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Private collections: Jerold Crawford
Jerold Crawford - Part 3
Tampa, Fl.

I recently restored a WRRS wigwag to recreate one of the wigwags at the C&NW Ames-Des Moines (Iowa) line that used to guard the Lincoln Way (US 30) crossing in downtown Ames.  This line has since been abandoned with the acquisition of the ex- Rock Island line through Nevada (9 miles east). The wigwags were replaced with flashers in 1973 when the adjacent intersection with US 69 was updated.

There is a picture of the signals at this crossing in the historic pictures page(hot link to page ). This was a unique set of wigwags.  They were on short cantilevers that barely extended past the curbs.  They were also marked with black Griswold crossbucks with cat-eye reflectors.  There were ocassionally used in Iowa on the C&NW.

 We decided to replace the front entrance to the house and include the signal on this new concrete.  It was poured separately and was designed to rise about an inch above the concrete walk.  In this photo, you can see the hole which was 4 feet deep and the buried conduit that would hold the wires.

 Here is the foundation with the anchor bolts held in place by a wooded jig.  The anchors were 2 foot long 3/4 diameter steel threaded rods that were bent with a welding torch at 90 degrees for the final 6 inches to insure they would hold the signal.

 Here is a picture of the new signal mast and crossbucks.  You can see the new entryway into the house as well as one of the Griswolds that guards my driveway.  The original signal was 14 feet high.  I had to shorten this replica down to 11 feet so that it would better fit in my yard.  14 feet would have been way too high for this location.

 Here is a picture of Jerold attaching the bell to the mast.  Remember that WRRS Autoflags did not have a built-in bell like the Magnetic Flagmen - a Griswold bell was used.  Getting up that high was a bit problematic.

 The cantilever was attached and a temporary banner was used.  The brackets that held the cantilever were cast by Paul Orton who made them out of brass.  They turned out beautiful.  A standard WRRS cantiliver was shortened to match the cantilever of the signal at Ames.  I only had a photo to work from so I estimated the distance by referencing the length of the crossbucks and extrapolating the length of the cantilever.  Amazing what you can do with a calipers and a bit of that old high school alegbra.  The wires were encased in some of that 1/2 inch flexible metal conduit.

 Here is the finshed product with a restored banner and completed paint job.  I used an original glass lens in the side facing the driveway and a plastic lens on the other side.  Actually, the plastic lens has a better light pattern.  The signal is operated on 8 VDC.  It is on a timer and comes on from sunup to about 8:00 AM, again for a half hour at 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM.   It swings flawlessly and the light can be seen swinging though the tropical foliage at night.  The bell is on a separate cutoff switch.  I wired it so that the bell could not ring unless the signal was on, but the signal could swing without the bell.

All photos (except noted) by Jerold Crawford (2007)

More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 4
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 5  
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 6

More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 2
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 1


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