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Trackside Signs in 1895

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  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,251 posts
Trackside Signs in 1895
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, August 24, 2020 9:14 PM

Didn't want to hijack the other thread. I didn't even consider signs mostly out of ignorance. If it makes a difference, SP owns the mainline on my layout. 

They had telegraph by then, so they didn't have to play "pass the baton." I knew they put a green flag on the lead train to tell people there's a train following them. But that's it. 

Did they use yard limit signs? 

I give up. What sort of signs did they use? 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 8:44 AM

The railroads had the telegraph since the 1840's.

The green flag is a classification signal and is NOT the same as signage along the right of way.  It has to do with timetable and train order operation.  If a train has no signals then it is a regular train listed in the timetable.  If it has white signals then it is an extra train, not listed in the timetable.  If it has green signals it is a section of a scheduled train, but not the last section.  The green signals don't mean there is another train following it, it means there is a train running on that SPECIFIC schedule following it.  A train could have a 100 trains following it, but wouldn't display signals unless it and at least one of the following trains is running on the same schedule.  Also sections don't have to be right behind each other, the trailing sections could be up to 12 hours behind the lead.

On to signage.

The most basic signage are stations signs.  A station is someplace named in the timetable and it requires a sign to go with it. In addition there would be a sign one mile before every station that was a train order office, had an interlocking or drawbridge.  That did two things, the train would blow a whistle signal to let the station know they were coming and it gave the train warning to slow down in case they had to stop.

There were mile posts and pole markers.  There would be a milepost every mile and a marker on every 10th telegraph pole.  Back in the day, locations were stated in miles and "poles".  Reduce speed from mp 15 pole 5 to mp 15 pole 22.  There were between 25 and 35 poles per mile.  They would paint a stripe or put a metal band on the 10th pole, two on the 20th pole, three on the 30th pole.

Yard limits may or may not have been used.  They were invented and came into use in the 1890's.

Speed limit signs may not have been used, primarily because engines didn't have speedometers.  

There would be whistle posts ahead of grade crossings.

It it was a particularly snowy area, there might be "flanger" signs ahead of switchwork or road crossings to tell flangers (a special type of snow plow that digs snow and ice out of the flangeways along the rails) to raise their blades.

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

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,251 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 6:28 PM

dehusman
The green signals don't mean there is another train following it, it means there is a train running on that SPECIFIC schedule following it.

I got it from something I read once. The Antelope was supposed to be at the wedding with Engine 119 at Promentary Point, but a bunch of dignitaries wanted to come, so they took another train. That train was first and brandished a green flag. A construction crew along the way either didn't see the green flag or didn't know what it meant. When the first train passed, they felled a tree acrosss the track and Antelope hit it. Jupiter was the Cinderella story coming out of nowhere to become probably the most famous locomotive ever.

I took the green flag to mean that there was another train immediately following. Are we on the same page?

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 6:51 AM

SpaceMouse
I took the green flag to mean that there was another train immediately following. Are we on the same page?

No.  Absolutely not.

A green signal means that the train carrying the signals is a section of a schedule and is not the last section.

I rather doubt that anybody was going to "Promentary Point" on the UP 119 since there weren't tracks to Promentary Point until 1902.  But I digress.

The timetable has schedules of trains.  The schedules are numbered and they give the depature and arrival times for the trains at the stations.  A train can't leave a station prior to its scheduled departure time.  If you want to run more than one train on the same schedule, you have to issue a train order that creates one or more sections ("Eng 123 and eng 234 run as first and second No 21 from Ft Worth to San Antonio", or "Eng 123 display signals for No 21 from Ft Worth to San Antonio.")  

All the sections of a train have to obey the schedule times and all inferior trains have to clear the schedule until all the sections have passed unless there is an order modifying that.  There is nothing that says that a following section has to be right behind a leading section, they can be hours apart and there is nothing that says that there can't be other trains between sections.

If there are multiple trains running back to back (technically 5-10 min apart) there are NO signals that indicate that.  You could have 25 trains running in the same direction, 10 minutes apart and none of them would display green signals.  ONLY if two or more trains were running as sections of ONE schedule would there be green signals displayed.

 

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

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, August 26, 2020 7:30 AM

SpaceMouse
I got it from something I read once. The Antelope was supposed to be at the wedding with Engine 119 at Promentary Point, but a bunch of dignitaries wanted to come, so they took another train. That train was first and brandished a green flag. A construction crew along the way either didn't see the green flag or didn't know what it meant.

Actually it sounds like a failure of somebody on the train.  If the line was still under construction, then there wouldn't be scheduled trains, if there are no scheduled trains then there can't be sections.

What it sounds like to me is that the train crew (or the dignitaries on the train) got the bright idea to display signals as if they were a section, but the section crew, knowing there were no scheduled trains, ignored it as an improperly displayed signal and went on with their work.

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

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,251 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, August 27, 2020 6:57 PM

So I "can" set yard limits. I can have one mile marker, and maybe two telegraph poles marked, and a sign at my station. Anything else?

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Friday, August 28, 2020 8:43 AM

SpaceMouse
So I "can" set yard limits. I can have one mile marker, and maybe two telegraph poles marked, and a sign at my station. Anything else?

You can put as many milepost markers as you want, but having a "mile" post marker every 2 ft will look odd.

Normally my suggestion is to put mile post markers where you can use them, but that's not as useful in early rail because about the only thing that really used mile posts were speed restrictions and work extras.    In more modern time, track warrants were commonly given to milepost locations.

If you have a "speedometer" built into your layout, putting a "mile post" by it would be perfect because mileposts were used as speedometers back in the day.

Other signs might be no trespassing, no "coal picking", close clearance, station signs, station one mile signs, whistle posts, right of way markers.  The operational signs will have to be compressed (whistle posts 2 feet from the crossing, instead of 1/4 mile.)

A rural short line in the 1890's will have way less signage than a modern railroad.

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

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,251 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, August 28, 2020 6:37 PM

dehusman
The operational signs will have to be compressed (whistle posts 2 feet from the crossing, instead of 1/4 mile.)

My whole layout represents maybe a quarter mile. It's a hardworking dense quarter mile, but from there it's to and from staging and to and from the mine and logging camp.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Sunday, August 30, 2020 7:50 AM

If its a really short logging line then the signage would most likely be minimal.  They probably aren't running standard code (so no scheduled trains or train orders), they probably don't have to worry about speed limits, they don't have to worry about mileposts, many lumber railroads were more or less temporary, once they cut down the trees they moved or abandoned the railroad.  Maybe station signs, maybe whistle posts.

There probably isn't any need for yard limits because you probably don't have any high speed trains, you probably won't have any first class trains, everybody's going to be operating at a reduced speed anyway.  More or less the whole railroad would be yard limits all the time.

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

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
  • 11,251 posts
Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, August 31, 2020 2:51 PM

dehusman
If its a really short logging line then the signage would most likely be minimal.

There's a spur to a logging camp, but Rock Ridge is a town on the SP main north/south line. There are service facilities, an icing platform, and classification yard. There are also industies with a lumber mill large enough to need its own switcher to move boxcars around for loading. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 3:57 PM

One thing you probably would not see is the now-familiar x-shaped "RAIL ROAD CROSSING" crossbuck sign where the tracks cross a road. You'd probably see a rectangular sign, or a diamond shaped sign, saying "LOOK OUT FOR THE CARS".

Stix
  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 7:21 PM

wjstix
"RAIL ROAD CROSSING"

"LOOK OUT FOR THE CARS".

but...

"CAN YOU SPELL THAT WITHOUT ANY R's"

Thanks.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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