Photographer of Night, Light & Steel Wheels


The former Baltimore and Ohio Valley Line, from Harpers Ferry to Strasburg passes along the floor of the Shenandoah. In Charles Town the line crosses the former Norfolk and Western at grade and is protected by CPL signals on all sides. On this night a westbound grain train for Winchester approaches the crossing and illuminates the air and silhouettes the trees and signal in its waning days of service. The signal pictured is historically operated and maintained by the N&W and NS, who used Union Switch & Signal appliances (as opposed to B&O’s “General Railway Signal” wares. These are probably the last surviving examples of US&S ‘Color Position Light’ signals in the USA (Washington Union Terminal Co. still had a few). They replaced lower-quadrant semaphore signals here as early as the 1920s.

One response

  1. The Baltimore & Ohio Company used G.R.S., Union Switch & Signal as well as the HALL Switch & Signal Companies “Color Position Light Signals”.

    One must bear in mind the very first of this device were installed in 1921 as “Position Color Light Signals” and were manufactured be the Hall Company of Garwood, New Jersey. When first installed, the red, yellow and Green aspects or appearance (as opposed to “indications”, the meaning behind the signals displayed appearance) were as they are to this day.

    But the ancillary upper and lower lamps were Lunar White in color and the reverse 45 degree aspect was provided by dual purple lamps.

    It would be nice if you were to depict these US&S C.P.L.’s from the rear of the target face, displaying the minor differences from the (once) ubiquitous G.R.S. Type “U” signals.


    July 27, 2017 at 7:50 pm

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