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Private collections: Jerold Crawford
Jerold Crawford - Part 5
Tampa, Fl.

click to enlarge
Railroad Supply Company AutoFlag 5 as seen on the
Illinois Central Railroad in Divernon, IL

More on this signal's history here...

I wanted to model this signal since it had several elements that were missing from my collection. I did not have a standard wigwag on a standard cantilever. This were fairly common in Iowa where I grew up. There were sometimes placed on the opposite side of the road when there was only one wigwag at a crossing. This was the only way that I would be able to fit this signal on my property. I also had a US&S teardrop bell that I wanted to use.

I obtained this RRS AutoFlag 5 on eBay from someone in my former hometown of Des Moines, IA after I had moved to Florida. A buddy stored this in his garage until I could get back home to pick it up.

The base for this signal and the cantilever were purchased from an Illinois Central signal maintainer from the actual Divernon, IL site when it was dismantled in 2006. I also purchased a 5 inch adaptor for the bell so it would fit on a 5 inch steel mast.

I dug a 4 foot deep hole for the base and used 3/4" threaded rods that were angled 6 inches from the ends. It took about 35 bags of concrete for this base. I wired it in with 3/4 inch conduit to the metal cabinet on the fence. The wiring was pretty straight forward. Used a double switch so that I could power it so that there would only be power to the bell switch when their was power to the signal. Used standard wiring techniques since I did not want to have it on a timer. I did wire the light bulb separately to a 12.8 VDC power supply and used an old railroad relay to power the light whenever there was power to the signal. Getting the base and the mast up was easy - everything else was difficult.

I had a neighbor help me with the cantilever. Put this at a more prototypical 12 feet height. My neighbor did not realize that the metal clamps did not need to be tightened as much as he did and the clamp broke. As it turned out, there was a flaw (a void) in the casting of the clamp so I am glad that it happened now rather that during a strong wind. My friendly local welder was able to make it look good as new.

The next problem was lugging the restored motor up to the cantilever. I had to take apart again and reassemble it up on the cantilever. Again, I used some armored cable to make it look like the prototype.

Closeup of the wiring box and US&S teardrop bell

Finally got everything all set up, added the crossbucks. I had an extra “Stop When Swinging” that I mounted to the signal even though the original one did not have one. I will eventually use the sign on another wigwag installation that I have planned for later.

One of the delightful aspects of this signal is the US&S bell. It has a deep rich ring and an irregular cadence that makes the bell more noticeable when it is ringing. The bell is rotated 180 degrees from what I would have thought it should be but I elected to leave it since that is the way that the prototype was done on this particular installation.

All photos by Jerold Crawford (2009)


More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 6

More of Jerold's  collection -  Part 1
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 2
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 3
More of Jerold's  collection -   Part 4