Goffprof
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Joined: 1:05 PM - Feb 25, 2008

9:04 PM - Jul 28, 2018 #11

Goffprof wrote:Ron -- Here is some more info and responses to your questions.... hope it is helpful.

The front and sides of a GRS 2A dwarf signal casting itself should be painted flat black; rear door painted silver.  We always painted the back and edges of the wooden blades black, and the front of the 2A dwarf signal blades red with a white stripe. I think the blade dimensions are in the GRS 2A manual, however we usually installed 7/16" or 1/2" bolts as the holes in the spectacle casting are 9/16", with 5" bolt centers for attaching the dwarf signal blade. The smaller bolts allowed us a little wiggle room to adjust the blade horizontally if the signal foundation was off-level. The length of the wooden blade in a 2A dwarf is supposed to be approximately equal to the length of the spectacle casting. The NH liked left-hand 2A semaphores, but as you can see in pictures, some were installed with right-hand mechanisms. Nothing was really "standard" despite what some believe. 

The NH also installed GRS 2A's for high signals mounted on signal bridges on the NH Line and other areas so some of the semaphore blades were short with straight ends and a straight white stripe, curved ends and a curved stripe, or pointed ends and a straight stripe.  Some bridge mounted 2A's had yellow blades with black stripes. The shape and paint scheme depended on whether the signal was Absolute or Permissive, a high signal or a dwarf, a Train Order Signal, etc.  I posted a few pics at the bottom to help sort out the signal blade sizes and types and I'm sure there are technical writeups in the NHRHTA archives for those interested in more technical details.  Note there is a later US&S H5 searchlight Signal shown in a below picture between the 2A semaphores mounted on the signal bridge. The rear of the H5 can be seen as it faced the opposite direction from the 2A's. The H5 cases are often silver, but the cases of H5's on bridges was normally repainted black to avoid glare. 

The picture below with the RDC car in Bridgeport shows 2A high signals mounted on a signal bridge, with additional 2A dwarf signals on the ground.  Note that silver backs of the 2A dwarf / jack signals are actually the doors to access the internal semaphore mechanism.  We painted them this way purposely so the flat-black front and silver back of the dwarf signals on the ground could be easily distinguished.  The Signal Department wanted an engineer to see flat black approaching the front of a signal mechanism and spectacle casting when approaching a 2A signal to avoid glare or other issues. This is also why the background and hood on later colorlight and searchlight signals were always painted black and still are, as are grade crossing signal heads.   

For those modeling the Hartford Line, I'm sure the replacement 2A dwarf signal blades we installed in New Haven, Hart and Spring Towers were painted red, had curved blade ends and curved white stripes, with the back and edges flat back. Northbound Signal #5 at Hart Tower was equipped with a pipe-connected "C" Board mechanical semaphore until we installed a GRS 2A replacement mechanism in the late 70's. Some other 2A dwarf signal blades were red with square ends and a straight white line.

When I was a young Penn Central Asst. Signalman in Hartford in '75, our supervisor, a great guy named Joe Holland, was a 25-year NH Signal Department employee and I can't recall him ever using the term dwarf signal, only jack signal. 

Regarding the history of the term "jack" signal, in 1979 I was told by a signal historian for the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen that the term was derived from a true story from the 1880's about a railroader in South Africa who lost his legs but wanted to keep working so he became a tower leverman and trained a baboon named "Jack" to throw the interlocking machine hand levers. I remember thinking the story was fake but, below is an old pic of Signalman Jack the baboon working the mechanical interlocking levers. The tower operator / leverman who lost his legs is shown in the picture wearing early prosthetics. 

The other pictures copied below show different GRS 2A semaphore installations on the New Haven and other details.

One more note for those interested in Semaphore signals...  there are still two upper quadrant 2-headed semaphore signals installed at the CT Trolley Museum (CERA, Warehouse Point) - Signal 0.24 and Signal 0.25. I started with the CERA signal department volunteer group in 1970 lead by Walter Sheffeld and we installed the signals. Both 0.24 and 0.25 are equipped with 2 "Hall" semaphore mechanisms with full length semaphore blades.  We maintained them for more than 45 years, however CERA management policy decisions in 2016 lead to several long time Signal department volunteers leaving the department. I'm not sure if the semaphores are still functioning.

