RAILROAD SIGNALS of the U.S.

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These are pictures that were previously on the home page.
Hope I made it easier on ya'll that still have phone modems by thumbnailing the pictures.....
Pictures are my own unless noted otherwise! :-)


  current photo


  used 12-12-2016 thru 3-7-2017

Well, in the spirit of the Midwest, north and northeast, I present a Philly Trolley Bus in the snow :-)
Photo by Mitchell Libby



  used 10-6-2016 thru 12-21-2016

Almost gone!!! The PRR PL-Position Light signals between Harrisburg and Altoona are in the process of being replaced by NS with the now standard three aspect "Darth Vader" colorlight signals. These are at CP PORT, west of Newport PA, a guide to the signals is here. Photo from a September 2016 trip with Jersey Mike.


  used  7-15-2016 thru 10-6-2016

A three aspect dwarf colorlight signal with LED's.  A new installation in Kalamazoo MI, where the entire interlocking between Amtrak and the Grand Elk was updated with new signals in 2015.  This is a signal for the Grand Elk.  Photo by Denver Todd on a trip to Kalamazoo on 7/11/2016


      used  2-14-2016 thru 7-15-2016

A set of three pictures from the days of yore, showing the Griswolds that operated along the Erie Mining tracks in upper Minnesota.  Photos courtesy Jim Mihalek!  I wonder if the signals are still there?
The F Units were trashed in a runaway wreck back in 1997...... darn.  LTV Steel took over Erie Mining in 1987, and made its last run in 2001.  #4211 was donated to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum (Duluth MN) in 2006.  They also have (had) a beautiful "better than museum quality" 1/8 scale Missabe articulated steamer! 


  used 10-28-15 thru 2-14-2016

A pedestal signal mounted in a protective housing at Baltimore's Penn Station over track 9.  The signal has been updated with LED's.  There are around six of these here in the station area.


 used 8-18-2015 thru 10-28-2018

These horizontally mounted colorlight signals can be found throughout the New York City subway system when clearances get tight.


  used 8-25-2014 till 8-18-2015 - phew, almost a year! :-)

A NB New Jersey Transit Commuter Train gets ready to enter the Secaucus Station.
Plenty of signals around for the signal fan, and lots of trains too on both levels of the station!!


  used 3-28-2013 till 8-25-2014

The new and the old.  New colorlight signals waiting for the cutover at Bailey's Wye in Baltimore.  According to signal maintainers at the wye, it is now scheduled for May 2014 (happened in July).  When the time comes, a crane will lift the new signals off the base and rotate the cantilever bridge 90 degrees, and cut the old one down.  More pictures here


  used 8-18-2013 till 3-28-2014

Steam returns to the Northern Central in southern York County PA.  This picture is at Hanover Junction, my Railfan Guide for the "ride" is here.

Train #51 arriving in Staunton VA, about 5 minutes after NB #50 left on 6/21/13.  Plenty of railfanning for a small town with 4 railroads, 2 of which are shortlines   The C&O signals in the background are slated for replacement by CSX.  used 6-23-2013 till 8-18-2013


CSX's Acca yard at night, formerly the RF&P's southern terminus in Richmond VA, from the I-195 overpass  Used 5-30-2013 till 6-23-2013


The majority of what's left with public access of the rail system in El Salvador as of September 2013.  The freight cars are used as storage by local businesses.  Huge bus terminal across the street.
Bad area - not recommended unless you're with a local, the locals are very friendly however!  Taken on business trip to fix San Salvador's airport radar.  Plans to get guided tour of stuff inside the fence fell thru on second trip in October :-(  Used 4-27-2013 till 5-30-2013


Now that it is winter in most of the U.S., it only seems appropriate.....
click on photo for larger version
The train is on the old GN Willmar line which is used to access the yard and some local industries, but doesn't go very far.  Used 1-18-2013 till 4-27-2013


