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Welcome to our Question & Answer Bulletin Board -- a bulletin board for collectors and anyone else to post questions about railroadiana. It 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 25 Questions:

 Q2913 Cleaning a Wax Sealer  I have a wax sealer I would like to clean to make the letters more readable. What would the best way to do this? Thanks.  Posted Sunday, March 1, 2015 by vandswry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2912 Dining Car Menu Date Codes  Do you know if there are any publications that offer information on dining car menu date codes? I'm primarily interested in menu date codes for the Santa Fe Railway. Thanks!  Posted Friday, February 27, 2015 by WF   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Dining car menus I am familiar with usually have the month - year (i.e. 5-71) Some may have the train numbers they were used on but I think the codes I have seen are pretty much self explanatory. Posted Friday, February 27, 2015 by JN

 Q2911 Vesta Lantern Number?  I have a 1923 BOSTON & MAINE Dietz Vesta lantern with the no. 17346 stamped on the top. Is the number a sequential number of that lantern for that year or something else?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 27, 2015 by PC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Should have included this in the original question, the date on the lantern is s-1-23 so I doubt it's the sequential # of that year maybe the patent? Posted Saturday, February 28, 2015 by Phil

A.  The number is probably a railroad employee ID or inventory number. Given the haphazard job done on stamping the number in it was not done at the factory. I have Vestas from the NKP that have caboose numbers stamped into them. The S 1-23 means that the lantern was made in the Syracuse plant in January,1923. At that time Dietz had the Main plant in NYC, but I have never seen a Vesta that was made there, if they had it would have been stamped M (for Main) 1-23. Other models of Dietz lanterns were made at the Main plant and are stamped for that. Posted Saturday, February 28, 2015 by KM

A. Yep knew about the date and plant, didn't know about the # thanks. Does the no. effect the value? Posted Saturday, February 28, 2015 by Phil

 Q2910 Reproduction Signs  I have a question about these reproduction cast aluminum signs sold on the web [see example]. They said these were cast from the original signs that they made a mold of. They're all the same size 11 1/4 inches wide by 7 2 1/16 tall. They weigh about 2 pounds each. The stop sign letters are 3 3/4 inches tall, the same on a 'slow' sign. There is also a 'yard limit' sign with letters 2 1/16 inches tall. They seem kinda small to be used on a real railroad. If so what year did the railroads use this kind of signs? Thanks for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by RT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2909 B&O Railroad Photo  Hello, I was recently give this original B&O Railroad photo from a friend. Does anyone have an idea where this is was taken?? What train do you think it is?? He said he believed it was the Shenandoah. I appreciate any information you can give – even educated guesses. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2908 Lantern ID Needed  I am a member of a team that is getting ready to open the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum in Bulfport MS. We aim to teach the history of railroads with models. One of the items that we have for display is a modern era railroad lantern that has CSX logo printed on it. The only readable label is 'model 29'. It has a foldable handle that the grip is off centered that would help to hold at an angle. If you can help us with the name of the manufacturer and about the time it would have been made it would be helpful. Thank you for your time.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 by TB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Usually these are made by "STAR" Lantern and Headlight Company. See if you can find their website. Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 by JN

A. JN nailed it! That's a genuine STAR lantern. I used one in the mid 1070s when I worked on the Union Pacific in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It's hard to say how old yours is; could be any where from 1986 (when CSX started) up to recent. The handle was originally symmetrical, but has been bent, likely by accident, not to make it easier to use, as those handles are very easy to grip in any position as originally made. One feature of those hoop handles was to be able to slip it over your forearm when you had to climb on equipment so you didn't drop it. Bending it would interfere with putting it on your arm and serve no useful purpose. DO NOT try to straighten it back to its original shape as it will likely break. The fact that the CSX lettering is well worn and the handle is bent indicates that it has had lots of use and likely was in service on the railroad, not sold as a souvenir. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. oops, 1070 would have been about the time of the Norman Invasion, ...I worked on the U.P. in the 1970s (LOL) ---- .... Red Beard Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. As shown in the Link, your lantern looks like a Star Model 292R. Actually its one of the most modern of a long series of railroad lanterns, since it has the rechargeable battery and charger jack and has the newer halogen bulbs, indicating it is likely 10 years old at most. The older series of these lanterns used 6 Volt throw-away batteries and screw-in incandescent light bulbs. See prior Q's 2575, 2547, 2195, and 870 for more discussion about the batteries and bulbs for those older styles. Those older lights are commonly available. On your light, the battery access is by unscrewing the clear front from the yellow housing; as discussed in the prior Q's, on some of the older lamps there was a back cap that unscrewed or latched on. CAUTION: the rechargeable batteries for these have either acid or strong alkali corrosive electrolytes inside. If the battery in the lamp has leaked (although this happens much less with the rechargeable ones than with the older throw0awys), treat any left over powder or liquid material as corrosive and wash it away thoroughly to avoid skin damage. The rechargeable batteries do wear out after awhile, and they are replaceable (but fairly expensive.) This lantern can be part of an interesting display of how railroad technology has truly progressed; from kerosene lanterns, beginning with batteries in the the early 1900's, and now to LED's in the Space Age.  Link 1  Posted Monday, February 23, 2015 by RJMc

