New England Railroad History and Modeling Page

An ongoing project left me with some machine-readable information on New Haven heavyweight cars which I don't think is easily available from other sources; my old web page format didn't really have a place for non-B&M items, so I have restructured things. I now have a separate area for general New England railroad items, as well as areas for Boston & Maine, Maine Central and New Haven (and maybe other railroads eventually).

In case you need to look elsewhere, the NMRA Directory of World Wide Rail Sites is a good place to start. Railserve has a broader focus, with more on current international railroading. Trains Magazine has a Train Magazine Index . This requires registration and as of March 2011 includes only Kalmbach publications. The NMRA Magazine Index (location may change as it matures) is more in the spirit of Jeff Scherb's original effort.


US&S Style 'DW' Automatic Flagman

The Union Switch and Signal Style 'DW' Automatic Flagman is the less common kind of wig-wag crossing signal. Most of the wig-wags in North America were Magnetic Flagmen installed by the Harriman roads in the Southwest. The US&S version was used by the Erie and Canadian Pacific, among others. In New England, both the B&M and Maine Central used it, often with a semi-circle of five lights on a rectangular panel mounted above the wig-wag itself.

I derived the following dimensions by measuring one of the photographs of the Wilton, NH signal on the Dansrailpix wig-wag page. The preserved wig-wag at North Conway, NH isn't the same style. My fundamental assumption was a height of 20 feet to the base of the finial, estimated from photos. The Wig-Wag page says that the signal was about 24 feet tall, but at the time it seemed to me that the one at Rowley was a bit shorter. After finishing and installing it, I think the Wig-Wag page was probably right, so I've re-worked the proportions below for 24 feet.

The B&M's Eastern Route line through Rowley, Massachusetts was protected by a DW wig-wag in the early 1950s. I needed one for my HO scale module, and because there was no commercial offering, I scratchbuilt it from brass using a resistance soldering setup. For HO scale, I used 0.625 inch tube for the mast, .032 piano wire for the wig-wag arm and 3/16" channel for the boxes. I sliced the 0.625 inch tube at a 60 degree angle to make the flasher lamp housings and lens shades. The rest of the model is built from a mix of .012 wire, .010 by .030 strip and .005 brass sheet. The ladder and platform grating are etchings from the Free State Systems #8001-1 Signal Ladders and Platforms set. My model took about three evenings to get to this point.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the B&M painted its signals and grade crossing warning devices black. During the 1940s they switched to aluminum paint, and that's the scheme I chose, brushing on Floquil Bright Silver. The LOOK and LISTEN were lettered with decals. I made the foundation out of styrene, drilled it for the mast, and painted it with Floquil Foundation. This photo shows my wig-wag after a couple of years of traveling to train shows (which is why I used brass and solder instead of styrene or ACC).


I have a number of high-resolution close-up photographs of my models in my gallery .


Maintained by

James B. VanBokkelen (jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net)
.