NS freight #119 passing through Blacksburg SC at mp424.3..... Big Thanks to Mike Falls for the photo
Why are the signals offset? Check here to find out.  Used 11-2012 thru 1-18-2013


Between the photos above and below, I was highlighting pictures from the Norfolk Southern 30 year anniversary shebang in Spencer NC over the July 4th, 2012  weekend.  Pictures are here: http://www.railfanguides.us/NS/index.htm


Bennett Levin's restored PRR E8s 5711 and 5809 approaching the West Baltimore MARC station, Saturday June 16th, 9:38.  A little while earlier, the train left Union Station in Washington DC and is headed to Enola Yard in Harrisburg PA,  via the Port Road at Perryville MD.  The train was sold out!  An Amtrak Genesis unit was behind the E's, and there were three Pennsy heritage cars on the rear.  Used 6-15-2012 till 7-5-2012


Looking south past the tower at the diamond in Deshler OH.   More pictures here  Used 2-24-2012 thru 6-15-2012


 

These two forlorn looking Pennsy PL signals stand guard at a diamond in Baltimore at the southern end of CSX's Penn-Mary Yard.  The two CSX tracks go over to the docks (Seagirt Terminal), and the single NS (ex-Pennsy) line crossing the CSX goes to the Dundalk Marine Terminal.  used 1/13/2012 thru 2/24/2012
Many more pictures of the diamond and signals are here


For now, Altoona remains on the PL fan's Bucket List....  In this shot taken from the overpass at the Amtrak station you can see dwarf, pedestals, and full size PL signals.  This won't be for long, because new color light signals are currently going up numbering the PL's days.  Used 11/1/2011 thru 1/13/2012


 

Safetran's Unilens signals on the south end of a CP Rail siding in New Milford PA, between Binghamton NY and Scranton PA.... off I-81 at exit 223.
This whole line uses the signals.  Used till Nov 1, 2011


   

Two pictures of PRR Pedestal Signals with red lenses, affectionately called "red-eye" or "red snake eye" signals.  Taken along Rt147 on the east bank of the Susquehanna River across from Duncannon PA.  For some reason, they are only found west of Harrisburg PA. 
Photos courtesy South Jersey Mike.   Used till 9SEP2011


Great shot in downtown Roanoke VA, looking west from the Hotel Roanoke overpass.  The close set of CPL's used be mounted on the 1st St NW bridge (in black), but now sit on a new cantilever bridge.  Railwalk is to the left, the concrete bridge is 2nd St.         used till 9JUN2011     Photo by Mike Falls


 

Two pictures of the same signal in Farmington MN, where, instead of using two heads, they used a four aspect head so they could show a red over red with the one head. 
Photos by Jim S.
         used till 2MAY2011


   
Pix of the lunar eclipse last night, the left and center ones are from around 03:40, and the right one was taken around 04:15 eastern time, taken with a Canon SX20IS with the lens all the way out at x80, not too bad for a non-SLR and being basically handheld... we were in Midlothian (Richmond) VA and it was pretty clear in the direction of the moon       21DEC2010
More info at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2010_lunar_eclipse


A colorlight signal in Cumberland MD, I believe on the ex WM.  Notice the mix of old WM heads with the large backgrounds in contrast with a newer Darth Vader head.        used till 12/28/2010


It's not very often that my non-train friends send something to me, so this month I'd like to feature a picture by Matt Brock, which he took on a recent visit to the Western Maryland Scenic RR with his son Jason.  The WM Scenic runs the only regular steam in Maryland, and runs west out of Cumberland to Frostburg.  A really nice hikey-bikey trail, the Great Allegheny Passage, accompanies the railroad the distance and beyond.... Thanks Matt!  used till 11/13-10


Searchlight signals looking northeast from the Dearborn Street crossing at Delray Tower, Detroit MI.      Used till 8/5/2010