A.  This brings back memories of many miserable nights spent carrying one of these. The one I was issued in 1979 was orange with screw in 510 GE bulbs that we often changed out with 425s to get a brighter spot. They were more expensive, burned hotter and drained the batteries down twice as fast, so hot the bulbs formed a layer of carbon inside turning them dark. It had a thin, heat shrunk rubber grip that began to move on the tube after getting wet. I wrapped it heavily with bull dog tape to get a thicker grip similar to the modern version. Like the scan my first lantern also had a bulge to one side from having been dropped off a switch engine. In the mid 1980s I remember a resurgence of the Conger lanterns but the terminal companies I worked for quickly went back to the Star model that was then found mostly in yellow. It was basically the same lantern but had been modified with a thick rubber grip. I don't remember the exact year the model in the scan was adopted but I think we began to get them around 2000. Rechargeable batteries were available but we used the cheaper company issue heavy duty Rayovacs. One drawback with these is that the screw in bulbs were replaced with a flat round assembly that gave a better spot but which got knocked loose rather easily and would not reattach tight enough to stay afterward. Another was that the lanterns leaked in the rain, evidenced in the scan by the brown film inside the base assembly. About this time ergonomic handled lanterns with an excellent faceted spot became available from another company but they were quite expensive compared to the company issued Stars. This lantern model in the scan is the one I carried my last night shift upon retiring in 2012. By then the UP had started issuing the Starlite 292 with a light assembly that screws off in one piece, sporting several thin o-rings for moisture, and a dual switch controlling the spot and lateral LED light assemblies. This was known as the "ball of light" and could be seen for quite a distance. I had a couple but retired using old Sparky as the new ones were too nice to ruin. Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by MG

A. MG; that's a great account! - Where were you on the UP? In the 1970s I was checking cars and writing train orders in Council Bluffs, occasionally picking up a few shifts as car checker in the yard next to the Omaha shops or in South Omaha by the stock yards (we used to call that part of town "Aromaha". ..of interest; the South Omaha yard office was a small shack right across the street from a "House of Ill Repute" that apparently offered delivery, ..we'd see a big black Cadillac shuttle girls in evening gowns back and forth all night!..great sport for the ranchers who had trucked their cattle to market in the "Big City" -- I had several Congers and liked the way they felt and worked; but if you dropped it wrong, it would bend the body or the cap, and then the thing wouldn't stay together any longer, the cap would keep popping off! For some reason I never did care for the orange plastic STAR I had (and still have). They just didn't feel right in my hand and I didn't think much of the spot either; liking the Congers much better (though I went through several due to corrosion or dropping). ---- .... Red Beard Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard...Union Pacific took us over in 1996, worked as a switchman and RCO operator in Houston until retirement. Most of the time before that as a switchman with HB&T. I too liked the Conger lantern, a compact little jewel. I just hated to mess one up as they damaged fairly easy.  Posted Thursday, February 26, 2015 by MG

 Q2907 Cap Badge Information Please  I'd really like to know more cap badges, and haven't been able to dig up even basic info online. Can folks here help? I'd love to know when the first hat badges were used, and when they became common. I'd also love to know about different attributes. When did slots stop being used? When did brad holes first appear on badges? What about screw posts? Pins? What about pebbled backgrounds? Embossed lettering? Enameled logos? Fancy enameled backgrounds? What is the wisdom of this crowd?  Posted Friday, February 20, 2015 by Robb   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2906 PRR Brass Lock  I purchased this lock and was wondering what its use was, how old ETC.? It is from the PRR and is smaller than a switch lock.It was made by S&M mfg. co. Phila. The key was made by JHW climax co. I have never seen another one like it. Any info appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 by SS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2905 Kerosene Headlights  Can someone with a kerosene, round case headlight (preferably without number boards) post pictures of the side door and chimney? Thanks very much.  Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by KO   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2904 Fake Document?  I recently purchased this document as part of a paper item lot from a person in California. In the lot were several dozen railroad items including just a few documents all from the same company, the 'Nickle Plate Development Company'. Is this company a railroad or associated with the Nickle Plate Road?? My first thought is that they were either fake or not related to railroad. I don’t know anything on these items. The one pictured is part of a packet (notice the staple on the top left hand corner) and contains several old carbon paper receipts and documents. I would GREATLY appreciate any information.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Many railroads had real estate affiliates to sell land along their railroads and bring in new customers. This could very well be one of those companies. Try contacting the Nickel Plate RR Historical Society. They may have information to help you.  Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by JN

