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Welcome to our Question & Answer Bulletin Board -- a bulletin board for collectors and anyone else to post questions about railroadiana and related history. Please note that we do not deal with contemporary railroading. This board is moderated (all volunteer) but is not staffed by "experts". Rather it relies on everyone to share what they know. Any question or reply about railroadiana is welcome except the following:

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Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3732 NYC Lamp Question  I have a NYCRR caboose lantern with three yellow and one red lens. Is this normal and what kind of oil did they burn? Did the flame color effect the color of the final light? Thank you.  Posted Sunday, March 29, 2020 by RJD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior q'S 3476 and 2881 for a lot of discussion on marker light lens colors, including markers that used 3 yellows and one red on several different major RR's. Most of these burned regular kerosene, same as was used in the hand lanterns. Yes, the flame color was factored into the lens colors to make sure the final light was a distinguishable color. The RR's and the glass industry did extensive research and development and set very rigorous standards to deal with that issue. Entering 'glass colors' (no quotes) in the word or phrase search box brings up prior Q's 3366, 2899, and 2670, and there are others, where the issue has been extensively discussed on the site here.  Posted Sunday, March 29, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3731 More Key IDs?  Thanks to RJMc and JMS on my previous keys. Here goes with the next 3. The Tapered C&A has a straight drop bit and doesn't have a a designation letter at the customary 6 o'clock position such as an S or a C for switch or car. Could it be Chicago and Alton or Chicago and Atlantic? Hopefully some one knows. The C&I I was told was Camden and Indiana but since I have seen other C&I Fraim keys with a completely different bit cut. So I wonder if the C&I had an early cut switch key and at some time in history changed locks and keys to completely different cut? The CW -- well I'm not completely convinced it's even legit. but Over the years I have seen others with varying degrees of pocket wear. Thanks for any help I can get.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 23, 2020 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My immediate guesses, and I emphasize guesses, might be Camden and Amboy for No. 1; I think you mean CAMBRIA and Indiana for No. 2, and Chesapeake Western (of Virginia) comes to mind for No. 3. Notes: I do have an Atlantic and Great Western -- another broad-gauge predecessor of the Erie RR System -- key which doesn't look like the C&A key in either size, style, or cut, but the letter stamping font looks almost identical. That would be a little support for the Chicago and Atlantic possibility. The No. 3 key struck me immediately as being the same pattern as the Western Maryland used. The Chesapeake Western shortline was never closely related to WM, though.  Posted Monday, March 23, 2020 by RJMc

A. The lettering on the C&A RR key, the spacing of the letters, is exactly like what you see on the older Chicago & Alton tapered switch keys. Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by DA

 Q3730 Tag ID?  The photos show a baggage tag that I found while metal detecting. It was found in a field in western New York state where a house once stood. The house has been gone for over 100 years. I know that it is from the New York Central RR and am interested to know what 'WAY' stands for. It is generally a RR station, but I have been unable to determine the identity of this one. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 23, 2020 by Mark S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Official Guide to the Railways publications have a comprehensive station name listing in the back, showing place name, state, RR('s) serving that place, and the table numbers for the schedules when/if passenger trains stopped there. Several historical Guides have been scanned and now are available (complete!over 1200 pages each!) on CD's for very handy reference. I have one for 1910 and one for 1945. Neither of them shows just a 'WAY' as a station on any of the NYC lines. However the 1910 one does show Wayneport, NY (a few miles east of Rochester) as being on the West Shore Railroad route (still called out separately, altho long since a part of the overall NYC operations) and the 1945 one lists it as a location in three different schedules but doesn't have trains stopping there -- probably because the 'great steel fleet' of passenger trains all went by on the former NYC & HR main line side. Checking on the web turns up some outstanding pix of NYC steam, a huge coaling facility, and even an icing station all located at Wayneport (see Link). The somewhat abbreviated format of this tag suggests to me it was associated with the servicing operations, for example an employee ID tag or a tool ID tag, rather than regular baggage handling. There were also NYC stations at Wayne, MI, and Wayne, OH, but the Wayneport one seems much more likely.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by RJMc

A. Might there have been a reason to secure " Waybills" in a satchel? Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Hello all, Here's some info from an old retired RR guy (me) that may shed some light on your "WAY" brass tag. All railroads used way or peddler cars, as we called them, to ship materials from the storekeeper out to various gangs and crews along the "way" or down the line and the materials in these cars all had tags with order numbers on them. Of course, my era used serial numbered paper or cardboard tags but you can surmise that brass tags were used early on. We sent these tags back via company mail showing the date and signature received. Each time we received a peddler car, we unloaded what was ours and then re-sealed the car with a standard metal locking seal. Eventually, the way cars were replaced by storekeeper trucks or material was delivered direct from the supplier by truck or rail in the case of large items. I hope this provides a possible answer to your questions. DJB  Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020 by DJB

A. Although the 'shipment receipt' idea is possible, see prior Q 3683 for a very similar NYC RR tag marked "WKN" also found in NY State; we speculate that that one is for "Weehawken" -- also a major NYC terminal on the former West Shore part of the NYC system. The similarity of the two makes me think more strongly that these are employee ID tags from the days long before laminated paper or plastic came into use.  Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020 by RJMc

A. Thankyou for the responses. The only observation I would make in relation to it being a tool or employee ID tag is that don' those usually have a round hole? Whereas this one has the same elongated hole, which is the same size as other baggage tags I have. Posted Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Mark S.

A. Looking at both photos, the letters appear properly aligned and spaced. But only in the octagonal tag here are the numbers rather jumbly. It could be either a replacement for a damaged or lost tag, or an extension of an existing sequence beyond the last tag or the original set. In either case, a blank already having the letters was available, with only the numbers to be added. This would suggest there was a master list, probably at an office in a centralized location...railroads were not sloppy organizations, they kept tight controls over numbers out of necessity. Given that this number is up beyond 4000, it would have to be one major complex for this to be a sequential employee identification. I'm not ready to buy into that idea so easily. It seems like a tag for something that was handled in large numbers and had to be accounted for regularly...sort of like handling all those milk cans or mail pouches etc.. Materials (as noted), papers, vouchers, receipts and the like all had to be collected from far away points and brought to the people responsible for keeping the numbers, all heading toward central control for accounting and computers in those days. But the numbers can't be so big that the tags become useless. So rather than individual scraps, some kind of pouches or lots are being moved under these control numbers. The letters would define the useage or the point from which these parcels are sent, and the latter seems less likely to me. Pure conjecture on my part. Posted Saturday, March 28, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. All that said, and good thinking, use of the tag to mark shipments is a good possibility. As to ID tags, I suspect that the major use of an employee tag at that time, in addiition to gate access, would be for timekeeping and payroll purposes. The assigned number would have to work in the bookkeeping system; for that reason any kind of number would work. It's highly doubtful that the NYC System had centralized payroll in the 1920's or '30's, so a 4,000 number would work in a facility that looks as big as Wayneport, and which had to work 24/7 with lots of folks. (Still speculating, of course.) Also see prior Q 3228 for a paper PRR 'Temporary Gate Pass - pending issuance of ID badge.' which is likely from the '30s or '40's. Not known what the permanent pass or badge would have looked like.  Posted Saturday, March 28, 2020 by RJMc

A. Even though Hudson River in not in the initials here, looking back to the 1893 OG, West Albany is noted as a station. Any chance WAY is code for a "West Albany Yard" designation? Posted Saturday, March 28, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Q703 had an earlier tag marked WAY under the line's initials. Posted Saturday, March 28, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Interesting that the tag in Q 703, in the one pic available, doesn't say 'Albany'; also it is not numbered, and per the comments a couple entries above, its punched with both an oblong and a round hole. So ???.  Posted Sunday, March 29, 2020 by RJMc

A. Supposedly said "Albany" only on back (not pictured). The tag was found in area of that line which ran eastward and became a component of the main N.Y.C.R.R. (later adding Hudson River). If the A&B name was kept in use as one of the subsidiaries, then in time Albany could be a destination for some dedicated regular traffic or shipments (or the name of the shipper..think of embossed names on milk cans before all that info. went onto the paper tags in later days). We don't know yet what WAY was, but West Albany became a major yard/shop/office complex. The lack of numbers may simply be related to the method of tracking in an earlier era, but the system of tags may have lasted from metal on through to paper tags fixed by wire. For milk, as an example, by the time of paper both the shipper and processor were named on the tags which probably cut down on the need for embossed cans as you knew who it had to go back to. Not to say these tags are specifically milk, but something of the same idea. As we only have bits and pieces so far, it's definitely non-conclusive. Posted Monday, March 30, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Also should point out, with the info. from Mark S. this tag could be from the original NYCRR, making it very old. Yes, the holes on the other tag leave a lot of questions along with that break or slit across the top left side. Posted Monday, March 30, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. This is a real learning experience. Thankyou. This is what I enjoy about the metal detecting hobby. Not just finding items but learning about them. Learned a lot about RR history from the other tags I found. This one is topping them. For as much as is known it appears there is still a lot of unknown. Wish I could add something more to the discussion. The location of the find was about 15 miles SW of Attica, NY.  Posted Monday, March 30, 2020 by Mark S