Appropriate for this time of the year, Tim Vermande captures Chicago & South Shore #17 near Pine Rd. in South Bend in February 1978. 
See more of his pictures HERE 
used till 5/2/2010


This cantilever signal bridge is in Roanoke VA, along the N&W main at Park Street, adjacent to the now closed Park St. Tower.  This picture shows a small sampling of the variety of configurations N&W signal heads can appear in.  This kicks off my new page for N&W signals.  used 9/09-1/10


This copyrighted photo is courtesy Marcus Neubacher, and is from his webpage that can be found at the link below. 
The picture is along CSX's old Clinchfield route between Sevier and Altapass, NC.
The caption for the photo is as follows: A favorite railfan location in the Loops is Camp Two, which is the middle tier of three levels of track that twist through this location.  This northbound empty train has just passed through Rocky and traversed a horseshoe curve to arrive here at Camp Two.  Still upgrade is Ridge, where the rails pass through Blue Ridge Tunnel, cross the Eastern Continental Divide, and arrive at Altapass, the highest point on the Clinchfield.  All of that is approximately seven rail miles "north" of Camp Two, way up on the hillside above this train.
For more of his great photos of this wonderful line, and his N-gauge model railroad, the Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway, please check out: http://www.kntower.com/5.html


Here is a photo sent to me by Earl Hackett (which someone sent him years ago), taken east of Hinton WV in 1947.  The photo is on the internet as "Fales A", and after Earl did some research, we believe the photo was taken by Bruce Fales.  The tower looks to be "Cabin A" judging from the "A" on the side of the tower.  If you look closely, you will see six signals in the picture.  Two high signals for the mainline, two dwarf's (one is a two aspect, the other is a three aspect), a train order signal on the tower, and a dwarf hanging off the side of the near cantilever bridge.  The dwarf on the cantilever is Y/G/R.  This was apparently a turn around for helpers assisting trains coming out of Hinton.  Allegheny tunnel is just west of here, and the tower still stands today.   A most interesting photo, Thanks Earl!  BTW, the C&O called their towers CABINS, and not towers!...used till 6/29/2008


A Southbound Penn Central train heading into B&P Tunnel in Baltimore, two E-44's and a GG1 on the lead, (and yes, this is a train even tho there are no freight cars) Pennsy PL's way before the change to Amtrak PCL's.  Picture taken in May of 1970


  

A pair of pictures of a US&S Searchlight signal with a doll post in Lineville AL on an ex-SCL line,
one of which includes a shot of a classic SCL whistle post.
As with many other railroads, they use a high signal for the mainline and a dwarf for the siding.
Photos courtesy John Higginson.   used till 07/25/2007


Lower quadrant semaphores in Drain OR on the CORP.  Photo by Rick D. Daniels, CEO of SouPac Transportation Systems   .....used till 4/1/2007
http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php/cat/500/ppuser/3133


Griswolds are still alive and kicking (sans stopsign) in Minneapolis MN.  This one is on the way from BNSF's Northtown Yard to Minnesota Commercials home in St Paul.


A couple of GRS dwarf searchlight signals on the way out of Buffalo on the CSX (ex New York Central) mainline.  Nice cantilever bridge in the background.


NB double headed local freight on the Penn Central in Timonium MD, just north of Padonia Rd, with a SB Pennsy PL
Where was I when they were taking these guys down?  from Oct 1973


PRR Pedestal signal and position light dwarf at Baltimore's Penn Station


This shot was taken in downtown Roanoke VA in September of 2005.  Sometime in the mid 60's (I believe), the Norfolk and Western colorized their Position Lights (PL's) to what you see above.  Prior to the switchover, the signals were similar to the Pennsy signals with all amber lenses, and the equipment they use is identical.  The signal to the right illustrates one of the advantages of CPL's, where you can still see the aspect is red over red, even with the one bulb burned out..  If the lower lamp burns out, you still have the two on the top head to indicate the most restrictive aspect.  The dwarf signal is an interesting adaptation for a CPL.  It is supported by brackets to get it off the ground.