Al Goff
--------------------------
Signalman Jack.jpgNH GRS 2A Dwarf Signal.jpgNH GRS 2A dwarf semaphore.jpgNH Line H5 Semaphore Signals.jpgNH GRS 2A Signals on Bridge.jpg



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Goffprof
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Joined: 1:05 PM - Feb 25, 2008

9:04 PM - Jul 28, 2018 #12

Goffprof wrote:
Goffprof wrote:Ron -- Here is some more info and responses to your questions.... hope it is helpful.

The front and sides of a GRS 2A dwarf signal casting itself should be painted flat black; rear door painted silver.  We always painted the back and edges of the wooden blades black, and the front of the 2A dwarf signal blades red with a white stripe. I think the blade dimensions are in the GRS 2A manual, however we usually installed 7/16" or 1/2" bolts as the holes in the spectacle casting are 9/16", with 5" bolt centers for attaching the dwarf signal blade. The smaller bolts allowed us a little wiggle room to adjust the blade horizontally if the signal foundation was off-level. The length of the wooden blade in a 2A dwarf is supposed to be approximately equal to the length of the spectacle casting. The NH liked left-hand 2A semaphores, but as you can see in pictures, some were installed with right-hand mechanisms. Nothing was really "standard" despite what some believe. 

The NH also installed GRS 2A's for high signals mounted on signal bridges on the NH Line and other areas so some of the semaphore blades were short with straight ends and a straight white stripe, curved ends and a curved stripe, or pointed ends and a straight stripe.  Some bridge mounted 2A's had yellow blades with black stripes. The shape and paint scheme depended on whether the signal was Absolute or Permissive, a high signal or a dwarf, a Train Order Signal, etc.  I posted a few pics at the bottom to help sort out the signal blade sizes and types and I'm sure there are technical writeups in the NHRHTA archives for those interested in more technical details.  Note there is a later US&S H5 searchlight Signal shown in a below picture between the 2A semaphores mounted on the signal bridge. The rear of the H5 can be seen as it faced the opposite direction from the 2A's. The H5 cases are often silver, but the cases of H5's on bridges was normally repainted black to avoid glare. 

The picture below with the RDC car in Bridgeport shows 2A high signals mounted on a signal bridge, with additional 2A dwarf signals on the ground.  Note that silver backs of the 2A dwarf / jack signals are actually the doors to access the internal semaphore mechanism.  We painted them this way purposely so the flat-black front and silver back of the dwarf signals on the ground could be easily distinguished.  The Signal Department wanted an engineer to see flat black approaching the front of a signal mechanism and spectacle casting when approaching a 2A signal to avoid glare or other issues. This is also why the background and hood on later colorlight and searchlight signals were always painted black and still are, as are grade crossing signal heads.   

For those modeling the Hartford Line, I'm sure the replacement 2A dwarf signal blades we installed in New Haven, Hart and Spring Towers were painted red, had curved blade ends and curved white stripes, with the back and edges flat back. Northbound Signal #5 at Hart Tower was equipped with a pipe-connected "C" Board mechanical semaphore until we installed a GRS 2A replacement mechanism in the late 70's. Some other 2A dwarf signal blades were red with square ends and a straight white line.

When I was a young Penn Central Asst. Signalman in Hartford in '75, our supervisor, a great guy named Joe Holland, was a 25-year NH Signal Department employee and I can't recall him ever using the term dwarf signal, only jack signal. 

Regarding the history of the term "jack" signal, in 1979 I was told by a signal historian for the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen that the term was derived from a true story from the 1880's about a railroader in South Africa who lost his legs but wanted to keep working so he became a tower leverman and trained a baboon named "Jack" to throw the interlocking machine hand levers. I remember thinking the story was fake but, below is an old pic of Signalman Jack the baboon working the mechanical interlocking levers. The tower operator / leverman who lost his legs is shown in the picture wearing early prosthetics. 

The other pictures copied below show different GRS 2A semaphore installations on the New Haven and other details.