A. The A&B alignment was used for about 10 years before the route was shifted. The old alignment was sold off to Erie-related predecessors and changed to wide gauge. A&B in name (the corporate shell) had gone into another merger company which was itself folded into the NYCentral parent. Of course, legal names sometimes survive the original useage (as a road) to be held for other reasons beyond a public face (equipment trusts, etc.). The locations of both found tags seem to be close to the original operating territory and may point to that early era. How Albany or West Albany might tie in would take some deep research unless someone is a real hound of Central history with quick answers. And another question comes to mind..Did they use the term "Waycar" as a norm in this region & for that era? Posted Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3729 Mystery Plate  I am wondering about this brass plate that I bought on eBay a few years ago. It measures approximately 8 in. x 4 in. x 1/4 in. It is basically flat although it does have a very slight warp from the bottom left corner to the top right corner. There is one drop of overflow paint on the back and it appears to be Tuscan red. I have no idea what it came from. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Pete   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This (Link 1) mentions the blowers in the text along with the other components...something not included in other write-ups. "Energized" kind of screams electric. Tuscan red sound like Pennsylvania. So GG1 might be something to look into. Link 1  Posted Thursday, March 19, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Right...almost certainly off an electric locomotive based on 'energized.' And mention of transformers means one using alternating current, either direct from the power supply (as GG-1's did) or converted from direct current on board. All electric (and diesel electric) locomotives must have powerful traction motor blowers (fans) to move the waste heat out and keep the motors and auxiliary componetns from burning up. The blowers are typically among the LOUDEST parts of all-electric locomotives -- the electric motors themselves are almost silent, and the blower noise can be quite annoying. So this plate was on a locomotive where the engineer could shut off the blowers, and obviously if he did that at some times damage would result, hence the plate. I don't think any modern electric locomotive design takes that risk of allowing manual control; all the blowers are now under automatic control. So I suspect this is from an earlier generation unit. PRR had probably 10 different models of electrics in addition to GG-1's and some other lines used AC traction, including some of the interurbans which moved freight, so there are various possibilities to be looked into. The PRR Power book lists all the PRR different electric models but has only one in-cab photo and of a GG-1; no plate is visible in that one pic.  Posted Thursday, March 19, 2020 by RJMc

A. Thank you ShastaRoute and RJMc for your thoughtful comments. I've had the plate for a few years. As I recall, the seller had found it at an antique flea market. The trail went cold at the point. The casting is rather interesting with some of the letters inconsistent and misaligned. I gave the brass letters a light polishing but otherwise left the plate undisturbed. It hangs in my train room in a frame I made from wood and granite. I think it is a pretty interesting piece. I suspect that it is likely off of an early generation electric locomotive. That one drop of paint does suggest the PRR as a possibility. I previously did some GG-1 research and came to the same dead end as RJMc - we likely found the same photo. I'm optimistic that someone on this site might have some additional ideas. I'm grateful for everyone's time and consideration!  Posted Thursday, March 19, 2020 by Pete

A. At this point I suggest no more chemicals come in contact. There are guys who have taken genuine paint samples from equipment of the past. (Pre-war paints could differ from post-war.) It is possible a preserved flake from PRR tuscan has been stashed somewhere and could be compared. Seems like a giant bother, but how many of these plates could exist. The trick is finding the right guy, who hopefully is still alive and kicking. Posted Thursday, March 19, 2020 by ShataRoute

A. What area was the plate found in? Posted Friday, March 20, 2020 by RJMc

A. Another thought: a lot of undergroung mine RR's also used electric locomotives.  Posted Friday, March 20, 2020 by RJMc

A. Also, beginning around 1915 and up thru the mid-1950's, Norfolk and Western and the Virginian Ry. between them had over 300 miles of electrified heavy-duty RR running 11,000 V overhead AC traction, and quite a few electric freight locos. Posted Saturday, March 21, 2020 by RJMc

A. I'm very grateful for the additional comments. The idea of the paint analysis, Shasta Route, is intriguing. As per your recommendation I have no intention of doing any further cleaning or restoration on the plate. I do agree that this could be a rather rare find. I'm sorry, RJMc, but I honestly don't recall where in the United States this plate was found by the seller. Your thoughts on other electric locomotive possibilities is noted and appreciated. Thank you!  Posted Saturday, March 21, 2020 by Pete

 Q3728 Sign Question  I found this cast iron sign next to an old abandoned main line near a rail overpass bridge in Jacksonville, Illinois. Any idea what it might possibly be for? It's obviously not a milepost marker. A lot of railroads had main lines running through the town, including the CB&Q, C.A., N&W, and M.&O., and the sign may have been near the city limits 75 or 100 years ago. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Larry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello Larry, Having retired from a major railroad after 40 yrs,I can tell you that your cast iron sign was more than likely a bridge or culvert inventory marker.These typically had the mile post number and one more digit indicating the tenth of a mile,showing where this structure was located.These would have been consecutive climbing numbers starting at zero from a major terminal or junction point.Lets see who else may have another explanation for you. DJB Posted Friday, March 13, 2020 by DJB

A. If ? You can take this off the mounting post there may be some RR markings on the inside this is a nice find  Posted Sunday, March 15, 2020 by Santafeboy

A. As Larry discusses above, I also strongly suspect the marker indicates 215.5 miles from somewhere. That same numbering method was used for signal ID number plates also, so similar numbers would show up on block signals in that vicinity. Using Bing Maps 'measure distance' it is easy to see that Jacksonville is 190 air line miles from Chicago, 215 miles from Indianapolis, and about 215 from Kansas CIty. Any of those are good candidates for the zero point on their mile marker series. It should be fairly easy to determine which RR's mileposts hit 215 around Jacksonville.  Posted Sunday, March 15, 2020 by RJMc

A. The Official Guide of the Railways for March, 1945, in the passenger timetable for the Alton Railroad line between Chicago and Kansas City shows Jacksonville, IL at Milepost 215.8 from Chicago. (The Burlington and Wabash MP's for the town are way different.) The remaining question is what the "D" stands for. Since there was a three-way junction in the town, near the Alton depot, I suspect the D may have been for 'diamond' to mark where the intersecting tracks crossed. Diamonds always were (and are) a major high-maintenance fixture in the track and would merit special marking. An Alton track chart would help answer the question but track charts are much harder to come by than the digitized Official Guides.  Posted Sunday, March 15, 2020 by RJMc

A. This is what is commonly known (now that I recall) as a "D Plate" which was associated with a "Distant Signal." See prior Q 3684 which is about a similar "A Plate" but that one did not include any mile info. The D Plate adds specific meanings to the color lights displayed in t the associated signal head. The brackets (barely visible in the pic) attached the D Plate to the signal mast which also carried the light heads.  Posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by RJMc

A. The explanation for the D letter on this cast iron sign does not stand for Distant Signal.The D designation is a relatively new rule from maybe 15-20 years ago and started showing up on railroads and in their rulebooks to denote a fixed signal that functioned as an approach signal to an interlocker location and was mainly used on rail lines that did not have a signal system in use such as ABS,APB or CTC.The D signal was used on the mast of the these signals without an accompanying mile board number plate.I worked in the signal department and was governed by the GCOR which was used by several Midwest railroads jointly. Going back to the original cast iron sign in question,on a railroad that had lines that ran parallel for some distance after leaving a common zero mileboard starting location,they would place a letter ahead of or over the mile on the number plate that designated a particular subdivision, to eliminate confusion from having another identical milepost and tenth appearing elsewhere on the same railroad.I hope I am not confusing people,but having worked for a major railroad that used letters on some mileposts,that most likely explains the D on this sign. Comments ? DJB Posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by DJB

A. Thank all of you so much for sharing your expertise with me as I have had this cast iron sign for a many years and no one at any of the railroad shows around Chicago were able to give me any information about it. I was unable to get the sign off the post, as it is rusty and wouldn't budge (however, I had mentioned it to my dad and one of the plumbers at the KC's lent him a big pipe cutter and he presented the sign to me the next time I cam to visit), so I doubt if I would be able to get the sign off the post to look for markings. The milepost tenth of a mile as the fourth digit on the milepost marker seems to make a lot of sense, as well as the letter D indicating the division to distinguish a duplicate mile post marker. An old map of the C&A railroad shows one main line going south to Saint Louis from Bloomington, Illinois, and another going southwest from Bloomington, Illinois to Kansas City (this one goes through Jacksonville, Illinois), so the theory about duplicate mile post markers on different main lines of the same railroad appears to be right on point. The Alton Route passenger timetable showing Jacksonville at milepost 215.8 was a great supporting piece of evidence to indicate the sign is a milepost marker. Thanks again, you guys are the best!! Posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by Larry

A. I also sorted thru some of those possibilities. See Q 2896 on here where we deciphered "C's" and 'M's' on some other mile marker signs. Possibly coincidentally, those were off the B&O, which had a strong influence on practices on the Alton Railroad at the time period when a cast iron sign like this would have been installed. But there would be no reason to have a milepost accurate to one tenth of a mile unless something else very particular went on there. And the facts point to something signal-system related, where the four-digit system was most entrenched. I am trying to find an Alton employee timetable for a definitive answer to this.  Posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by RJMc

A. See the Link (also at: ) for an OUTSTANDING collection of the signal sections of well over 100 (one hundred !!!) RR rulebooks, ranging from current back into the 1880's. This is part of a Railran Guide by Todd Sestero. Having gone thru many of them, and any I thought might relate to the Alton, the successor GM&O, or others such as B&O, the only signals that commonly have a 'D' as part of the indication were/are 'Detector' signals. Before train radios became common, a detector signal changed indications to alert an approaching crew that a wayside detector, usually a mile or more back, had detected a defect that required the crew to stop and nspect their train. Such detectors appear to have been in use by 1940 or earlier, so it is possible the Alton was using a Detector signal at Jacksonville, Il. at a time when cast iron plates were in vogue. We still need to get an Alton employee timetable or maybe a track chart (or better yet, an employee who operated on the line in those time periods or shortly thereafter) to be sure.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by RJMc

A. About the right distance from Jacksonville to Des Moines if a line ran between Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by hvcoll

A. Silly question...if it is mileage then where is the decimal or why is the fourth number not in half-sized superscript? Posted Monday, March 30, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3727 More Key IDs?  Here are the next three keys that I want to ID. The first two are simply C RR. There are many possibilities but hopefully someone will have an answer. The CE&W RY is a real mystery to me. I can find absolutely nothing with those initials. It's an old A&W hex key. I've had it for many years and have shown it to other collectors, but no one knows. Hopefully some one does.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Joseph Gross's Trolley and Interurban Directory shows the Cleveland, Elyria, & Western Ry electric interban being incorporated in Ohio in 1901 with 93 miles of track and being combined into the Cleveland Southwestern interurban system in 1902. I have a CSW&C(olumbus) key to the same pattern which also appears to be an Adlake hex, but it appears smaller than yours. A later CS Ry and Light lock uses a larger Adlake key, but with the bit on the other side of the key barrel. On the trolley and interurban side alone, Gross lists more than 10 CRR 's and another 20 or so CRy's.  Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 by RJMc