A. The NKP RR was headquartered in the Terminal Tower. The NKP was the sponsor for developing the Northern Ohio Food Terminal ==at the same time the Cleveland Union Terminal project was developed, and NKP did business with the bank that's mentioned. All the other companies mentioned I believe have Cleveland histories, so it looks authentic to me.  Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by RJMc

A. It would appear "fake" is the wrong word -- rather "railroad related" is much more accurate. If you Google search "Nickel Plate Development" it will return a 1940 newspaper page -- read down the left column for a headline that states "Nickel Plate's Purchase of Stock Yields Profit" (page 27 of 35) (See Link 1 below) You will find a paragraph that says : "The railroad holds a promissory note for $5,000,000 of the Nickel Plate Development Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary, which in turn..." Since the Development Company is a "wholly owned subsidiary" this indeed makes it "not railroad" but it is indeed "railroad related." Its purpose may have been to investigate potential avenues of expansion the Railroad might take to improve service, profits, etc. Other Google searches will return articles citing the Nickel Plate Development Co. owning property in Cleveland. (See the second link) Likely they served as real estate development for the railroad ? (Just a guess) (See Link 2 below)  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 by JS

 Q2903 Amtrak Report to Congress  I recently received an original report to congress on the Amtrak Route system. Were these made publicly available? Would you consider them rare or hard to obtain? I really don’t know much about it so any information is GREATLY appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Ever since it was created in 1971, all of Congress has hardly if ever agreed on almost anything having to do with Amtrak. This results in almost yearly budget battles in which one part of Congress tries to kill off Amtrak, usually while the other part tries to markedly expand it, and the various Administrations swing back and forth. Inevitably, some part of Congress reponds by demanding reports, produced either by DOT or Amtrak, which end up looking like the one you have. This is apparently on the theory that one MORE report will finally get people to agree with each other. These reports get published by the Government Printing Office (GPO), usually in quite large quantities, for distribution to almost every Congressman (535 of them), all of their offce staff and committee staffs, (about 35,000 of them!!! Really, 35,000!!!), to many offices in DOT from the Secretary on down and throughout the Federal Railroad Administration, and to the public. Most of these are never read and are rarely even acted on. Inside the cover of any DOT report, usually on the first 'Documentation Page' there will be an official report number, and the reports are kept available on file by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) or USGPO and available to the public, at least electronically. So unfortunatly new battles on this happen every year, and unless someone helped prepare that exact report, they are not likely to have much rarity or sentimental value to anyone. Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2902 Key ID Needed  This hollow barrel brass key is stamped W&BRRR on one side and 01 on the other. We can't find any guesses as to which line it may have come from. Does anyone have any ideas? Note, the bit is damaged. Thanks!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by JS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A search thru Bill Edson's comprehensive Railroad Names book comes up with the White & Black River Valley, existing from 1890 to 1900 when it was absorbed into the Choctaw Oklahoma & Gulf, which went into the Rock Island (CRI&P) system. The predecessor of the W&BR(Valley) was the 'Bates and Brinkley' which probably gives a good indication of where it ran. As always in these matters, there are no guarantees that your key is from that RR; just possibilities, unless there is more info tying the key to people or locations.... Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by RJMc

A. A web search turns up a another key marked almost exactly as yours is (see link), and attributed to the White and Black River, but that one is marked "C" for car locks and therefore probably has a different bit pattern.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by RJMc

A. Here's another Link which has lots of info on the W&BRRR. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2901 Yard Limit Sign  I need help on this this sign. It was taken off a scrap pile from Conrail in 1995. It looks like there was another word on it before somebody put the word yard. Maybe it said train on it. Does it look like a real yard limit sign? It's made out of aluminum? How many different sizes of the oval shape yard signs did they make? Did they ever make one that was 11 1/2 by 7 inches? Seems kind of small to me. Thanks   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by RT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. next question did they ever make a cast iron oval shape yard limit sign that was 11 1/2 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches tall thanks Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by rt

A. This looks to me more like the signs many RR's put on the roads for drivers travelling around in yards, such as for the truckers in intermodal terminals, rather than for trains. The speed limits for trains were always in the rule book or special instructions, so they didn't need separate signs just for yard limits.  Posted Monday, February 16, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2900 Poyard Lantern  I recently came across a very cool lantern and I was wondering if you would be able to help with any info. I’m not into RR items, but I am into antiques and lighting so this caught my eye. It’s a Poyard, French made and appears to be made for mounting right on a train or some type of RR equipment. It’s large and heavy, though it does have a hoop handle so you can carry it. It’s square and has 3 lenses and on the 4th side are 2 large, heavy duty 'C' hooks for mounting on a rail of some type. Any help is appreciated. I’ve found very little info on Poyard lanterns, though when I do it’s good news   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 9, 2015 by AV   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This lamp was made for the Chemin de Fer de l'Etat or State Railway. This company was created in the 1870s, to take over from the l'Ouest, or Western Railway of France, when it went bankrupt. It became part of S.N.C.F., the French National Railway, in 1938. I think that it is a crossing or signal lamp and was probably used inside a larger outer case. Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by JAJ

