp 235 pole 25).

Yard limit signs were at the location stated in the timetable (usually in special instructions) and were generally on the engineer's side (right side) entering the yard limits, but NOT on the the leaving side.

Grade crossing signs or whistle signs were locate generally on the engineer's side approaching the crossing, about 1/4 mile before the crossing.

Speed restriction signs were placed 1-2 miles before the restriction and a resume speed sign was placed at the end of the restriction.  Also on the engineer's side.

Generally 1930's signage would be less, smaller and more likely to be cast metal signs as printed signs.

 

Now that is the kinda stuff I was after, thanks. My layout scenery is 6 layers into being finished in places and  the whole layout is beyond three layers and many parts that is where it ends except for signs and poles. All backdrops are done except yard area (working on that). The railroad is no specific road (have a lot of SP as I was going that direction on last layout). So I just want the feel of the late 1930's with lots of detail but don't want it look fake if you know what I mean and too many signs and in the wrong places can ruin the illusion. So even info like yard signs placement and the fact they were smaller helps a lot. 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Monday, July 26, 2021 11:19 AM

Further reserch says that at 9" the Tichy mileposts type were used on many roads and are around the true size of many from that time period, feedback?

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,365 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 9:24 AM

rrebell
What about yard signs, what looks good, why yard limit sign.

The 'why' is that yards operate under different rules than the mainline. In your era, engines could move cuts of cars around in the yard limits area without needing a caboose or markers etc. Usually within yard limits speeds are restricted.

Stix
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,017 posts
Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 9:48 AM

Yards don't have signs.  Yard limits have signs.  

You can have yards without yard limits and you can have yard limits without a yard.

Yard limits are a method of operation on the main track.  They apply ONLY to the main track and don't have anything to do with operation in the yard itself.

The yardmaster isn't involved in with yard limits directly.  The position of yardmaster is not mentioned in any rule book on any road in any era that I have seen (I have 60+ rule books).  He can direct traffic in the area but he doesn't grant authority.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 11:18 AM

So I have a y leading into the yard area sothat I could run on my single line main in both directions, guess I should put a sign on each, unfortunitly only one sign will be readable because of location. What about signage around areas where the mainline might be fouled by switching activity.  For that mater it was said signage etc. should be on the right side but what about single mainline?

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,365 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 11:50 AM

If you don't put in the yard limit signs, I don't know that it would be that big a deal. Unless you are going to have special rules for operating in the yard area that operators on your layout need to know, it really isn't necessary.

Note that in the real world the yard limit sign would usually not be located right where the yard starts, but maybe a mile or so 'down the line' so trains on the main know to slow down and be observant of potential issues in the yard. But it depends on the specific situation.

rrebell
For that mater it was said signage etc. should be on the right side but what about single mainline?

The engineer sits on the right side of the cab, so normally signs for the engineer (yard limits, whistle post, etc.) would be set on the right side of the track as the engineer would see it. So on a single track east-west mainline approaching say a road grade crossing, the whistle sign to the west of the crossing would be on the south side of the tracks, facing west so it would be read by the engineer on a train going east towards the crossing. The sign on the east side of the crossing would be on the north side, facing east, so it could be seen by the engineer of a westbound train.

Stix
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,017 posts
Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 12:29 PM

What about signage around areas where the mainline might be fouled by switching activity.

There is no sign for that, that's just doing business  There is nothing to put up a permanent warning for.

For that mater it was said signage etc. should be on the right side but what about single mainline?

Many signs are directional  They are placed in advance of something ahead.  Only one side is in advance.  You don't need mile markers on both sides.  You don't need yard limits on both sides.  You don't need whistle or flanger signs on both sides. 

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,017 posts
Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 12:37 PM

wjstix
Note that in the real world the yard limit sign would usually not be located right where the yard starts, but maybe a mile or so 'down the line' so trains on the main know to slow down and be observant of potential issues in the yard. But it depends on the specific situation.

The yard limits allow trains and engine to use the main track.  The yard limit signs are placed where the the railroad wants the trains and engines to be able to occupy the main track.  That could be miles before the switch to enter the yard, it could be right at the switch to enter the yard.  Yard limits allow trains and engines to enter and use the main track without providing flag protection and other authority from the dispatcher(unless you are on the PRR or its successor roads).  People think  yard limits is about the yard, its really not, its about not having to flag the train.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 6,865 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 3:12 PM

I have a stamped steel sign that is 18" wide and 24" high.