A. A resource you may not be aware of is Google Books (not "Google"), which is a compendium of scanned in antique catalogs, reference books, directories, etc. Try searching on Link 1. It won't help with key cuts, but it will get you names for initials. I immediately found a number of references to the CE&W and history about it and its branches in an antique "Railway Journal." As RJMc says, there are dozens of potential CRR possibilities. A key with an identical bit cut to your first one sold on Railroad Memories a while ago, unfortunately with no railroad identification (Link 2). My experience tells me "RR" and "RY" often were used interchangeably, although more often than not "RY" likely turns out to be an interurban or trolley. And that "CO" can many times mean a non-RR company that bought a 'railroad grade' lock set to use for their business, which may have 'suspicious' initials suggestive of a rail line, but it was not.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, March 14, 2020 by JMS

 Q3726 Cast Iron RR Pot Lamp  I acquired a cast iron pot w/ a screw top funnel and a rope wick with the raised markings: Santa Fe Route NO 5973. It's about 7 inches tall and about 4.5 inches diameter at bottom. Very heavy and solid Can you provide any info on this little beast? Thanks.  Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by Mark D.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A photo would help here. It sounds like you have a torch or a smudge pot. Check Q 2693 and Q 2510 in the Search By Question Number for more information. Is it round shaped like a ball or cylindrical?  Posted Thursday, March 5, 2020 by KM

 Q3725 Lantern Question  I bought a old lantern years ago -- a Handlan Wabash RR with a twist off font. It came with a short simplex handle burner. I have 2 questions: Did this lantern come with that burner or should it have another burner in it. Of course there is no opening for a drop in burner, long handle? My other question is: Did Handlan make a twist off font like this one shown in my picture? If so is this a rare lantern. I haven't seen any other one like this. Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by D   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link is to one of the 1918 Handlan catalog pages in the archives here on the RRiana Site. The Link shows the details of the font and twist-off base for the No. 176 lantern, which look to be the same as yours. I also have a lantern marked "The Handlan" on top (their quotation marks stamped into the top!) from the N.W. Pacific which has the same font arrangement; apparently it was pretty typical for Handlan. Further down in the 1918 catalog pages they have the No. 113 lantern, which they state to be the same body as the No. 176, but with batteries and an electric bulb fitted in place of the oil burner assy.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, March 5, 2020 by RJMc

A. The additional Link below shows the several pages in the 1918 catalog in the archives on this site. In 1918 Handlan offered lanterns with model nos. from 174 to 181, all generally similar to the 176, but the different model nos. came with different burner and wick raiser options but all using the twistoff base principle.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 7, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3724 Steam Whistle  I recently purchased a Buckeye Brassworks Dayton O. steam whistle. It is stamped with that name. Is there any way to tell if it is from a steam locomotive or something like a steam tractor or industrial steam engine? Based on the name and design, can you tell how old it is? I know the company was also known as the Buckeye Brass and Ironworks at one point. It has a brass lever to activate the whistle. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by Mark   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is hard to tell what size the whistle is from your photos. Take another picture and place a ruler or something else that gives us an idea of the size. Also measure the size of the steam inlet pipe on the bottom.  Posted Thursday, March 5, 2020 by KM

A. Here are new photos with measurements. Link 1  Posted Monday, March 9, 2020 by Mark

A. Thank you for sending in the photos. My opinion is that at 2.5 inches the whistle diameter is smaller than those used on locomotives. After looking at many photos of locos from around 1880 to 1890 the whistles appear to be larger diameter and many have multiple chimes. Your whistle is a single chime and the valve lever has that curved shape. Locomotive whistles usually have a straight valve lever which can be pulled by a rope which extends back into the cab and the rope is horizontal to the boiler top. My thought is that with the curved lever the mechanical advantage would be for the rope to pull straight down, and that makes me think that along with the small diameter, single chime and the curved lever that this whistle might have come from a building. But as I said, this is only my opinion and hopefully others will offer their thoughts. My experience is with locomotives that were built after WW1.  Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by KM

A.  I have also attended about a dozen steam traction and hit or miss engine shows over the years. Most of the steam traction guys have placed larger whistles on their machines. If a steam tractor sat around the whistle was probably the first thing that got removed so when restoring them whistle replacement is necessary. At one show that I was at a guy had a Nathan five chime steam locomotive whistle on a 120 year old traction engine and the whistle was probably at least 70 years younger than the machine.  Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by KM

A. tvrm349 Post subject: Re: Trying to identify steam whistle I inherited Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:37 am Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:07 am Posts: 32 "The whistle is definitely a Buckeye single note, made by the Buckeye Brass Works of Dayton, OH." "The most common of all single note whistles, literally thousands were made, applied to steam traction engines, portable steam engines, stationary boilers, etc." This is a post from 2016 in Railway Preservation News, Interchange Forum. There is a lot of discussion there about the difficulty in identification of whistles. The photos of the whistle in that question appear to be identical to yours, but the Buckeye name on that whistle may have been polished off at some time.  Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by KM

A. Thank you for your response. I appreciate all the information. I know of another person with the same whistle. I will make sure he knows about this posting.  Posted Friday, March 20, 2020 by Mark

 Q3723 Key IDs Wanted  I've been collecting various railroad keys for over 40 years and during this time I've acquired quite a few that I have never been able to positively Identify. So I thought I would give your site a try. I'm trying 3 at a time starting with the letter A and moving through the alphabet. Now some might not be legitimate or railroad. If that is the case by all means let me know, although most are marked RR or RY. the first ASFCO is a Loffelholz, and I find no railroad with those initials. The back is marked Loffelholz and has a Milwaukee Road bit cut. The B&A has numerous possibilities but I can delete two of them: Boston and Albany and Bangor and Aroostock. The B&R is a straight Slaymaker and the only 2 roads listed on this site's database are Bennington and Rutland and Buffalo and Rochester. Both pre-date this key by many years. Now I can speculate or guess what they are so I'm really hoping for definitive answers. I thank anyone who can help me and will post 3 more keys soon.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hopefully someone will recognize one of these. But I am puzzled how you can eliminate any particular road, since just about every RR I have run into had more than one key in use for all the different functions: differenct divisions, switch keys, rip track, MoW, signal, and all usually had different bits, sometimes but not always with more ID for the less common uses, but almost all marked with the RR initials. Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 by RJMc

A. RJMc You do have a good point. there are different cut keys for various departments where a key other than a switch key is used. also some roads when they merged with another road kept using the absorbed roads switch key bit style but marked for the absorbing roads initials. So you are correct I'm probably assuming too much without concrete evidence when I eliminate a road from an unknown (to me) switch key. thanks for your input now I just hope I get positive Input for an ID. Jim Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Jim

A.  Have you thought about large companies that are not railroads, or that might have their own private plant railroad? What I am thinking about for ASF Co. is American Steel Foundry Co. which was in Granite City,Il near Saint Louis. I know there was a merger in 1902 and the name may have changed to ASF Companies. The other thing that bothers me about these keys is the lack of pocket wear on them, maybe they were not carried around by employees, just kept in some central location?  Posted Saturday, February 29, 2020 by KM

A. KM, Yes I did think the ASF CO key could possibly be non Railroad and did state in original question. American Steel Foundry could very well be where the key is from. I know that at times they receive train load of Iron ore from Minnesota and other areas. Possibly they had large yards for receiving these trains with their own switch locks and keys. As for lack of pocket wear. they could have been an employees spare key or new old stock and never issued out.Either way I do like pocket worn keys but that isn't always possible. thanks for your input. jim Posted Saturday, February 29, 2020 by Jim

A. It's difficult trying to identify a key seeing only one side of the bit cut - pics of both sides would give a much better opportunity. Indeed, Bangor & Aroostook used BAR, with no ampersand. And the B&R key is far too new to be Bennington & Rutland or Buffalo & Rochester. It is "possible" the B&A key could be Boston & Albany but it would have to be a "different" cut that hasn't been identified yet (?). Per a recent Key Lock & Lantern article (I believe that's where I saw it), Slaymaker in particular is known to have produced "overruns," legitimate RR-ordered keys that ended up being NOS, ordered but never used.  Posted Saturday, February 29, 2020 by JMS

A. The other B&A that springs to mind is Baltimore & Annapolis but I have yet to find any kind of documentation for what bit cuts were used. Please see Link 1 for an informative history. This line existed during the time period your key was made. It was a large enough line that keys and locks would not be "impossible" (like the Buffalo & Rochester which existed from 1850-1853 ...) With respect, could I make a suggestion for future pictures? - use a neutral color flat surface for the background. Even with enlargements, it's hard to make out bit cuts that "disappear" into complicated backgrounds like fabric. Use a wine cork or something to raise them off the surface of a piece of cardboard, or a similar arrangement.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, March 1, 2020 by JMS

A. JMS, I too thin the B&A is Baltimore and Annapolis seems Ike someone out there might have one and say it is indeed that road. I will use a more neutral background for upcoming photos thanks for your input. Jim Posted Sunday, March 1, 2020 by Jim

A. Jim, thank you -! The most frustrating thing is no RR company records existing to document anything... Re B&R... See Link 1, an Etsy seller is offering a "Bennington & Rutland" key. And Link 2 (Look in "Antiques & Collectibles") ? I bought an identical fake B&R key (he sold and I purchased as fake) for an article I wrote for the Railroadiana Express a few years ago. Looks like he is still in business, mixing authentic keys with "remakes" as he calls them, but no B&R keys offered at present.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, March 2, 2020 by JMS

 Q3722 Feather Pattern?  Here is an odd gravy boat from the Maddock Pottery Works marked Scammell Lamberton China and dating around 1926-30. Western Pacific's patterns are accounted for, but the Feather River Inn appears to be a black hole. Van Noy Interstate (becoming The Interstate Company) is known to have been running the services there. The walls of the dining room were originally decorated in a motif of large single feathers (part of the WPRR heritage). Interstate had ordered other china from the Maddock Works (in DOR by Luckin). Could this be one of the lost patterns of the Inn?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What a terrific piece, wonderful art and surely a keeper! Maybe Larry Paul's hotel research might possibly help (Link 1). Restaurant China Volume 2 (Barbara Conroy)information shows this bottom mark as a Scammell company mark and dates it at 1928-1930. Further info from the book: Thomas Maddock & Sons purchased the Lamberton Works when their City Pottery factory was destroyed by fire in 1921. They formed a separate company, Maddock Pottery Company, Lamberton Works, to operate their newly acquired plant. In 1901, David William Scammell, age 20, was hired as an office boy. He invested his earnings as he advanced in position until by 1921, he was company Vice-President. By 1923 he was the largest stockholder and together with his brothers, offered to purchase the Lamberton Works. The Maddocks eventually agreed and sold the firm and in 1924, the name was changed to the Scammell China Company. I have no information about the Inn, but this history would seem to me that this bottom marking is purely Scammell and not connected with any Interstate orders from Maddock, which would have happened before the Scammell Company's creation in 1924.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by JMS