 Q2899 Green Fresnel Lenses  Does anyone know if the railroads ever used the TRUE green fresnels, not the color teal fresnel but actual green??? If so, what time period? Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated!!!  Posted Monday, February 9, 2015 by JT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, back in the 1800s railroads did use a number of different shades of green in signal glass, including some coming close to the pure green on a six color, color wheel; the blending of blue and yellow pigment in the subtractive color system. -- See Q1730 for some detail on early 'green' glass lenses. -- the paper I cite in Q1730 states that there were 32 different shades of green signal glass in use in 1890 and Corning Glass stocked a dozen or more lens sizes in each of those greenish hues at that time. Individual railroads all had their own standards for glass colors, and colors varied widely from road to road,. -- Which roads used which hues is a question likely lost to the ages; and what those exact hues looked like is probably lost as well. -- There is some confusion around the REASON for the Teal/Aqua color chosen for nation-wide standardization in the early 1900s; the color we all know as "Signal Green". Signal Green (teal-ish) was not chosen because it looked "Green" with a kerosene flame as many have stated; it was chosen as it produced a readily identifiable color that was visible at a significant distance, and it remained true to that same color at a distance as it did close up! Many "greens" used in signaling in the 1800s were very dim and not visible at any great distance, and actually separated chromatically over various distances and changed color the farther you got from the signal; especially when there were very fine moisture droplets in the air, which acted as prisms, further causing the light to separate into component colors and appearing more yellow than green in bad weather. - In 1905, the new 'Teal' color glass produced a light that could be seen at great distance and remained its true color as far as it could be seen. Modern traffic signals and aircraft starboard navigation wing tip lights are a similar color, as are airport beacons, all for the same reason. -- Of interest, at one point in the 1800s, green meant 'stop' and 'clear/white' meant proceed. This caused huge safety problems as if the green (stop) signal glass broke, the signal would then show clear/white, which would then be interpreted as meaning proceed instead of commanding the train to stop! ..very dangerous! ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. The odds are a true green Fresnel globe in a RR lantern was probably taken out of one the thousands of "nautical" decorative table lamps that were popular in the 1950's. I've got a pair of them in my family room. You'll regularly find many red and some green examples on ebay. Some are a close fit and look somewhat legit, other than the color. Chances are those globes will not have Kopp or Corning as a manufacturer, if they have any markings at all. The globes in my table lamps are unmarked. They also tend to fit better in Dressel lanterns with their flat globe seats rather than the cupped Adlake globe retainer. I used to see these globes from time to time at train shows, but none for a very long time. I guess the original table lamps the globes were being removed from are now collectibles in their own right. Another thing some folks did (do) was to try and fit clear or yellow "jelly jar" outdoor light globes in RR lanterns. As I said, the odds favor that true green is a non RR replacement. It would probably display nicely, regardless. Still, there's a chance they could be authentic, especially if they're marked Corning or Kopp. Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by JFR

A. Thank you Red Beard and JFR for answering my question! I really appreciate it and that information is very interesting and informative.  Posted Friday, February 27, 2015 by JT

 Q2898 Fake Santa Fe Sign?  I recently purchased the Santa Fe bathroom sign from an auction after looking at it I'm wondering if it may be a fake. Has anyone actually seen this style in photographs or know of it being used? I can't find another online anywhere. It's about 12x4 inches. I also have this other one though I've seen this one online frequently. I assume this is real Pullman. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. Nick   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 8, 2015 by Nick   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I have never seen a sign of the first "Santa Fe" style and would likewise suspect its fake. (Its hard to imagine a very justifiably proud RR wanting to adverstise next to the toilet flush sign!!!) The second style is identical to the one in the bathroom on the 1939 ex-Santa Fe baggage dorm 3402/ Atk 9995 (which I formerly owned). The second sign was certainly widely used by Amtrak, which had completey overhauled the 9995. When Santa Fe had the car, the warning was painted/stencilled on the bathroom wall; you can still see it in several places under several layers of later Santa Fe and Amtrak paint. Amtrak has long since gone to stickers rather than actual signs or stencilling.  Posted Monday, February 9, 2015 by RJMc

