• Steam engine era passenger car service

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by calroth
I grew up in the farmhouse at Kennys Crossing on the Wilmington and Northern Railroad. At this crossing, in the late 1940s my sister said that people could catch a passenger train by pulling a chain that would somehow set a signal for the engineer to stop the train for passenger boarding. Does any body have more info on this procedure or perhaps pictures of this device? Thanks for anything you might be able to post.
  by ExCon90
The Wilmington & Northern was part of the Reading, which regularly used flag-stop signals operated by the passenger, and a number of them were in use at stations in the Philadelphia suburbs, I believe into the 1970's. The signal itself was a pointed-end blade painted half green and half yellow (at least I think I remember yellow, although the traditional railroad colors for a flag stop were green and white); the green met the yellow mid-blade in the form of a chevron which matched the pointed end of the blade, which was normally in the vertical position. The semaphore was operated by a mechanical rod running up the mast and having a handle on the mast 3 or 4 feet above the platform. The intending passenger would move the handle to bring the semaphore to the horizontal position, and there was a notch to hold it there. This only applied to trains for which the station appeared as a flag stop in the timetable; in such cases the engineer would be on the lookout for the signal, prepared to stop if it was horizontal. I assume the conductor would restore the signal to vertical after the train stopped unless the passenger did it himself before boarding. I don't know whether there was a corresponding night aspect or whether the engineer would simply watch for the signal in the headlight beam. I have seen photos of these signals as part of a station shot but I couldn't tell you where. If you see photos of Reading stations look for a pointed-end semaphore in the vertical position. (You might post in the Reading forum to ask whether anyone has a photo they can link to.)
  by JimBoylan
I remember them at Wissahickon in 1955 and above the Philmont outbound to New York platform roof after 1979. They did have 2 lenses, like an ordinary semaphore signal blade, so a lamp could shine through them for use after dark I think that I remember Philmont's inbound signal on its own pole, but it didn't last as long.