A. Thanks for looking. Note 1: Larry is always scanning. This one has gone into his files, but it remains something undocumented..possibly no other parts of the set have yet surfaced to raise any eyebrows. Conroy has become a bit outdated, and Larry has revised the early use of this backstamp to circa 1926. Note 2: The driving force behind what became Interstate News Company, then became President of Van Noy Interstate (later just Interstate). The Van Noy's were going bye-bye with time. The Feather River Inn would have been an upscale destination, so common eating house patterns would have been unlikely. But going with a custom maker you already had a relationship with would make sense. And so.... Note 3: The Thomas Maddock & Son(s) fire (above) was in the early 1890's. The new Maddock Pottery Company's 1890's factory, aka Maddock Pottery Works (or Lamberton Works, if you prefer that) remained in operation continuously until the Scammell brothers bought it. The other part, Thomas Maddock's Sons was in the lucrative sanitary porcelain business (yes, toilets) and the costs from building a new plant in the 1920's is why they sold the Maddock Pottery Works to David et al. Old MPW patterns and shapes were still supplied to existing clients for re-orders, and new patterns and shapes were added. There was no break..same people, same business, same high quality custom work. Note 4: The lone feather does surface on matchbooks (later era when highways came in) for the inn..but clutched in the hands of their cute little rodent mascot. Not much pops up for the strictly rail era. The early dining room photo is we have a big clue there. My own resources on Western Pacific are somewhat limited, but perhaps a collector out there may have found some early material on the inn. The lack of user or supplier marks is not too odd for pieces with small bases or on re-orders from older existing patterns. Maybe plates or bowls might show more. Posted Monday, March 2, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3721 Lantern Burner Standards?  I wanted to find out from the experts what pots and burners were used in the Adlake lanterns. Most I have seen from photos have fuel pots marked with Adlake letters that match either the top of the lantern markings (Adlake) or the bottom or in other words were some what of a match. Recently I saw an Adlake lantern with an Armspear burner, and I wanted to find out if interchanging of burners with lamp manufacturers was common. I also saw a fellow with an Adlake lantern with a Handlan burner. What I wanted to get an idea on was how common was it for Adlake lanterns to come up with other burners and maybe a reference to go to when I see a lamp manufacturer with a different burner than the lamp housing. It seems parts were very interchangeable and this really can add to the confusion. Lastly did Dressel lanterns always have Dressel burners/pots marked Dressel? Thanks for the time and rules of thumb would be great to start with.  Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Ed F   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. When RR's bought new lanterns and signal lamps -- sometimes by the thousands -- they would almost certainly be delivered with burners provided and marked by the original supplier. But RR's beginning even in the 1880's formed the American Railroad Association (ARA) which turned into the Association of American RR's (AAR) and those organizations had and have many technical committees with representatives from all the various RR's and also from suppliers. Standardization of various parts --including rolling stock, track parts, and auxiliary items such as lamps and lanterns, and much else -- is a main objective of those committees. This work insures that the parts meet the harsh requirements of service on the RR's, and insures interchangeability of parts between units from the different suppliers. This encourages competition, minimizes spare parts inventories, and keeps the costs down for the RR's. So once items are placed in service, 'mix and match' of components is very, very common.  Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. Thank you for such a quick response.I am a pure novice and trying to tie it all together. It certainly helps explain why I was seeing different burners and pots on manufactures. Wanted to run three combinations by the experts I have recently seen when viewing lanterns in collections trying to learn or for sale. The mix and match I have seen recently are listed below. Please let me know what combinations you see as legit or in other words would make sense. Tried to list the most recent. 1. An Armspeare 1925 lantern with an Armspeare burner and wick adjuster on a NO.300 Kero pot. 2. Dressel lantern with a NO.300 Kero pot/burner/wick adjuster 3. An Adlake 4-63 Lantern with a Handlan burner/fuel pot and circular marked Handlan wick adjuster. Comments much appreciated. It seems like the NO 300 Kero pot was quite popular and I assume was used in all Adlake lamps even those listed as the 250 or 100 series?? Lastly are there any combinations that would never occur or is it just wide open on mix and match as originally stated in response to my post. Again many thanks for the opportunity to get some answers on a very complicated part of history...the railroads! Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 by ED

A.  In the Search Archived Q&A's by question number check out #2168 and also check in the Home Page item "Lanterns" and then the item for "Lantern Oddities".  Posted Thursday, February 27, 2020 by KM

A. Railroad companies for almost the entire existence of the industry have been VERY "low margin" businesses. That means usually almost, if not actually, bankrupt. Under these conditions new equipment (with matched parts) and replacement parts for the equipment in hand have often been non-existent. When you are out in some field, in the rain or snow, trying to do the job, there are NO limits on what might get put together, even if it takes hammering things to get them to almost fit. And often in railroading a lot of mechanically very smart people have had time on their hands. So mixing and matching parts of various things, and getting them to work afterwards, rates as almost a contact sport and challenging entertainment for railroaders. I can say with a fair degree of assurance: if the parts can be put together, and preferably made to work together, somebody on some railroad has done it. There is no stigma attached to parts that have mingled if function is maintained. It is much more the case that there may be bonus points if all the parts are original.  Posted Monday, March 2, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3720 Brass Luggage Tag  The Wilkes Heritage Museum has a brass luggage tag from the Southern Railway Company. It has no identification numbers on the tag so I was wondering if it was used to send items between the railway company and not used on individual luggage. Is this correct?  Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by MP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Especially since your tag has no identification number, it would be a tremendous help if you would post a picture of it. As you suspect, railroad operations had several types of metal tags made. A luggage/baggage tag given to a passenger as a claim check to retrieve an article would have an identification number stamped in it. They were made in pairs, and one would be attached to the item, the other given to the passenger to prove ownership when claimed. If you aren't sure how to submit a photo, use "Email a question" to the webmaster with an attachment. Thanks ! Would love to see it. Posted Saturday, February 15, 2020 by JMS

A. Please post a picture ?  Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by JMS

 Q3719 RR Candle Lantern?  It has been a while since I last posted about this candle lamp I found in my possession - [Question 3605]. I was looking at the lantern again today and discovered something I should have seen before. On the back door of the lantern there is a piece of purple glass stored in a slot. I was able to remove the purple glass from the compartment. It is the perfect size to slide down in a compartment on the front of the lantern behind the clear glass. In previous posts I pointed out that the side hinged doors on the right and left side reveal a green glass panel on one side and a red glass panel on the other. I have attached 2 pictures - one showing the purple glass in the compartment at the rear of the lantern and one showing the purple glass in position on the front of the lantern. I don't know if this would help anyone to further identify this lantern as to what kind it is, but I hope it will help shed some light. I appreciate any comments on the identity of this lantern. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 9, 2020 by WJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. On reflection (pun somewhat intended) that purple panel makes the darkroom application even more likely, with the side panels fairly obviously designed to totally shut off any light leakage from the unselected sides of the lamp. The different kinds of emulsions used for glass plate negatives, printing papers, and later films (all to produce black-and-white or sepia monochrome images) respond to different light colors and correspondingly DON't respond to selected colors -- such as the colors in this lamp.  Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 by RJMc

A. This is a German carbide railroad lamp minus the water/carbide reservoir. WWII versions are marked on the back of the reservoir with a Waffin Mark, later versions are marked with a winged railraod wheel DB(Deutch Bundesbahn}. KFK Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 by KFK

A. Correction to previous post misspelled-should be "Waffen" Mark. Also, adjustments on German carbide lamps on top behind curved vent-maybe an earlier version with adjustments on inside of lamp. Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by KFK

 Q3718 Diameter of Lamp Wick  I have just acquired an Adlake #1112 switch lantern. It is missing the glass chimney and the wick. I found the glass chimney on the W. T. Kirkman web site but I am not sure of the diameter of the wick that I would need to return the lantern to full functionality. If anyone could let me know the diameter, it would be very helpful. Thanks in advance. Best regards, Posted Saturday, February 8, 2020 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link is to the archives here on the RRiana site where the Adlake catalog materials are available. The document at the Link discusses (with dimensions) almost every type of burner imaginable for use in Adlake lamps and spends a couple of pages extolling their special round center core wicks. But they never give the diameter, just their part no. for the wick. Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 8, 2020 by RJMc

A. Go back and ask Woody Kirkman via email or send ADLAKE an email, they have a web site. I think they'll help you out. Posted Sunday, February 9, 2020 by LC

A. If you take the burner to a good hardware store or camping supplies store that has kerosene lantern wick for sale (I checked, and even WalMart sells wick!) you should be able to fit the burner with a correct size. It's not rocket science - the edges of the wick should not crowd the burner, and thickness should roll through it readily. Wicks are made in several standard sizes.  Posted Saturday, February 15, 2020 by JMS

 Q3717 MKT Cast Iron SIgn  Have cast iron sign. Does anyone have any information about such item? Regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by Mark   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a "Trust Plate" which would have been fastened to the side of a piece of rolling stock to indicate that the Repulic Bank loaned the money to buy the equipment to the MKT RR, sometime around 1956. The physical plates on the car was evidence of the bank's security interest until the loan was repaid. See prior Q's here on the site: nos. 3361, 3332, and several other earlier ones mentioned in those first two, for a lot of discussion about trust plates. As mentioned in those earlier answers, a major RR such as the MKT in any given year might have financed millions of dollars to acquire hundreds or thousands of pieces of rolling stock, each of which would have carried a plate such as yours on each side. So they are not uncommon.  Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by RJMc

