Steam Era Signal & Switchstand

Steam Era Signal & Switchstand (HM13XO)

Location: East Amwell Township, NJ 08551 Hunterdon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 26.134', W 74° 52.299'

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The purpose of the railroad signal is not unlike that of a traffic light; it tells locomotive engineers when they can proceed, when they should proceed with caution, and when they must stop. This type of railroad signal, which uses colored lights, was introduced around the turn of the last century and is still in use today on railroads such as CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Amtrak. This type of signal has no reflectors in its lights so a locomotive headlight won't make the lights appear to be lit when they are not.

The signal displayed here was made by the Union Switch & Signal Company of Pittsburgh, PA, sometime in the 1930's, and was used on the Pennsylvania Railroad's New York & Long Branch Railroad in New Jersey. It was donated to the Black River Railroad Historical Trust (BRRHT) by Rill Rapp of Holmdel, New Jersey.

Tall switch stands, like the one displayed here, were used to change the position of the tracks and thus enabled trains to switch tracks. They were used primarily along mainlines rather than in yards. The metal flag, called a target, let the engineer see, from a distance, which way the switch was set. Some tall switchstands had lanterns on top of them for nighttime usage. This switchstand was from the Erie Railroad and was donated to the BRRHT by Frank Capalbo of Nutley, New Jersey.

In years past, a dispatcher controlled these signals and switchstands from a signal tower next to the tracks; today, the dispatcher sits in front of a computer in a dispatch center.

The signal and switchstand were restored by Oliver Shortridge, Troop 99, as his Eagle Scout Service Project with the generous support of Mr. Bob Rowe of Rowe Electric.

HM NumberHM13XO
Placed ByBlack River Railroad Historical Trust
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 7:32pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 510885 N 4476110
Decimal Degrees40.43556667, -74.87165000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 26.134', W 74° 52.299'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 26' 8.04" N, 74° 52' 17.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)908, 609
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 244 State Rte 579, East Amwell Township NJ 08551, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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