A. Adding to what RJMc said above, here are some ideas for spotting fakes in the future; The "Santa Fe" sign has rolled edges, making the surface stand out from the wall it would be mounted to, with open space behind it, giving it the appearance of being thicker. Original signs would be made of thicker material and be flat. -- The edges have been buffed clean of paint to make it look worn, and therefore 'older'. On the left edges, top and bottom, note the clearly triangular "wear" pattern in the paint! These wear marks are too clean and too clearly angular to be from actual wear. (there are numerous signs in circulation right now with this same "buffed edge" feature; they're all fake too!) -- The mounting holes interfere with the edges of the Santa Fe emblem; as RJMc states, railroads took great pride in their emblems and would have placed an emblem in farther on the plate, well clear of any mounting holes. -- Caveat Emptor! ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Further as to the stainless steel signs: the Official Pullman-Standard Library multi-volume series of books is an outstanding collection of builder photos taken with a large-format view camera by Pullman Co. official photographers when the cars were new. They thoroughly photographed the exteriors and interiors of every lot of cars at the Pullman plant. Vol. 1 of the Library series is Santa Fe cars. Looking thru the builder pix shows the stainless type flush sign in use in public-area bathrooms as early as 1950, and likely began with the start of lightweight car construction. The wall stencilling shows up in the crew bathroom areas.  Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by RJMc

A. Thanks for all the replies. The holes in the emblem did have me wondering and even the emblem the detail to the letters was sloppy. The grind marks around the edges seemed pointless if only to add age and the back and edges had a yellowed varnish brushed on i assume to give it age. I never saw one before so i thought it may be real but when it arrived in the mail i was disappointed to see it was most likely fake. Also i appriciate all the info on the second sign its going in the collection with pride. Good to know i have one real one :) thanks again  Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 by nick

 Q2897 Armspear 450 Lamps  I was looking at your Armspear 1933 catalog pages. Thank you for those scans!! I have an Armspear 450 lantern. Soooo many sight say this is a railroad lantern but I find that it is a bridge or pier lantern, meaning nautical. Any help on this? Did they sit on Railroad bridges? I cannot find any information on these things. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.  Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015 by BB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. BB, you have asked an excellent question. The #450 is a waterway navigation lamp used on railroad bridges. As described, the #450 came with red and green lens panels alternating around the lamp. The spherical lens panels directed the light vertically and horizontally, so the lamp could be placed high on top of the center of the bridge and still be seen at rail grade level and at water level. It was designed to sit on top of the center of a Turn Bridge or Swing Bridge; a section of a river bridge that literally turned or pivoted on its pier. These were used where a bridge passed over a navigable river at a low enough height to where boats on the river could not clear the bottom of the bridge. The pier for the turning span would be placed on one side or the other of the deepest channel in the river; the portion of the river where larger boats had to travel. On most lines, the bridge would normally be kept in the "Open" position, with the bridge span parallel to the river, creating a gap in the rail line, allowing taller boats to pass the bridge unimpeded and without the bridge operator having to turn the bridge to clear each passing boat. In the open position, trains could not cross the bridge. When a train approached the bridge, the bridge operator would swing the span 90 degrees, closing the gap and completing the tracks across the bridge. The Bridge Top Lamp served two purposes, simultaneously giving the appropriate color signal to both rail and river traffic at the same time. The lamp displayed green in line with the tracks on the movable bridge section, and red to the sides of the movable section. When the bridge was lined with the train tracks, the lamp showed green down the rail line and red to the river traffic. When the bridge was turned so that river traffic could pass (bridge track parallel to the river) the lamp showed red down the rail line (as the sides of the open bridge span were facing the tracks) and green to the river traffic. -- To continue with your question; the #450 is both a "Nautical" and "Railroad" Lamp; it was used on railroad bridges crossing navigable waterways; so it is both! -- In Q2894, I talk about that lamp and the differences between it and the #450. The other lamps I talk about would have been used on bridges of all types and not just railroad bridges. The vast majority of Turn Bridges were on railroads for this reason; automobiles can easily climb steep approaches on either side of a bridge, so highway bridges can conveniently be raised high above the normal grade of a highway, allowing boats to pass underneath. Trains cannot accommodate such steep grades, so rail bridges need to remain at the level of the grade of the line, often very near water level, as many rail lines took advantage of level ground by running through river valleys. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, February 5, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Link 1 below ( is an antique postcard of an opening turn bridge. It is of particular interest as it shows the signal and telegraph line supports. The frame and cross arms above the moving span are held up by a geared, rotating pole. The gearing is such that the pole turns opposite to the rotation of the span causing the frame to remain in a constant position with regard to the shore, thus the wires remain in line with the fixed portions of the bridge. --- Link 2 ( shows a nice swinging span, closed and very close to water level, Note the bridge operators shack above the track in the center of the bridge span; a feature added to some old tin-plate toy train bridges and included in larger Erector Sets so boys could create a realistic railroad bridge. ---- .... Red Beard Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, February 5, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Hey Red, Thank you very much for the information. I greatly appreciate it. Now, to try to find the 2 missing lenses. I don't think they exist! I am going to have to get lucky to find lenses for this Armspear. Thank you again.---BB Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by BB