A. The Katy Railroad Historical Society (see Link) might be able to give you more details about what equipment MKT bought with the proceeds of "Series 1956" loans. Or there are several libraries with collections of MKT documtmens, including Annual Reports for the 1956 time period, but none of the actual documents seem to be available online.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3716 Sign Help Needed  On this website the oval 15 inch Stop, Look, Listen signs are said to be fakes. I recently came across an 18 3/4 inch by 14 1/8 inch oval Stop, Look ,Listen sign. Is this sign just a larger version of the 15 inch fake? Other than the size difference the 2 signs are somewhat different being that the larger sign has a number cast onto it in between the words look and listen. This number does look a little crooked. Was this sign in any size ever used on an actual railroad or are they all fantasy pieces? Thank you in advance for all help answering these questions.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by DBN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am looking at a similar sign in the same size as yours (18+ inches wide x 14+ inches high). The one I have is authentic to the Western Maryland Ry. and probably served there on a back-country road crossing from about 1910 -- when the RR was built -- until the 1960's. I recovered it in pieces from thick weeds after the track had been removed. However, the letter font on mine is much plainer than the one you have (all the sides of the letters are straight) and it does not have a mold number. The hole pattern in your sign is consistent with having been mounted at a crossing. Knowing how much RR practices varied, I would never say that 'ALL 15" signs are fake' but most of them seen for sale today may well be reproductions (many in cast aluminum rather than cast iron), and more and more seem to be reproduced. Cast iron signs are very easily made in quantity in almost any foundry using an original sign as the pattern. This makes it almost impossible to tell ones which have actually seen RR service from reproductions, without knowing verified history for a particular sign. Unfortunately, our latter-day reproducers are now even adding details such as mounting holes, and some are even shooting bullet holes into their reproductions in additon to the applied weathering.  Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. Being painted all white it would be hard to read it at distance so the paint job certainly isn't authentic. Most are white background and black letters. Posted Sunday, January 26, 2020 by LC

A. I was presuming that any paint had been sandblasted off; the grayish paint on there looks like primer applied later. The WM signs had black painted letters for 'stop' and 'listen' and red painted letters for 'look' on a bright white painted background. As to sizes which may have been used, standardization of signs at grade crossings began even earlier than 1927. The various state highway departments and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) all played a part in setting and enforcing the standards -- which often controlled who was stuck with liability after a grade crossing collision -- a major cost factor for the RR's. See prior Q's 3067, 2284. and 1324 about grade crossing signs. I went back and checked two of the landmark documents concerning standard highway signs, one from 1927 and one from 1935. Neither one addressed oval signs such as we are considering, only crossbucks and round advance warning signs which they were attempting to make very, very standard, nationally, even then. I suspect most RR's that had used the oval signs just added crossbucks to the poles, and left the cast iron signs in place as additonal protection.  Link 1  Posted Monday, January 27, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3715 Inspector's Lantern?  We inhereited this copper/brass lantern singed Joseph Ratcliff & Sons Birmingham. I’ve been researching but really having a hard time deciding if it is a railroad lamp or not. Can you help? Thank you so much,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, January 24, 2020 by Patrice   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Not a railroad/railway lamp but possibly maritime. Made in Birmingham, England. Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by JAJ

A.  See Q 3708 for information about lantern and lamp manufacturers from Birmingham,UK. The list that shows maker marks says that the Ratcliff family was in the copper and brass forming business since 1842. Your lamp appears to be a candle lamp and not oil fired with a burner and tank and that may help date it. The sides and back of the lamp are not painted and it may have been placed into an alcove or nook in a wall on a boat. You may want to contact the Central Public Library in Birmingham and ask them for help with your research.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 1, 2020 by KM

 Q3714 Question on Keystone Casey Lantern  One of my Keystone Casey lanterns has an etched globe with the PRR Keystone logo. I am always suspicious of etched globes and suspect this was the handiwork of some shady antique dealer. Regardless however I am inquiring as to if there is any known history of Casey globes such as this one? Thank you for any information you can offer.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2020 by Alan   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The good group Key Lock & Lantern did globe surveys some years ago and reports that the Pennsylvania Railroad did use Keystone Casey lanterns. Also, the PRR did have 5-3/8" clear globes etched PRR in a keystone (See the list, link 1). Also reported in this design were clear cast, red cast, blue etched and red etched globes. If I'm not mistaken, Casey lanterns will accept any of the 5-3/8 - 5-1/2 inch globes (somebody correct me if I am wrong?). That said, simply because of its size, the great big keystone does tend to make one wonder if it is fake, but I am not familiar enough with PRR to know. And fake etching is always possible.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2020 by JMS

 Q3713 Lantern Help Needed  I have an Adlake railroad lantern that I came across while visiting Tower, Minnesota many years ago. The cap says DM&I RR. Is the identification indicating Duluth Missabe & Iron Range? The single 'I' makes me question whether it would be Iron Range. It also has a bulb in it with wiring. Thank you for any help or info you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by Alana   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Possible explanation--Officially the DM&IR Railway, so the RR here is not for Railroad....just a spacing error. Another sample might read "DM&IR Ry.", with the small y left out on yours but the period is there. Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Try Q2285 if you need any more confusion. Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. The lantern is marked for the Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway Company - no doubt about it. An Adlake worker just accidentally left off the last "Y" when making up the stamping die, is all. These lanterns are industrial artifacts made to a price and so production was fast and quality assurance probably minimal. Several ones I have are just stamped DM&IR. Others are stamped DM&IR RY. As for the light bulb, it is a later addition by someone trying to make the lantern into a table lamp or porch light; it is nothing the railroad did.  Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 by JEM

A. After doing some digging, I found out the lantern is from a resort outside of Tower, MN. It was used on an old wooden bridge that joined mainland to a small island to mark the channel for boats. The owner of the resort electrified one red and one green. Turns out to be a good piece of lake memorabilia. Thanks for all the info.  Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 by Alana

 Q3712 PRR Dietz '999' Lanterns?  Did the PRR (Pennsylvania Railroad) use the Dietz '999' lantern? Are they rare?  Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by JFR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Not rare if marked for the NY Central or not marked for any Rail Road. Others may be rare depending on which Rail Road they're marked for. See Link 1 Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 18, 2020 by LC

 Q3711 Car ID?  From a recovered copy of the 1912-13 'Oregana' (University of Oregon) yearbook. Alleged to be Glee Club boarding train in Eugene for points south in Oregon on Southern Pacific's O&C Siskiyou Line/Shasta Route. Letterboards read 'Oregon & Washington'. Can we identify the car class and likely origin...Pullman? (Image is referred to in Q.3595)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I had almost concluded the internet would be useless when I finally stumbled over this (**commercial**) site and a discourse on the C-4 class of cars built by Pullman in 1909-12 (Link 1). They mentioned the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co., but not the earlier 1906-11 Oregon and Washington Railroad Company [O&W RR Co.]. However, Wikipedia had a 1910 ad for these Pullman-Harriman Steel Coaches with the correct O&W RR lettering and thence UP and SP logos overlaid. [The Shasta Limited is mentioned in the ad.] UP had an equipment purchasing pool for all the Harriman component roads, but O&W was a wholly owned entity capitalized at $1 million and kept under tight control off the equities markets. But it does appear from this photo that the equipment and services may have been shared over some portion of the Espee lines south of Portland prior to the Federal order to break up the conglomerate. Some later (P-6 Pacific) engines ordered for O&W and assigned numbers apparently arrived with numbers for another component road. O&W was gone (into O-W RR &N) completely by February 1911, but re-painting cars might have been slower. I did not locate car numbers for O&W Harrimans. Rail service on the northern end [Portland-Seattle] starts around 1909, and the Shasta Limited was put on display in 1910-or-11 at what was then called the Oregon and Washington Station ( a newspaper article was cited). I can't say if any of the Harriman cars were cut-in for a portion of the routing or if any ran through the Oregon section. O&W was running three trains over the short portion. Of course, I found all of this without any hard paper references in hand so errors are possible at this point. Link 1  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. A modeler's blog (Link 1) with some background information on these kind of cars. Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 2, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3710 Info on Lantern Marking?  I wonder if you could give me any information on the St. Louis Railway Supplies Manufacturing Company? I have a lantern with that marking on it.  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by GJC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Send in a photo of this lantern. In Barrett's book "The Encyclopedia Of Railroad Lighting" he says that Saint Louis Railway Supply never made any lanterns and there is no other information there. Handlan and Buck were both in Saint Louis and they may have made lanterns for Saint Louis Railway Supply. There is a Handlan or Buck lantern model called the Saint Louis "Pet". So if you can send in a photo perhaps we can identify your lantern and date it. Also, is there any railroad name or patent information on it?  Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 by KM

A. As a reminder....just send any images to the same email address as you sent the question. Send the image as an attachment. Since we don't require a login to access the Q&A Board, we can't allow people to post images themselves because of possible security risks. Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 by Web Editor

A. I have a brass top bell bottom lantern with the St Louis Ry Supply marking on very bottom of the bell. It has all of the features of an MM Buck lantern, so I always presumed that Buck made the lantern for this company (St Louis Ry Supply). Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by BobF

 Q3709 Dual Role 'Featured Item' Badge  Your current 'Featured Item' image of the Spokane Coroner & Northern Pacific Surgeon badge certainly piqued my interest, so I have been looking into it to obtain more context. So far, sketchy references on the Web show a Dr. Frank Witter, M.D., being nominated for election to the office of Spokane county Coroner in the 1900-1910 general time period. Also, the Railway Surgery website [link 1] has a LOT of very interesting discussion about the very lively, not to say vital, field/specialty of Railway Surgery which was undergoing very rapid development nationally during that same time period. An image of another, much more recent NP Surgeon badge is shown on that website. The guy running the site says 'I never saw another Railway Surgeon badge, except from the NP.' It is fairly obvious that the jobs of County Coroner vs. Railway Surgeon might overlap. And I strongly suspect that neither job was full time employment. But the Coroner job has responsibilities well beyond the RR, and the RR had operations well beyond the county limits. The person holding this badge would often be responding to all kinds of emergency situations and holding considerable, but different, authorities at each of them. I suspect the Dr. had this badge made up personally, just so he didn't have to carry around two separate ones!  Posted Sunday, January 5, 2020 by RJMc  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Spokane County Library staff did a wonderful job of checking out the non-RR side of Dr. Frank Witter, M.D.. The badge has to be from 1905 to 1908, apparently his only single term as Coroner. Frank was born in 1861 in Brimfield Massachusetts. From 1909 to 1928 he was a physician under "Essig, Witter & Pope" or "Witter & Pope" in Spokane. He stayed as a physician in Spokane until 1939, moved to Tacoma in 1940 and died there in 1942. We would need Northern Pacific employee timetables to investigate the railroad side of Dr. Witter. Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by RJMc