It says: "1 MILE TO YARD LIMIT"

From "The Consolidated Code of Operating Rules", 1959:

MAIN TRACK--A track extending through yards and between stations, upon which trains are operated by time-table or train order, or both, or the use of which is governed by block signals.

YARD--A system of tracks withing defined limits provided for the making up of trains, storing of cars and other purposes, over which movements not authorized by time-table, or by train order, may be made, subject to prescribed signals and rules, or special instructions.

A significant difference is that out on the main, an engineer knows he has the railroad IF he and others are following the rules mentioned above.  He can go 50 without worrying that there's something on the tracks ahead of him (well, maybe just a little--there sure isn't SUPPOSED to be!).  That sign I mentioned is telling him that he's coming up to a place where he just might find equipment right in front of him, with no notice at all.  And he needs to be going slowly enough that he can stop when he sees any.

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 12,974 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 3:49 PM

7j43k
He can go 50 without worrying that there's something on the tracks ahead of him (well, maybe just a little--there sure isn't SUPPOSED to be!).

Yard Limits gone wrong:

Regards, Ed

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • 649 posts
Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 9:20 PM

Now that we've established the fact that your railroad is set in the 1930s, one thing you will need, anywhere it is likely for men to be on top of your house cars,  wherever there is an overhead clearance issue, are telltales.  This may be at a bridge or, a tunnel.  The telltales would be placed over all tracks with low clearance, on both sides of the low clearance.  They will also be placed far enough in advance of the overhead structure, to give adequate warning.  As better brakes were developed, the reason for men going atop equipment was mainly to pass signals in switching, before radios came into use.  The elimination of roofwalks on house cars also led to the demise of telltales.

     Your no clearance sign(s) would appear where there is insufficient clearance for a man to ride on the side of a car or locomotive.  These are usually found in industrial areas but could also be found on railroad installations as well.  Common side clearance problems occur when tracks go through gates or, doorways, into buildings, or where tracks come close to the walls or corners of structures.  Another close clearance situation could exist where tracks parallel loading docks.  I have seen close clearance signs mounted on building walls at doorways and also on posts a couple of car lengths from the obstruction.  Wording could simply be "close clearance" or something like "will not clear man on side of car".  If cars can move beyond the obstruction, you could have signs on both sides of it.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 6,478 posts
Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 9:24 AM

Thanks, got a few places wgere both are nessisary.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 12,365 posts
Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 11:01 AM

rrebell
If no room on right would they put sign on left, what about single trackage. What would no clearance sign be used for, basicaly what looks good for a small layout of that era and what signs do I need, never got to this level of compleation before.

On a small layout - remembering even a large model railroad is a very compressed version of reality - it might be better not to put too many signs in place. Trying to squeeze in every possible sign could just make the layout look unrealistic and too 'busy'. Think of it kinda like part of the scenery of the layout, add signs where appropriate and they look 'right'.

Stix
  • Member since
    February 2012
  • 93 posts
Posted by mthobbies on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 12:54 PM

Basic Scenery for Model Railroaders by Lou Sassi is a great book in general, but he has a chapter in there about making right-of-way signs from styrene. I believe he also has some information about placing them prototypically, but this might vary from railroad to railroad.

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 48 posts
Posted by RealGomer on Sunday, August 1, 2021 5:08 PM

I can't remember where I found them but I printed out scale traffic signs. I glued the sheet to some thin card stock to give them some stiffness. I then used an Xacto knife to cut out the sign. For my HO scale, I found that square tooth picks were very close to scale. Using a Xuron nipper, I cut the points off and glued the signs to the "posts. I then just used Elmer's white glue to set them on the layout.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 21,705 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 6:23 AM

wjstix
 
rrebell
If no room on right would they put sign on left, what about single trackage. What would no clearance sign be used for, basicaly what looks good for a small layout of that era and what signs do I need, never got to this level of compleation before. 

On a small layout - remembering even a large model railroad is a very compressed version of reality - it might be better not to put too many signs in place. Trying to squeeze in every possible sign could just make the layout look unrealistic and too 'busy'. Think of it kinda like part of the scenery of the layout, add signs where appropriate and they look 'right'. 

I agree. Less is more.

Rich

Alton Junction

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!