This signal protects a private grade crossing, south of Salem and Roanoke VA.  Salem is to the left, Christiansburg is to the right.


These B&O CPL's are in south Baltimore, on the main line to DC.  Picture taken from Patapsco Ave.


   

A couple of shots from "yesteryear".  The left one above, and the left one below were both taken on the last day of revenue service (1/1/05) before the double tracking project got underway on the north end of the Baltimore Light Rail System.  On top, we are looking north from the Timonium station, where the two tracks went into one.  They have moved the switch you see to the opposite (south) side (see below) of the station, probably in anticipation of resuming service only to the Timonium stop (for the next few months).  Service started 11/1/05 to Timonium.  Why couldn't they have placed the signal on the catenary support pole? ----- Below left, is the Joppa Rd. overpass, rebuilt in approx. 1990, again, knowing that someday they may want to put in a second track.  Almost every signal south of Warren Rd. went thru some sort of change, they even eliminated some completely, such as the northbound signal about a quarter of a mile south of where I live.  The roof to the right of the picture is the old Northern Central Riderwood Railroad station, which sold in early 2005 for $675K (three years earlier they bought it for $275K!)  The picture on the right also shows something they should have done on the whole system, and that was to put the pole line down the middle, instead of spending untold millions of dollars putting up a whole new pole line for the second track, making things look twice as ugly.

Two current views from Timonium are above middle (looking north) and right (looks south).  The northbound signals are gone, a temporary high-block has put in place, ductwork for the cables has been installed in the center of the tracks, and they moved the crossover to the south side so northbound trains coming into the station could take either side.

 

The right photo is from the same vantage point as the left, almost a year later.  The second (southbound) track is in - trains are running, they removed a pole from the middle, and replaced it with TWO poles... why, who knows? (More stupid engineering as far as I am concerned)  The signal(s) on the far side of the underpass are gone, and they placed yet another fence to keep people from traversing the center "embankment" between the two tunnels (there are already two fences at the top, I guess they wanted to make sure!).


Ex B&O station in Aberdeen MD, designed by Frank Furness, built around the turn of the last century.  This was almost torn down and has been saved by the Harford Historical Society in 2003.  It is supposed to be the centerpiece of a new park or shopping district once moved further away from the right-of-way.  Picture taken in July 2003, before a temporary fence was put up around it to keep people like myself away from the building.  I spent about 2 hours taking measurements of the building!


Single Aspect B&O CPL at the CSX Locomotive Maintenance Facility in Cumberland MD


CPL replacements on the CSX just west of New Castle PA


Westbound Norfolk Southern freight at Berea OH.  I betcha those NS signal posts looked a lot better with semaphores on them instead of the tri-lights!
To the right is a great restaurant to watch trains from - good food, reasonable prices... sorry to report, it closed before the overpass construction started in ~2009


A B&O dwarf CPL with three markers, on the west leg of Bailey's wye in downtown Baltimore
Photo by Michael Watnoski


New Haven Freight coming off of Hell Gate bridge in Queens, New York City, taken in Oct 1968 - That 6th floor apartment was great for watching trains!  Just to the right, off the picture, was a semaphore for the train - never did get  a picture of it, and it was there till they took the ironwork down in the early 80's - about a mile and a half up the r-o-w was a semaphore for NB trains - never knew how lucky I was


A NS Dash 9 is headed into a siding under Amtrak PCL's on the Northeast Corridor in Newark DE - from the SEPTA station platform looking north


New York Central eastbound searchlights in Depew NY, opposite the Amtrak station..... very high traffic density, worthwhile spot to stop at, especially since you're almost at the front door of the airport


Picture from pamphlet #1364 - "A Centennial - History of ALSTOM Signaling Inc." 1904-2004
BTW - The CTC machine was installed in 1927



bye-bye

Thanx for stopping in!

LAST MODIFIED 07-Mar-2017