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Union Switch and Signal Wigwags
Union Switch and Signal
Style DW Automatic Flagman

Union Switch and Signal was not really known for wigwag signals. But they did make them. The Style DW Automatic Flagman was first produced around 1918. These were never patented, so it's unclear exactly when they were first made. The roads that used them were the ERIE, Boston and Maine, Delaware Lackawanna and Western, and Canadian Pacific. Also, under the stewardship (i.e. control) of the ERIE RR, the New York, Susquehanna and Western (NYS&W) also purchased a number of these. A few other RR's had a just a few or one. To my knowledge, none were used on any western roads. For those of us on the West Coast, these are quite strange looking signals. There is only one known to still be in active service (aside from museums) in the US - it's located at Joplin, Missouri.
Thanks to Eric Schmelz of for providing most of the pictures and info for this page.

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Courtesy of

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Jerrold Crawford collection

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This is the last known active DW Flagman still in service in the US.
(aside from museums and private collections)
Joplin, Missouri - May 2006. Mark Springer photo.

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Double set. Notice the short cantilevers.

These Style DW's once served Chatham, Ont. on the Canadian Pacific line there.
CP was one of the few roads to install these signals. When not activated, the
banner hides behind the "look listen" panel to the right. Not all of these had the
crossbucks mounted in this manner.

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Above photos by Clayton Lagstaff, November 1983.

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Another variation can be seen here (above) at Wilton NH. on the former Boston and Maine line now operated by shortline Milford and Bennington RR. The first thing you will notice is the chase light installation above the cantilever. This was something that B&M was known for doing. When the banner would swing, the lights would chase back and forth to simulate a swinging lantern. These signals were a little taller than most, about 24 feet tall. This is said to be the last Style DW in service. It was retired in 1993.
Photos and info by Eric Schmelz, 2/93

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Courtesy of
Here is a fine example of a restored DW wigwag. This one has a US&S "teardrop" bell on top, as well as a set of cast iron crossbucks. One of the bizarre variations, which the Erie used, is oil burning lamps above the stop banner. The 'elephant ears' swing back and forth blocking the lamp and thus creating a effect of a stationary flashing light. Pre crossing flasher technology. The lamps cannot be seem at all during the day, the light is just not bright enough, but the oil would last for 7-10 days. This is from a private collection in the NE.
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Courtesy of
This one is from a private collection in New York State. Looks pretty much the same as it did when it was removed from service. Seems to be missing a bell, but notice the rare "stop when swinging" sign attached.
Union Switch and Signal Manual
(Acrobat .pdf file)
For instruction on installation and adjustment of the 
US&S DW style wigwag.

Thanks to Eric Schmelz of for hooking 
us up with this. Also thanks to Julie Johnson for originally 
making the material available.

Not a whole lot of information is available on these rare wigwags, so if you have any photos or further information you would like to share, please email me.

Magnetic Signal Company
Union Switch and Signal (US&S)
Western Railroad Supply (WRRS)
Wigwag Technical

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