A. Some further digging turned up the EXCELLENT collection of NP info available online as .pdf documents from the Northern Pacific Railroad Historical Association, including employee timetables from almost all NP divisions from the 1880's to modern times. Each employee timetable, towards the end -- around Page 9 of an 11 page timetable -- lists "Approved Surgeons." The Link is to a 1911 Idaho Division Timetable showing Dr. F.P. Witter at Spokane. The NPRHA material available online is a tremendous resource because they have made the entire historical documents available online.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3708 Lamp/lantern Info?  I want to find more information about this V&R Blakemore Birmingham lantern. It resembles the Wakefield lanterns, but the brass tag reads Blakemore. Not sure if it refers to Birmingham Alabama or Birmingham England. Also not sure if it is military or railroad. Haven't been able to locate any info on Google. Any ideas?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 5, 2020 by JK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I vote for Birmingham,England. It looks very similar to other multi color track walker lamps that were used by railways in Britain and also elsewhere in Europe. Birmingham,UK has always been the location for many manufacturers of brass and sheet metal items. See the following question numbers in the Archives, 3138, 2541, 1712, 1565,1533, 1277, and 428. The link below is from Q1565 and it is a list of brass and metal manufacturers from Birmingham that are pre-1950. V&R Blakemore is not shown on that list so it is possible that your lamp was made after 1950. You might want to contact the Central Public Library in Birmingham,UK and see if they can find information on V&R Blakemore. Link 1  Posted Monday, January 6, 2020 by KM

A.  This lamp also resembles a Henry J. Pratt,Birmingham lamp that I have seen. Pratt is included on the Birmingham list in the link, but I don't see Wakefield there. A possibility is that Wakefield and Blakemore were distributors of lamps that had them manufactured by another company that placed the distributor name on them. Similar to Craftsman tools or Kenmore appliances, Sears never made those, some one else did and placed the Sears brand name on them.  Posted Monday, January 6, 2020 by KM

A. It's definitely British. A Google search brought up a lot of V&R Blakemore information. See Link 1.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, January 9, 2020 by JMS

 Q3707 Builders Plates  I recently acquired two American Locomotive Company builders plates. One is from the Brooks Works numbered 50065 and dated 1911. The other plate is from the Schenectady Works numbered 65626 and dated 1924. I've been trying to identify what railroads and Locomotives they are from but to no success. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 30, 2019 by Steve W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Alco records indicate 65626 is from a Grand Trunk Western 0-8-0 possibly #8308 and 50065 is a Pere Marquette 2-8-0 possibly #906 Posted Monday, December 30, 2019 by COD

A. Thank you very much for the information. Happy New Year.  Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2020 by Steve W

 Q3706 Lantern Info?  I would like to know as much as possible about this lantern. All help will be greatly appreciated. This lantern is stamped the Adams and Westlake company Chicago, New York on the top. I don't see any model number. It has a 1909 patent date and MRR also stamped on it. The globe has no writing on it. Thank you in advance for any and all help identify this lantern.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 29, 2019 by DBN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A very useful feature on this Q&A site is the search feature for railroad names, given the initials. Unlike some references, it includes Canadian and Mexican roads. It is under the Railroadiana Home heading, then look under 'Railroad Names' or use the first link below. The second link shows the answer for RR's or Ry's that might have initials MRR. Unortunately, without credible history for your particular lantern, there is no way to tell which of the over 40 listed RR's your lantern may have come from.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by RJMc

A. Link 2 above did not work to show the results, but just use Link 1 and enter MRR in the "search by initials" box to see the RR's listed.  Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3705 What is This?  Have you ever seen these before? What RR used these? What was the purpose? US&S signal? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by Bill A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a 'switch circuit controller' used by almost any RR that had a signal system, over the many decades that signal systems have existed -- basically since 1900 or so and contnuing today. It sat beside the track and was mechanically connected by linkages to the track switch points -- the movable part of the trak switch that actually controlled the route taken by the train. The electrical switches inside the controller reported the track switch position to the signal system electronics. The electrical switch functions inside the controller are very simple and could be accomplished electrically with a couple of two or three dollar toggle switches. But what you are seeing is an example of the superbly reliable equipment (designated 'vital')required of signal system components, given that they OFTEN controlled life or death functions on the RR's.  Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by RJMc

A. And for the minor part of the question, US&S is Union Switch & Signal (Company). Posted Saturday, January 11, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3704 Purpose of Sign?  I was just wondering what this cast iron sign was used for? I had asked some people, and they said it's supposed to be a slow order sign and was temporary. A guy ran down the tracks and stuck it in the ground. Dimensions are roughly 19 in. by 30 in. Any ideas where it was located? Somebody said to look under a time table but I don’t have a clue where to look? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by Bill A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think you have it partly is a 'Slow Order' sign, but for permanent use. My recollection is that the Western Maryland Ry, for example, placed these near tunnel entrances where there were permanent speed restrictions passing thru the tunnel. WM had quite a few tunnels, and painted the signs black on white similar to yours. Having the permanent sign allowed the train to continue at speed until it actually approached the tunnel, where the slower speed was required. Each different RR determined its own practices regarding kinds, quantities, and applications of signs, and you have to go their employee timetables to be sure of their practices. Many RR's use metal "S" signs (now usually reflectorized) to indicate temporary slow orders, and yes, they are often just quickly stuck into the ground beside the track. But nobody would go casually running along the track carrying your 2 1/2 -foot-wide cast iron sign. Be aware that many RR cast iron signs are now being reproduced since it can be done in almost anybody's foundry, including even some school workshops. Posted Saturday, December 21, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3703 Lamp Info?  I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about this lamp. My Dad gave it to me. It’s was found in West TN.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by KG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This looks like a really lovely wall fixture. I hope you will clean the green tarnish off. From your photos it appears to be a gas fixture. Hopefully others more knowledgeable will come on and give you a better response. SEE Link 1 for a 2018 auction of one of the finest railroad lighting collections, with prices realized. You may find something similar.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 21, 2019 by JMS

A. Thank you. There were some others at that link.  Posted Thursday, January 9, 2020 by KG

 Q3702 Alco Loco Info?  I have a photo of an Alco locomotive #2 at Annapolis Junction, MD taken on 12-2-90. It was working at the time for AJ Inc. and is mostly yellow with black top. The builders plate is as follows: 'American Locomotive Co. General Electric Co. Schenectady New York 69410 January 1941'. I'm looking to find out its model and history. Thanks,  Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by Bill K   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Alco records show this to be a 660hp switcher originally built for the South Buffalo RR Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by COD

 Q3701 Lantern Pot Burner/wick Assembly Removal  I have acquired a CBQ switch lantern with a round pot, but can’t remove the burner/wick assembly from the pot. Does it screw into the pot, or is it just push in? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by KBS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some burners pushed in, and some screwed in. You have the item in your hand and if you can't tell if the burner is pushed in or screwed in, a picture probably won't help. Spray some solvent like Liquid Wrench or Deep Creep on the interface with the pot twice a day and keep trying to loosen it. Be careful of flammable solvent fumes if indoors. As a last resort a little applied torch heat done outdoors might help, but if the pot has old kerosene or some solvent in it - be very careful.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by JEM

A. Thanks-that did the trick Posted Thursday, December 12, 2019 by KBS

 Q3700 Builder's Plate ID?  I have a Baldwin Locomotive Works Builders Plate dated 1944 embossed with a large number 71951 in the center of this 9.25 inch disk. My research has not be able to discover if any locomotive is involved or some other type of engine. Any information you may have regarding this disk would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,  Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by RM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My records show StL&SF #222 DE1000 1000 HP switcher Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by COD

A. Many Thanks for the info and it guided me through the rest of the information I was looking for. FYI, you mentioned it was a DE1000, however when on the site, the build number was identified as a VO-1000. Everything else was correct.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by RBM

A. Early in the steam to diesel transition era, many RR's created their own designations for the various diesel models. The "DE1000" might have been the SLSF's term for what Baldwin labelled a VO1000. Later most RR's just adopted the mfr's model numbers, particularly once diesels began to make run-thru's all over the network and needed to be maintained by other RR's shops.  Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3699 Lamp Questions  I'm looking for some help with an ID on a railroad lamp. My wife found this at an estate sale in USA and thinking of our potential son-in-law Bryan, who loves trains and airplanes, bought it. So, is it an Adlake lamp? If so what time period? I’ve included 2 pics with comments. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 5, 2019 by Martin   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. An Adlake lamp would be stamped "ADLAKE" on the rain cap. This lamp does not look like anything made in America, and the folded over rain cap looks exactly the same as those on the poorly made "railroad" lamps sold and shipped from India, and described on eBay as "decorative" lamps. See Link 1 for one for sale on eBay.  Link 1  Posted Friday, December 6, 2019 by JEM

A. In the first answer, JEM has it right. Looking at the Link above, you can see that these were/are sold now as "decorative" -- meaning not authentic RR -- with electric bulb sockets but with a very light-duty cord and switch certainly NOT suitable for outdoor use. And it does not look like the electric bulb would have lined up with the (too small) lenses. It is also clear that these were (partly) direct copies of other lamps. So whoever did the copying included the square rails on the bottom of the interior, noted in your pic, which would have held the square tank for the kerosene burner if the socket had not been put in the way. The welded-on flat base saved them from having to make several more-complicated parts normally on the base of either a switch lamp or marker lamp.  Posted Saturday, December 7, 2019 by RJMc

A. I'm guessing that the fresnel lenses are inferior to Kopp and Corning lenses as well. Posted Saturday, December 7, 2019 by LC

