N&W Train Order Signals

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Sep 14 20:30:44 EDT 2006


This is fantastic...

Thank you for taking the time to look this up...a significan amount of
information here...



On 9/13/06, nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:




> On September 5, Eric wrote:


> >>

> >> In the current issue, August 2006, of 'Mainline Modeler' there

> > > are several prototype photos of N&W stations with train order

> > > semaphores. Some of the photos show a second arm. In some

> > > cases, this is shown dropped to completely vertical.

> > >

> > > Can anyone describe the rules, or better, scan the portion of

> > > the rule book that refers to these. I am aware of the usual

> > > rules refering to 19 and 31 orders, but how was this used on a

> > > semaphore with positions up 45 degrees, horizontal, and down 45

> > > degrees? What did the lower arm apply to?



> Since none of the savants and bards undertook to answer Eric, I will.


> Answer: Top arm gave block condition; Bottom arm was the train order

> signal.


> Rule 704 from the 1917 Rule Book (found in the section on "Manual Block

> Rules"):


> "The block signal will be used for train orders and all rules applying to

> train orders will apply to the block signal when used for train orders.


> "These signals may be provided with an additional arm below the block arm,

> which is used to indicate that there are train orders. A horizontal

> position of this arm, or a red light, indicates - Orders; a vertical or

> concealed position of this arm, showing no light, indicates - No Orders."

> (Underscoring added by me, for emphasis.)


> This rule did not appear in the 1905 Rule Book. It does appear in the 1917,

> 1930 and 1945 Rule Books. It is missing from the 1951 Rule Book.


> Something I found out in looking up this answer: The concept of "manual

> block" was referred to in the 1905 Rule Book as "Telegraph Block." By 1917

> (and also in later editions,) it had been given the name "Manual Block

> System."


> Eric also inquires about the shape of the ends of the semaphore blades. As

> a general practice in railroading, the meanings were as follows:


> Square end - Home Signal

> Scalloped end - Train order signal

> Diamond-shaped end - Distant signal

> Fish-tail end - Automatic signal


> Some railroads color-coded the semaphore blades, too:


> Red - Home signal or Train Order signal

> Yellow - Automatic signal

> Green - Distant signal to a Home Signal


> Looking at the N&W Rule Books, it appears that the N&W did not have a hard

> and fast practice on coloring the blades.


> In the earlier years, all semaphores everywhere were "lower quadrant."

> Sometime around 1911, the industry began switching to "upper quadrant

> signals," for reasons I will not explain here. It appears that the N&W

> switched to "U.Q." semaphores for all purposes except Train order signals,

> which remained "L.Q." The N&W also had a third arm (green in color) on some

> home signals, and used it as the "calling-on arm."


> If you need more, Eric, I'll try to dig it out, or figure it out, for you.

> But I don't want to tell you how to build a watch, if you've only asked for

> the time !


> -- abram burnett


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