One more note for those interested in Semaphore signals...  there are still two upper quadrant 2-headed semaphore signals installed at the CT Trolley Museum (CERA, Warehouse Point) - Signal 0.24 and Signal 0.25. I started with the CERA signal department volunteer group in 1970 lead by Walter Sheffeld and we installed the signals. Both 0.24 and 0.25 are equipped with 2 "Hall" semaphore mechanisms with full length semaphore blades.  We maintained them for more than 45 years, however CERA management policy decisions in 2016 lead to several long time Signal department volunteers leaving the department. I'm not sure if the semaphores are still functioning.

Al Goff
--------------------------
Signalman Jack.jpgNH GRS 2A Dwarf Signal.jpgNH GRS 2A dwarf semaphore.jpgNH Line H5 Semaphore Signals.jpgNH GRS 2A Signals on Bridge.jpg



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Goffprof
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Joined: 1:05 PM - Feb 25, 2008

9:14 PM - Jul 28, 2018 #13

Statkowski - thanks for adding the key for identifying semaphore blades.

My pic labeled H5 is really GRS 2A semaphores facing us, the US&S H5 searchlight Signal is in the middle with its back to us...

We installed a lot of H5 searchlight high signals and dwarfs on the shoreline east of New Haven and at North Haven Interlocking. The Hartford Line was equipped with GRS SC Searchlight signals from Signal 2.8 all the way to the Distant and Home Signals at Spring Tower.

As a Signal Maintainer, I always preferred the SC mechanisms due to the ease of removal to clean the glass magnifying lens and then we added thick Lexan outer lenses to protect the magnifying lens.

Al


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Run 8
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Run 8
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Joined: 9:11 PM - Dec 10, 2013

8:05 PM - Jul 31, 2018 #14

Goffprof wrote: Ron -- Here is some more info and responses to your questions.... hope it is helpful.

The front and sides of a GRS 2A dwarf signal casting itself should be painted flat black; rear door painted silver.  We always painted the back and edges of the wooden blades black, and the front of the 2A dwarf signal blades red with a white stripe. I think the blade dimensions are in the GRS 2A manual, however we usually installed 7/16" or 1/2" bolts as the holes in the spectacle casting are 9/16", with 5" bolt centers for attaching the dwarf signal blade. The smaller bolts allowed us a little wiggle room to adjust the blade horizontally if the signal foundation was off-level. The length of the wooden blade in a 2A dwarf is supposed to be approximately equal to the length of the spectacle casting. The NH liked left-hand 2A semaphores, but as you can see in pictures, some were installed with right-hand mechanisms. Nothing was really "standard" despite what some believe. 

The NH also installed GRS 2A's for high signals mounted on signal bridges on the NH Line and other areas so some of the semaphore blades were short with straight ends and a straight white stripe, curved ends and a curved stripe, or pointed ends and a straight stripe.  Some bridge mounted 2A's had yellow blades with black stripes. The shape and paint scheme depended on whether the signal was Absolute or Permissive, a high signal or a dwarf, a Train Order Signal, etc.  I posted a few pics at the bottom to help sort out the signal blade sizes and types and I'm sure there are technical writeups in the NHRHTA archives for those interested in more technical details.  Note there is a later US&S H5 searchlight Signal shown in a below picture between the 2A semaphores mounted on the signal bridge. The rear of the H5 can be seen as it faced the opposite direction from the 2A's. The H5 cases are often silver, but the cases of H5's on bridges was normally repainted black to avoid glare. 

The picture below with the RDC car in Bridgeport shows 2A high signals mounted on a signal bridge, with additional 2A dwarf signals on the ground.  Note that silver backs of the 2A dwarf / jack signals are actually the doors to access the internal semaphore mechanism.  We painted them this way purposely so the flat-black front and silver back of the dwarf signals on the ground could be easily distinguished.  The Signal Department wanted an engineer to see flat black approaching the front of a signal mechanism and spectacle casting when approaching a 2A signal to avoid glare or other issues. This is also why the background and hood on later colorlight and searchlight signals were always painted black and still are, as are grade crossing signal heads.   

For those modeling the Hartford Line, I'm sure the replacement 2A dwarf signal blades we installed in New Haven, Hart and Spring Towers were painted red, had curved blade ends and curved white stripes, with the back and edges flat back. Northbound Signal #5 at Hart Tower was equipped with a pipe-connected "C" Board mechanical semaphore until we installed a GRS 2A replacement mechanism in the late 70's. Some other 2A dwarf signal blades were red with square ends and a straight white line.

