RAILROAD SIGNALS of the U.S.

 

RAILROAD SIGNAL
DOLL POSTS

 

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In General

Doll Posts or Doll Arms are "sort of" an accessory item for signals.....
When a signal could not be located directly to the right of the track it governed, with another track between it and the signal, railroads employed a Doll Post to indicate that to the engineer..... Think of the Doll Post as a place holder.

Many railroads employed a bracket post installation, much as they would if they were using two signals.  In place of a second signal though, they would use a short mast with a blue light on it, and if you have ever seen one, it is a deep, deep blue.

Other bracket post installations, such as the one below on SEPTA in the Philadelphia area, uses a blue circular reflector on the mast.

When the railroads did not want to go to the expense of putting in a bracket post, they would set up a simple two pipe installation to the side of the mast, supported by a small piece of angle iron as seen below in the B&O and SCL installations.

And furthermore, some railroads, like the B&O, employed no signal at all.

The B&M was one railroad to employ Doll Posts with an active blue signal,
A visit to Waltham Massachusetts will not disappoint you (unless the lamp was out as it was on one of my trips)!
The Seaboard is another railroad that employed the blue lights, also shown below.

The picture below, out of a B&O rulebook, illustrates the doll post concept.




"Perryville" MD

              

Typical B&O CPL Doll Post located on the east end of Aiken Siding siding north of Perryville MD.
Notice the lack of a lamp on the post.
Also notice how the dwarf signal is mounted to the base of the high signal.... interesting!
The high signal is for the main line, which is to the left,
And the dwarf signal is for the siding on the right, which is in between the signal and the track it governs, hence the Doll Post.
Picture taken from Jackson Station Road.

 


Lineville AL

  

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.


Ann Arbor MI

You don't often get to see any semaphore with doll post installations any more.  This is a long unused semaphore installation in on the north side of Toledo not to far away from the Ann Arbor tower off Matzinger Rd.  My picture on the left is from 2009.  The photo on the right, courtesy Eric Schmelz, was taken back in 1998 when the signal installation was still intact.  Very nice shot!

 


Media PA

SEPTA's version of a doll post, it uses a blue reflector.  This one is on the R3 line in Media PA.

       


Shenandoah Junction WV

Photo used by permission from Todd Paoni.
Many more excellent pictures from around the MD-VA-WV areas by Todd are at:  http://members.trainorders.com/bucky1986/

 


Waltham MA

Just east of the tower in Waltham is a signal installation with a lit doll post.  I've been there twice, and on one of the occasions, the lamp was out.  The reason for the doll post is because the signal mast is located to the right of a siding, and it is between the signal and the track it governs. 

The doll and accompanying signal have now been replaced, darn, there goes another set of searchlight signals (they are beginning to disappear as quickly as the CPL's and PL's!  :-)

I have a picture of it somewhere in my slide collection, but if someone lives near there and can swing by to get a picture, it would be greatly appreciated.

Below are pictures of the Waltham Doll sent in by Dave Pierson:

     



Disclaimers:

I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in my links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!   Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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