A. I think the folks have the right idea, but as I see it, you have what I would compare to a Chevy with some Ford parts, some Toyota parts, some Austin Healey parts , some homemade parts, with parts from a Mack truck on the side. You ain`t gonna hurt it , that was done long ago, so do what you want to make it look good, and be happy. Late in the steam years, the lamp shop sometimes use spare parts to keep an old lamp in service, but I do not remember one this modified.  Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 by hvcoll

A. More of these are being sold now, in quantity, by a seller in Rajistan, India, on the web as "used, antique, vintage former Indian Railways, repaired, Adlake style..." Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. RJMc is right on. Check the links below - both are so typical of these India imports. (I disagree with the one claiming his date from 1800s-early 1900s, my guess is they were made closer to the last couple of years). I see more and more of these all the time, and it is sad that they can fool people who are not railroadiana knowledgeable.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, December 15, 2019 by JMS

 Q3698 A&W C.C.C.&St.L. Lantern with Penn. Lines Globe  Forwarding this barn fresh as found Big Four for a third party to get any second insight. First impressions are welcome too. TIA .   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 2, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. First impression is your a lucky guy to have scored it. Second impression is de-rust it, clean, strip that old paint job as it doesn't appear to be original. Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2019 by LC

A. They certainly were lucky. I think the owner's immediate concern was the oddities in the road's period behind the third C, "S. L." instead of "St. L.", and no period after "Ry". The crossover of a Pennsylvania Lines globe seemed odd here, but everything got dumped into PennCentral in the last years...could someone have pulled old stock from storage to send out as supplies in those final days? Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. As I understand it , when the lines merged into Penn Central, it was found that although battery lanterns were the norm , it was still required in the books to have a kerosene lantern available. This is why they scraped up and dug out anything to use , from the prior railroads. Not finding enough to match regulations , new PC lanterns were also purchased. Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by hvcoll

A. Well that would be well into the era of "Safety Orange" paint, even if applied long after the fact of delivery. Since we are concerned with "Railroad" useage rathern than just lantern manufacturer factory floor products, it would seem well worth having as-is photo records kept on-hand before items are stripped bare...if only just for reasons of historical inquiry into real life practices. Posted Saturday, December 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Sorry, but this lantern (and globe) are WAY too old to have anything to do with Penn Central. The CCC&StL (Big Four) and PRR Lines (which stood for PRR Lines WEST of Pittsburg)each served the same multi-state territory. That was bounded by Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnatti, St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. Both RR's had so many main lines and branch lines criss-crossing the territory that I suspect it was a very unusual place where the line of one was more than ten miles from a line of the other, and both had thousands and maybe tens of thousands of employees, and lanterns. So I'm sure it was not unusual, after breaking a globe, to end up with a globe marked for the other road. And this comment applied when those RR's were using those initials -- probably into the 1920's -- as well as later in generations of barns, junk shops,and antique stores in that territory as well as across the nation. That said, it is a nice lantern, but I would assign no significance in particular to the match between the lantern and globe.  Posted Thursday, December 19, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3697 China Bowl ID Needed  I'm wondering if you can help me with a piece of vintage china I found. I thought it might be railroad china. However, I cannot find any reference to an 'SGRR' railroad except for Southwest Gulf in Texas which was incorporated in 2003 and does not appear to have a need for dishes! Does anyone recognize this bowl? It was made by Boch Freres in Europe. So, maybe a European railroad? I've attached a few pictures. I appreciate any help!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 23, 2019 by Juli   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is so different - but I found what I hope is helpful. Just suspicions. The scrolling under the Boch stamped mark surely appears to be Arabic (I wish I could translate it), and I found specific references to the Saudi Government Railroad (see Link 1) Link 2 shows a picture of this same marking and dates it at 1931 - scroll down to find the picture. Boch Freres (freres means brothers) was a Belgian company. In the marking, I tried Google Translate English/Arabic and the number 22 is the same in both languages - so the "upside down" marking in Arabic would be " ___ 22 ___ ". A guess, again. HOWEVER - In no way is this piece American. It appears to be old enough that the pattern would have been discovered in plenty of time to include it in the books about U.S. railroad china. Your bowl is terrific, I would bet it went into someone's pocket or purse on a trip abroad to Arabia - ! Surely there are not many in this country!! Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, November 28, 2019 by JMS

A. Thank you so much, JMS! That helps a lot.  Posted Friday, November 29, 2019 by Juli

A. China collectors prefer a "smoking gun" on logos, but they are often hard to dig up. A past "closed" auction (Link 1) provides some supporting evidence with an altered version of the mark and backstamped as U.S. Army supplied wares sometime after the D-Day occupation in 1944. Though described as a cream earthenware, the photos look like a white vitreous product which would say Boch Brothers had the ability to manufacture at the level demanded for hotel grade quality (what most railroads used). No doubt, you can further eliminate any possibility of a corporate (office etc.) china for the Shade Gap Railroad (see East Broad Top history) as this would make little sense. Perhaps that Saudi logo may soon surface on some paper item. Good Luck! Nice find. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. A 1952 extended article on the new (late 1951) Saudi Government RailRoad (Link 1) wherein the last photo of an Alco RS-1 locomotive is shown with the official emblem of a palm above crossed swords (the common design of the Kingdom). [Note all the postage stamps for the inaugural run must date to this period regardless of what sellers might be claiming. Same class of engines.] Link 1  Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. An added note...until we are certain that the embellishment below the backstamp is in fact an Arabic script, and given the proof that the US Army command did order some china from Boch Freres, I would suggest this could be related to a unit-level military use. More specifically, before the formation of the Armed Forces Recreation Area/Centers in the late '40's, there was a division in the American zone of the Allied Occupation known as something like the South or Southern Germany Rest and Recreation area set up for troops. It was centered on Garmisch in the Alps. This of course would only be one of many possible users on a continent being entirely rebuilt after the war, but it might explain how the piece came to rest across "the pond"..a soldier's souvenir. There already has surfaced a topmarked "US Army" Bavarian made china without any added bottom marks to show who actually ordered it. And we've seen a "so far" unidentified pattern used on military trains out of Bremerhaven prior to German staffing of these duty trains. Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3696 Baggage Tag?  I'm looking for the source of this baggage tag found between Leamington and Wheatley Ontario with a metal detector on my grandmother's farm. The farm is 40 miles or so from the border crossing at Detroit, and a railway ran through the middle of the farm. I believe it was Pere Marquette railway during 1924. The letters on the baggage tag are DTLP then 318 and 1924. I would love it if someone had some information on this mystery. My searches so far haven't come up with much. Thanks for considering this question.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 23, 2019 by Aaron   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior Q 3404 for a lot of info on the Lake Erie and Detroit RR which ran in that area of Ontario before becoming part of Pere Marquette. But so far no relationship to "DTLP". I suspect what you have is a tool marker, valve marker, key tag, or maybe an employee ID tag rather than a baggage tag. It might also be the ID tag which was nailed to a power pole; "LP" often stands for "Light and Power." Most baggage tags didn't need dates, but pole tags usually had dates.  Posted Sunday, November 24, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3695 Pyle Railroad Light Use?  Could you give me information on what this light was used for? And is it an antique? Thank you,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by Sherry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Please send some pix of the interior of the housing. It appears maybe to be a 'Gyralite' that would have been used as a flashing warning light on the front of a locomotive or a cab control car, but hard tell from only the single view.  Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link has a lot of video shots of Chicago Metra commuter trains which have single-beam oscillating headlights on both cab cars and some of their locomotive series. If your light has the motor driven oscillating mechanism inside, that is how it would have been employed. The red paint on your light also matches some of the Metra units.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 20, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3694 PRR Hat Badge  Would you know the year that the Pennsylvania Railroad began using this style cap badge? Thanks in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by David   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3693 Info on Old RR Line?  I'm seeking information in my research about a logging RR in northern WI ca late 1800's to around 1930, called The Roddis Line. It had a geared Heisler locomotive No. 5 with its road name initials on its tender: R L & V C O (Roddis Line & Veneer Company). I'd greatly appreciate whatever you might give me!  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Jim C  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Bill Edson's RR Names book says Roddis LUMBER and Veneer railroad ran from 1908 to 1938, then abandoned. Looking on the web for Roddis Lumber turns up lots of info; apparently after starting with doing their own logging (and railroading) in Wisconsin the co. moved its furniture-building and construction supply business to Texas. (See Link)  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you don't already have it, a copy of "The Roddis Line" by Harvey Huston may help your research. The book was published by the author himself and is copyrighted 1972; Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 78-184838; ISBN 0-9600048-2-3 The book is smaller and has about 140 pages with numerous photos, including at least two of engine #5. I also have a second book by Huston titled "Thunder Lake Narrow Gauge", the story of the last narrow gauge logging railroad in the Midwest, called the Robbins Railroad. This one is copyright 1982.  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by JEM

 Q3692 'BR' Kero Marking  I have come into possession of a Adlake Kero lantern that seems to identify its original railroad owner as 'BR.' While I am fairly sure this does not stand for 'British Railways' or 'Burlington Route,' I don't know what it means. Someone has speculated it's the Bamberger Railroad, an electric line that operated between Salt Lake City and Ogden, but I'm not sure. If anyone has a clue as to the attribution, kindly share your hypothesis with me.  Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2019 by LRB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I'd say with virtual certainty it is Burlington Route. That is a common marking they used in later years. The first lantern I had marked BR made me wonder too....till our family took a vacation around Galena, IL in about 1969. We went near the Mississippi River and crossed the then CB&Q tracks. On some fixture was an Adlake switch lock marked BR that cinched it. Burlington Route. Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by BobF

A. I would agree with BobF, I am 99.44% sure this is Burlington Route (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad). The two links confirm BobF's statement that they used "BN." Link 1 is their Historical Society. Link 2 is a nice history of the CB&Q. It may be possible to date your lantern as some Adlake Keros are date coded. Look on the very bottom of the round "cup" that holds the fount. If there are raised numbers, look for a number that would be stamped in a line around the outer edge of the rim, not the center. You are looking for a number-dash-number, like 1-54 or 4-48 (just examples). The second number is the year and the first is the quarter of that year. So 1-54 would mean it was made during the first quarter of the year 1954; 4-48 is the last quarter of the year 1948. Hoping yours may have the code, some did, some did not.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Oops, sorry, I meant confirming BobF's statement that they used "BR," not BN..... Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Thanks for the clue as to how to find the date of manufacture for the lantern. The numbers say 3-48. Posted Sunday, November 17, 2019 by LRB

