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Private collections: Jerold Crawford
Jerold Crawford - Part 6
Tampa, Fl.

 110 VAC Magnetic Flagman – upper quadrant style
from the Winston-Salem Southbound Railroad
click to enlarge

My next project was to restore an upper quadrant Magnetic Flagmen from the Winston Salem Southbound in North Carolina,

I noted that someone had a couple of the signals for sale in the Trains Magazine’s classified ad. I called and talked to a gentleman that used to work for them and he purchased them when they were decommissioned. He was going to restore them himself, but was decided to sell the land that he was going to use for them.  He only wanted $1250.00 each for them. As much as I wanted them, I did not want to take advantage of him and told him that he could get a lot more for them on eBay. He told me that he did not want to sell them on eBay. I said, “In that case, consider them sold!” Also included in the deal were three wayside cases with AC drops (one broken), an UQ banner minus the weight, and three Magnetic Flagman bases with short masts and the Magnetic Flagman UQ motor mount. Sweeeet!

  click to enlarge

Rented a trailer to put behind my 2001 Saturn sedan and off I went from Florida to North Carolina. In the meantime, I had been talking to a couple of gentlemen from the southern part of Virginia who had a couple of replica Magnetic Flagmen UQ counterweights for sale. They met me in Winston-Salem later that night and I bought them. I was going to convert my signal in the front to an upper quadrant as well.

  click to enlarge

We loaded everything on the trailer and off I went back to Florida. Stopped at the North Carolina Transportation Museum near Lexington, NC on the way back.  I did not realize it at the time, but I seriously exceeded the weight limit of the trailer hitch with all that in there. Fortunately, no harm came to me or anyone else. Drove directly to the sand blasters and they unloaded everything but the wigwag motors which I took home.

As I was attempting to take them apart, I noticed that there were a couple of odd things about these motors that I had not seen with the others. There was a device that cut power to half the fixed coil magnets when the pendulum was swinging at full movement, and the magnet was differently shaped – one was big and one was small on each side. That is when I noted that the builder’s plate indicated that it was 110 VAC! I then read some on them and found out that because AC does not develop good torque, they use both coils to get it started and then the coil cutoff device interrupts power to the bigger of the coils when it has reached full swing motion.

I took the coils to a shop to be rewound since they were in pretty sad shape with dry rot. As I pulled up to park, one of their managers did not see me and smashed into my Saturn
as he was backing up. He felt bad, but that is why they have insurance. No harm – no foul. Got it fixed up just fine. They did finally have to rewind the coils as they were so damaged by rot. I think they may have made all the coils, but they work fine. I also took the motor apart and had it sandblasted and primed. I primed the rest and painted everything with Rustoleum Bright Effects aluminum spray paint. I had the banner powder coated a cherry red like it was originally and then painted the counterweight the same color.  I had seen the red banners with the words “STOP” on them, I was able to find some 4-inch letters in an Arial font and used them on the banner. They have held up to the Florida sun so far.

Since the Norfolk and Western maintained them under contract, the banner had an unusual light on it and there was a bumper assembly that was bolted onto the front of the signal.  There were no bumpers in the back where they normally are. The N&W felt that there was too much torsion on the assembly with the bumpers in the back so they used this system to have the bumpers interact with the banner. It is an unusual look to say the least.

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I was not exactly sure that they had not been modified to run on 8 VDC so I was pretty apprehensive hooking it up to household current the first time. Worked beautifully! Was able to tap into a 110 VAC line that supplied my outlets in the back. Mounted a switch on a short pole that could be reached from my patio. The only problem with the 110VAC is that the AC makes the brake system buzz.

Made a concrete mounting base for them in the back yard. Julie Johnson from the IRM sent me the plans for a center of the road base. Made it 24” high.. At some point and I am going to paint white and black stripes on it.

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I think my last signal is going to be a Model 10 Santa Fe style. I still have one more to go...

All photos by Jerold Crawford (2009)


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