A. BB: Here's where the fun part of collecting comes in! First look on eBay under Armspear; a guy has had a pair of channel marker lamps listed on there for a long time; 2 green lenses & 2 metal blanks. That will give you a good idea of what the actual lenses look like. Next, search eBay twice a week until you find what you are looking for. Search, one at a time; "Armspear", "Railroad Lens", "Railroad Lamp" and anything else you can think of. ..may take a few years. Write to W.T. Kirkmann as well, he might know something. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2896 Mile Markers?  Can you tell me anything about these? The are 2 markers, double sided. Thanks you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 1, 2015 by Chrisi   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, I would also guess Mile markers, and I would guess they were used on a line with place "M" at one end, and place "C" at the other, and M and C were 71 miles apart. Standing on the route next to the first sign, it was 43 miles to 'C' and 28 miles from 'M'. Travelling 9 miles further, at the other post, it would only be 32 more miles to 'M' and now 39 miles away from 'C'. I don't recognize this particular style of sign. Its a good bet they are RR, but not guaranteed. The National Road (now US40) had cast iron mile marker posts with distance to Wheeling, WV on one side, and Cumberland, MD on the other; some still stand in their original spots. Canals also had mileposts. Today's freeways still have mileposts, but long since simplified to only counting in one direction, usually from the start of the road or the state line, and made of much less substantial materials.  Posted Sunday, February 1, 2015 by RJMc

A. A search turned up a similar sign (see Link) but marked for places 'B' and 'H' which were 22 miles apart. The person who sold that sign said there was speculation that these were from the Toledo, St. Louis, & Western RR, because the signs are 'Clover Leaf' shaped, and that was the nickname for the TStL&W even long after it was absorbed by the Nickel Plate, N&W, and then NS. The Clover Leaf ran basically from Toledo to St. Louis.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 1, 2015 by RJMc

A. I am having no luck in finding reasonable locations "C, M, B or H" with the right distances on the former T, St.L,&W. Hopefully someone may recognize the style of the signs, and let us know what RR or RR's used them. If we have RR ID's, we can use the old Official Guides of the RR's, where the timetable sections all contained mileage info, to check out what line segments and exact locations where these might have been used.  Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015 by RJMc

A. Among my collection of RR service pins etc. I have one for 'Clover Leaf Route' and it is for Toledo St Louis and Kansas City. Perhaps locations you are looking are along this route. Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2015 by DC

A. DC, thanks for the suggestion....T.St.L & (KC) / (W) were really the same "Clover Leaf" route, just different corporate names as the organization evolved thru mergers, bankruptcies, etc etc. Despite the name the RR never did get west of St. Louis. John Rehor's book "Nickel Plate Story" has a whole chapter on the very involved history of the Clover Leaf, as a later major part of the larger NKP after 1922. So hopefully somebody will still recognize and tell us where this style of milemarker was seen in service, and we can go from there to pin down the locations.  Posted Thursday, February 5, 2015 by RJMc

A. [Question deleted] As a reminder to everyone, questions about value are not allowed on this board per policy stated at the top of the page. Thanks.  Posted Saturday, February 7, 2015 by Web Editor

A. Whereas value / price questions are not allowed on this site, the best way to obtain a "guestimate" is to watch eBay on a regular basis for similar items. That will at least give you an idea of what someone else was willing to sell/list or actually buy an item for. There's an old saying; "anything is only worth what someone else will give you for it" ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. These are off the old Midland sub line of the B&O between Columbus and Midland City in Ohio. HV Collector Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by HV Collector

A. Thank you HV Collector!! Table 54 in the B&O section of the 1959 Official Guide -- which is just the one I happen to have handy -- shows the freight-only B&O branch from Newark, OH (distance 0 miles for purposes of the table) via Columbus (33.9 mis from Newark) then via Washington Court House (73.0 mis) and ending at Midland City (105.3 mis). Making the distance from Columbus ("C") to Midland City ("M") the required 71.4 miles. So the first sign was about 3 miles southwest of Washington C.H., and the second sign was northwest of Wash. C.H. between Bloominburg and Madison Mills. (So just out of curiosity, were "B" and "H" also on the B&O?)  Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by RJMc

A. I am totally lost on B&H. Only other in this area that I am aware of is C&P for Cincinnati / Parkersburg on the B&O. I would have to dig back in my old records but I believe I owned your signs at one time.  Posted Thursday, February 12, 2015 by HVCOLLECTOR