 Q3691 Lantern Marking?  I am having difficulties determining what RY line this was. Cant find any information for M&I C RY, just M&I. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, November 11, 2019 by Fran    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Muscatine & Iowa City RY...a very short lived line that became part of the Rock Island in the 'teens. Posted Monday, November 11, 2019 by BobF

A. A very short lived railroad line indeed - 7 1/2 months. I looked for an M & IC railroad in Edson's Railroad Names book, but nothing like it is listed. Wikipedia has an article about the Muscatine and Iowa City - see Link 1. It leased some Rock Island lines effective Jan 1, 1916 and ceased operation August 11, 1916, returning the lines to the Rock Island.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2019 by JEM

 Q3690 Dates on Bottom of Handlan Lantern  I have a lantern probably pre-1930. Do you know which number on the bottom plate of the lantern represents the date? Not knowing how to get to the globe, the visible part is roughly 3 1/2 to 4 inches. From the base to the top of the lantern is about 12 inches. The visible part of the globe shows ICRR on the globe. It is believed that this was my grandfather's. My dad worked with ICRR from 1949-1983. His dad registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. His registration shows he was living at that time in Carbondale, Illinois and was a laborer for ICRR. Not sure when he got the lantern.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 7, 2019 by ER   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. They're just patent dates, not the date the Lantern was manufactured. To get the globe out just lift the top lid up. Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by LC

A. This type of lantern is called a "short globe" because of the glass height. It's almost impossible to date an individual lantern like this. I can't say for sure because I'm not well enough versed in Handlan, but Shorty Globe lanterns were invented around the 1930s so it's very possible your grandpa got it and passed it on to your dad. You can Google the patent dates if you want, but most are for parts and pieces not the lantern itself. Patent dates at least give firm information about the earliest possible date a lantern could have been made.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

A. As LC says to get the globe out, lift the lid - look for the little catch on the underside and squeeze that. Another trick is that when you replace the globe after taking it out, if the lid does not want to shut, try wiggling the glass and make sure the top goes into the inside of the lid when you are closing it. These can be tight fits.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

 Q3689 Strange Badge  I recently came across an odd looking badge and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction to find some history on it. The guy I got it from said he was told it was a 'shop badge' made by the railroad. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Look at the pages in the Railroadiana Library regarding Fakes and Reproductions, Badges. A similar egg shaped hand hammered, poorly lettered badge that says "Tombstone Chief Marshall" is shown in the first photo. My opinion is that this is a fantasy item and was never made or used by a railroad. Most of the railroad shop people that I have known over the years would have been ashamed of the quality if this item.  Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KM

A.  Here is the link to that information about fake badges.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KM

A. KM makes a good point about quality. In order to move up, shop workers had to complete projects that demonstrated their level of skill accomplishments...just like taking shops in school and being graded on your completed work. It is unlikely that a shop foreman would let such a sloppy job go by and actually be would have to be one hell of an emergency situation going on. Most fakers have some pride in their work, so maybe it was a training project gone awry or a very lazy faker? When I come across claims that are a bit "amazing" now, I suggest the seller might want to get that thing authenticated on this site or another, but I don't buy an item with a puffed-up price propped up on a "may be" provenance. I've been stung myself. But if it comes out of a "junk pile" from someone who never bothered to ask questions about it or jack-up the price, then it hurts no one if you take it and start your own line of reasoned conjecture. And some days you'll turn out to be right. Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3688 B&O Marker Lamps  Recently I and a friend procured some B&O Handlan marker lamps with a four bracket, bracket. We bought these over the last year. The design is similar to the B&O Adlake markers with four cast iron brackets on the lamp. Thus, these markers do not turn in a bracket to adjust them. The whole lamp goes into a different bracket. I would like to hear from others who have seen and/or own these Handlan markers. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 2, 2019 by Jeff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3687 Info on Number Plate?  I picked this up from an estate. any info on the locomotive it came from would be much appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 2, 2019 by SD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3686 Plate Authenticity?  Just wondering if anyone was aware of this particular plate being reproduced? I have had one for 30+ years. Saw one recently on an auction site and another recently showed up on e__y.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 28, 2019 by GJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What about the idea that the person who bought it at the auction is reselling it now , hoping to make a few bucks ?  Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by COD

A. Seller has had their plate for a while and nicks and dings are different... Posted Thursday, October 31, 2019 by gj

A. every engine had two. One on each side. Posted Sunday, November 3, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

A. That part of it I understand. That is why I was inquiring if anyone knew of these being reproduced somewhere along the way... Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by GJ

A. GJ asked a simple Yes or No question and he as well as I are still waiting for an answer from anyone who knows. Possible answers = Yes it's being reproduced, No its not being reproduced". Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by LC

A. I hope I can provide a workable response - If the one GJ saw on the auction site is different than the one he saw recently on e_y, and he still has the one he's had for 30+ years, then indeed they ARE being reproduced because, as ExSouRy pointed out, only two per engine were made. With a third one shyowing up, one of them has to be a repro! Sometimes auction buyers will resell on e_y but if the nicks, dings and other things were different in the e_y listing than the one in the auction pictures, then clearly there ARE three of them.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

A. No one so far has identified what locomotive rec'd this plate. Altho the records exist, I don't have them. The builder's plate is far more likely to have been reproduced if the engine survived and/or ended up 'famous' in museum or excursion service. Of course no guarantees either way, but an indicator.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. NYC 0-8-0 #678 Posted Saturday, November 9, 2019 by gj

 Q3685 RR Lock?  I have an Adlake lock Pat#2040482 marked NNG...Is this a RR Lock?? If yes what is the name of the railroad??? Many thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, October 24, 2019 by MH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sorry - I don't believe it is railroad. The patent (see link 1)has nothing to do with railroads, as it is was awarded to Adlake for this new type of padlock "with shackles hinged on the case with devices for securing both ends of the shackle." I see the vast majority of these locks carrying that same patent, regardless of RR markings. Also, utility companies bought many of this type of lock. I am wondering if the stamping might be N____ Natural Gas as these locks can date into the 1950s-1960s (Correct me, someone if that's not right).  Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by JMS

A. There are several web sites where you can enter any set of initials and get listings of what they MIGHT mean. As JMS suggests, NNG among many other non-railroad things comes up with Northern Natural Gas of Omaha, NE. Sometimes the utility companies also had in-house railroads and/or rail terminal facilities; the legacy of the interurbans and the electric companies have many, many examples.  Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by RJMc

A.  Note that patent number 2040482 was issued in 1935. It was displayed on Adlake locks all the way up into the 1980's or later. I have seen a Conrail switch lock that has that patent number on it.  Posted Sunday, October 27, 2019 by KM

 Q3684 Purpose of Sign?  What purpose would this sign have been for and what does the A stand for? Within the cutout is reflectorizing material.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by DK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is an 'A Plate' which would be mounted along with other signal heads. See the Link (its section no. 4 of a multi-section website) which is a really thorough, extensive discussion of RR signals and signalling practices, with lots of good illustrations. It also has some very useful references to where you can read rulebooks where various signal practices are described. To cut to the chase,the Link notes "Some railroads would also employ an "A Plate" to signify an absolute signal." As explained at length in the Link, "Absolute signals" are used at interlockings where 'stop and stay' is the required response to an all-red signal. Many other signals, such as typical block signals, "(First) stop and (then)proceed" is permitted for a red signal. Most RR's apply a number plate to make this distinction whereas absolute signals do not have number plates. As the Link explains, "G Plates" and "D Plates" were also commonly used.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3683 Freight Dept Tag  Found this in my yard today and can't find any info about it. There's a WKN stamped on the bottom, nothing on the back. Anybody know roughly what time frame it could be from?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, October 18, 2019 by Kate   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is marked for the New York Central Railroad Company. It looks like a tool tag - would have been used to keep track of an individual tool, using a "library" type checkout system. The New York Central emerged in 1914 from a merger of the NYC&Hudson River RR, and it lasted until the merger with the Pennsylvania RR in 1968 forming the Penn Central RR. Between 1914 and 1935 the NYC was also known as New York Central Lines. Between 1935 - 1968, it was also known as the New York Central System. With neither "Lines" nor "System" on this it's not easy to pinpoint a date, but it "probably" is mid-century, we have not found anything further about these either.  Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by JMS

A. I do not know what WKN refers to - guessing something specific, that the tag was normally kept with, or a location. Maybe someone else can help further.  Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by JMS

A. Tags such as this were also used as employee ID badges. WKN might have been the employee's initials. "Freight Dept." is not one we would expect to have a lot of tools, but would have a lot of employees. NYC was a huge system; where was this found? Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you live on the west side of the Hudson River, WKN could be Weehawken, NJ, the terminal of the New York, West Shore and Buffalo, which was part of the New York Central. Knowing what town you live in would make it easy to confirm my suspicions. Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by JN

A. Thanks everyone! I live in Wurtsoro, NY and found his in my backyard. Posted Sunday, October 27, 2019 by Kate

A. With Wurfsboro's location in the southeast of NY State, and with Weehawken being a quite possible reference, another interesting possibility is that this tag was related to the milk business. The Link describes how NYC ran an incredibly extensive daily milk train network to service the huge New York City dairy demand, up until the 1920's or so when trucks took over the business. Just one milk car could hold as many as 600 cans and each train sometimes had more than 20 such cars; an almost incredible number of items to track and account for on a daily basis. See Prior Q 2815 about milk can tags and it lists several other prior Q's. Some of those daily NYCRR trains originated as far away as Utica and Rome. The Link has some fascinating insight about how the NYC milk operation worked, including that the milk cars had to be loaded and iced by their train crews. Unfortunately the Link just talks about the milk being taken to 'New York' without describing how things worked at that end, but I don't think milk was handled in the limited space at Grand Central so Weehawken remains a good possibility.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by RJMc