Saturday, December 11, 2010


Semaphore, originally uploaded by William 74.

Semaphore signals were patented in the 1840's, and went on to become the most widely used type of trackside signals in much of the world. Meant to provide a visual signal to train drivers, they utilize both the position of the arm, as well as the illuminated lenses to get their message across. Although still common in Britain, semaphore signals are mostly extinct along American rails, with only a few branch lines in the Midwest still featuring them. However, they are still to be found here and there, preserved in front of former depots, in towns with a railroad history, and in museums.

This example is in front of the former Milwaukee Road depot in Genoa, Illinois.

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