When I was a young Penn Central Asst. Signalman in Hartford in '75, our supervisor, a great guy named Joe Holland, was a 25-year NH Signal Department employee and I can't recall him ever using the term dwarf signal, only jack signal. 

Regarding the history of the term "jack" signal, in 1979 I was told by a signal historian for the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen that the term was derived from a true story from the 1880's about a railroader in South Africa who lost his legs but wanted to keep working so he became a tower leverman and trained a baboon named "Jack" to throw the interlocking machine hand levers. I remember thinking the story was fake but, below is an old pic of Signalman Jack the baboon working the mechanical interlocking levers. The tower operator / leverman who lost his legs is shown in the picture wearing early prosthetics. 


Al Goff
--------------------------
Very interesting and informative indeed - thanks, Al.  I'm fashioning a wooden blade about 12" long and will paint it up have it mounted soon.   My spectacle has no traces of paint anywhere, but it certainly saw service somewhere.

Ron
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Goffprof
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9:59 PM - Aug 01, 2018 #15

SS-274 Spring Tower 2A dwarf (1948)

Here’s a pic of SS-274 in 1960. Note the GRS 2A dwarf semaphore signal.

Al




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Gaffer
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Gaffer
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Joined: 3:52 PM - Oct 25, 2016

1:06 PM - Aug 08, 2018 #16

What is the significance of blinking signals, red, green or yellow?
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Statkowski
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Joined: 4:39 AM - Mar 05, 2003

3:50 PM - Aug 08, 2018 #17

A blinking signal is a variation of an existing signal, usually.  On the New York Central, yellow over green over green (Approach Limited) was converted to yellow over flashing green (also Approach Limited) with one less signal head to deal with.  Red over green was a Medium Clear, but red over flashing green was Limited Clear.

Since a picture can be worth a thousand words, and I don't want to deal with a thousand words, here's one pictorial depiction of what signals are what:
http://rail.pgengler.net/signals/fixed_norac.html

Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee (NORAC) generally covers most of the railroad signals used in former New Haven territory.  Of course, with mergers and acquisitions, the assorted Association of American Railroad recommended signals had to be combined with signals in use by former Baltimore & Ohio and Pennsylvania lines.  New Haven signals were the first to be modified with their takeover by Penn Central.  Throw in Amtrak, Metro North and MBTA, and it can somewhat confusing to an outsider.

The 1956 Book of Rules shows no flashing signals on the New Haven.
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rsullivan
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Joined: 3:36 PM - Dec 14, 2016

9:01 AM - Aug 11, 2018 #18

Question about the two-aspect dwarf signals with short semaphore blade. On the cover of the NHRHTA's New Haven Railroad 2019 Calendar (2018) there two signalling devices on the mast just past the station on the right side of the tracks. The top one is a three-aspect upper quandrant signal which I understand. Towards the base of the mast, about five feet above the ground, is a two-aspect dwarf signal with short semaphore blade like the one described above. Is having the two-aspect dwarf signal with short semaphore blade on a mast unique to the Mansfield, Massachusetts passenger station? I can't tell if the blade end is rounded or flat. Which would it be to stop the train due to the switch ahead being aligned against the train? I would think flat like at a drawbridge, but I can't find the answer. Were elevated two-aspect dwarf signals with short semaphore blade elevated at other stations? If so, was it common at passenger and freight stations? Thanks.
Richard #3967
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Statkowski
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Joined: 4:39 AM - Mar 05, 2003

10:19 AM - Aug 11, 2018 #19

Dwarf signals were normally ground-mounted.  Due to the location, this one was not.  It was still a dwarf signal.  As with all fixed signals, site location and visibility issues dictated actual placement.  Track 6 eastward from S.S. 4, Oak Point, had repeater signals, which gave the same indication as the home signal, but due to the yard drilling and curve, high-mounted repeater dwarf signals were required.
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Run 8
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Run 8
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Joined: 9:11 PM - Dec 10, 2013

10:50 AM - Aug 11, 2018 #20

Three images - Before and after.  Now to figure out how to mount it somewhere utilizing the 3/4" square hole.
before.JPG
beforeafter.JPG
beforeafter 1.JPG
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