 Q2895 Pin ID Needed  I recently purchased this pin as part of an auction lot. It is pinned to a piece of card that reads 'Railroad Badge'. Can you tell me if this is a railroad badge and who would have worn it? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 by Emily   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This looks like the top of an old Convention pin. There would be a section of ribbon attached to this pin, with another medal hanging from it, "Master Mechanics Bi-Annual Meeting 1907", or "Locomotive Firemen", Railway "Superintendents", etc etc, (it didn't even have to be railroad), and the convention was held in Milwaukee, which is the reason that your pin was made up. And chance the rest of the pin might have been included in your original lot?? Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 by DA

A. Thank you! There were 2 ribbons in the lot, but neither belonged to the pin. Both were much too large. Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by Emily

 Q2894 Unidentified Armspear Lamp  I have had this lamp for awhile and I started looking for the glass to go in it, and have been unable to even find anything that looks like it. The body is cast aluminum and the top is stamped Armspear mfg. co. New York. No # anywhere else on the body. I guess it held the red and green signal lenses in some no longer present parts.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 by Kimric   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  It looks to be a nautical bridge or pier lamp missing some parts. Try looking in the Railroadiana Online library section, clicking on the 1933 Armspear catalog for lamps that look similar. The #450 lamp appears somewhat close. Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 by MG

A. I’m going to direct you to some additional information on this site. – The first thing to remember is that lamp and lantern manufacturers created an amazing variety of products; many of which are not yet cataloged on this site; and some of which, there are no extant examples of either!. – The Armspear #450 lamp used an unusual and very beautiful Fresnel lens that was actually a segment of a semi-spherical shape; curving vertically as well as laterally and filling nearly 90 degrees of the circumference of the lamp. These lamps and their ilk could hold one to four of these curved panels, so they could be combined in multiple colors as well as all being the same color, all around. – The lamp you have has some similarities to the #450, but is distinctively different in that it would have used a cylindrical, not spherical, Fresnel lens or segmented cylindrical lens pieces and would have been more like the Adlake No. 1380 in LINK 1 []. The key identifying feature being the four straight vertical rods holding the top and bottom of your lamp together; the Armspear #450 having “T” cross section fins that curve outward instead of the straight rods. The Adlake 1380 also has cast aluminum parts for water corrosion resistance. Due to the position of the wick advancing knob, partway up into the area of the missing lens, your lamp would have had to use segmented cylindrical lenses to allow for a space for that knob to exit the lamp. These Fresnel segments were available in 60 degree and 180 degree segments. A lamp with four segment lenses needed metal mounting hardware between the segments to hold the Fresnel panels in place, which is why they only covered a 60 degree arc, and not 90 degrees. See the drawing of the Adlake No. 1335 lamp in LINK 1 as an example. The wick advance knob would have protruded through one of the metal panels that held the lens segments in place. Your lamp is missing both the glass and metal parts that held the glass in the lamp. Look on eBay at least once a week and you may well find some or all of what you need over time, as a tremendous number of things do show up there. Search “Railroad Lens”, “Railroad Lamps” and Railroad Lanterns” as categories. ---- .... Red Beard  Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. ...Let's try that LINK again Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. On the main page, left column, click on "Articles & Library", then on, "Adams & Westlake Catalogs & Bulletins - 1940s Lamp Catalog", then "Bridge Lamps" ---- .... Red Beard Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 31, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2893 Railway warrant from WW1 Canadian Pacific Railway  I am doing some research into train travel during World War One Canada. I am trying to find an example of an army recruit train travel warrant signed for the Canadian Pacific Railway (1914-1918). Does anyone have any ideas where to find one; if any even exist? I have contacted the CPR archives with no positive results. Thanks.  Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by PM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some questions, before attempting any suggestions: Was this 'warrant' issued to individual recruits, to cover their initial transportation to basic training? This would be somewhat similar to how the US Gov't at one time issued books of Government Transportation Requests (GTR's). A Government traveller could fill out and submit a GTR as payment, and get tickets issued by almost any transportation company. The charges were later billed back direct to the Gov't. In Canada, if such a warrant was issued to an individual, did the individual retain the warrant, or was it collected by the RR (in this case) as payment when a ticket was issued? This would have a lot to do with where any documents might still exist, either as the blank forms or as issued copies. If individuals retained them, veterans' organizations might be a source of personal files. If they were collected by the RR, almost the only likely sources are the RR's, the Canadian Gov't, or maybe the Canadian equivalent of the US National Archives. Who actually issued these 'warrants'? Inevitably some agency would end up paying for the transportation and so would have to have accounting and copies of the warrants they issued to control the expenditures. From various readings, I would suspect that individual military units might have issued these to recruits to their own unit,(some with very long and proud heritages) and those units might still retain files. Did Canada have a draft in WW I? If so, the draft boards, or equiv., might have kept transportation records. Good luck; by chance my family just finished a discussion about military transport of recruits in WW II, as it applied to my father, so this subject was already in mind.  Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 by RJMc

A. I had relatives who served in both the Canadian and British Forces during WW1 and who are, of course, no longer with us. However, I recall being told that the arrangements for personnel travelling alone- recruits travelling to a place of enlistment, or to a new posting, returning home etc., were similar to those described by RJMc. I have an item which, although not a travel warrant, may be relevant to your research. It is a card ticket, printed as follows; Canadian Pacific Railway Movement of Returned Canadian Soldiers. You have been allocated to Car No. (xx) Show this card to the Porter and he will direct you to the correct car. Retain this card during journey for identification. There is no date, so it could be either WW1 or WW2, but I suspect that it was given to soldiers in exchange for their travel warrant. Link 1  Posted Thursday, February 5, 2015 by JAJ

 Q2892 Lithograph from 1872  I am hoping that you can help me identify an interesting piece of railroad memorabilia that I found among some old family letters from the 1870's. It seems to be a copy of a lithograph from 1872 depicting the railroad route from New York to San Francisco. The publisher was George Thistleton (his picture and the date are in the bottom left corner). I think this is actually a copy from the 1800's, because all of the letters with it were from that time and George Thistleton's wife was the member of my grandmother's family who was sending the letters. It is incredibly detailed and the sketches of various scenes along the route are beautiful. I tried to Google it and found something similar that someone thought was a board game. Does anyone have any idea what it really is?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by KC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2891 PRR 1946 Calendar  I was recently given this calendar from the director of a streetcar museum and was wondering the history behind it. I noticed the 100 years on the top, so I was wondering if maybe it was from the PRR’s 100th anniversary. Is it rare? I don’t specialize in the PRR so any information would be greatly appreciated. Please excuse the camera flash. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, January 26, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. chances our it might be a reproduction if it was given to you by the museum if it was the real calendar from 1946 it would be 69 years old, i don't see museums giving away 69 year old calendars Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by rt

A. I don't know much about this item, but I know it is NOT a reproduction. The items was in the trolley museums archives, but since it was not streetcar related, he gave it to me. I volunteer there, and he trusted me enough so he could gave them to me. Answer questions knowing it is NOT a reproduction!! Thank you.  Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by TP

 Q2890 PRR 1955 Calendar  I was recently given this calendar from the director of a streetcar museum and was wondering the history behind it. I don’t specialize in the Pennsylvania Railroad, so any information would be greatly appreciated. Please excuse the camera flash. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, January 26, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. the same with this one might be a rep o anyway it looks like horseshoe curve in pa.  Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by rt

A. Same with this one: I don't know much about this item, but I know it is NOT a reproduction. The items was in the trolley museums archives, but since it was not streetcar related, he gave it to me. I volunteer there, and he trusted me enough so he could gave them to me. Answer questions knowing it is NOT a reproduction!! Thank you. Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by TP

A. I believe what you are calling 1955 is actually 1956. 1955 is titled 'Mass Transportation Army-Navy Games' with a bunch of GG1's at Phila. Municipal Stadium. Put PRR 1955 calendar in Google, there are several as well as others. I have one, paid $10 then $160 for framing with triple mat and glare proof glass during a framing sale at Michaels. Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by JDC

A. This appears to be a classic Grif Teller calendar. There is a book on Grif Teller's PRR calendars written by Dan Cupper. The title of the book is 'Crossroads of Commerce: The Pennsylvania Calendar Art of Grif Teller'. Go to Amazon to find a copy. To my knowledge, these calendars have not been reproduced in the original size shown here. This response also applies to the question above following this one. Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 by PK

A. Make sure about the date pads on your calendars. The first one looks fully complete, the second one looks like some of the sheets may be missing (?) The Grif Teller book is a great suggestion. We have never seen repros either. "Value" depends on condition/condition/condition. Rips/tears/creases and stains are very important. Yours look very good but both are missing the small "cover sheet" that was attached at top left (see the one in my link). The centennial calendar should be more valuable, but conversely, being a 100 year anniversary, more may have been collected and saved than other years, which will decrease value because they are numerous (?). We were paying $50 - $90 for just the ordinary prints probably 4 or 5 years ago in NY. Framing is additional. Try doing an eBay search for PRR Calendar using the "Completed items" function or a Google search as suggested above. I'm really glad these ended up with someone who appreciates them. Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 14, 2015 by JS

 Q2889 GM&O Advertising Piece  I have a relative who recently retired from Canadian National. He began working for GM&O, than IC, then he worked for ICG, and then Penn Central, CN&W, N&W, and a whole bunch of others. He has recently began giving me everything he has acquired from over 40 years of railroad service with like 8 different roads. I just acquired this piece from him and was wondering what it is? He said it was some kind of advertising piece. Does anybody know where it would have been located? I did open the frame up and found out that the 'timetable' is really a picture of a timetable printed on thick paper. He said it was 100% all original and from the railroad and that he acquired it personally. That’s it. Not sure if there is much more to it, but I really would appreciate any information. Please excuse the camera flash. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, January 26, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply