locked Re: Topic on Scales and Scale Tracks is locked, and I'd like to ask a question

Daniel Bourque



Here’s an excerpt that might help—it’s from Hugh and Ed Wolfe’s book “Appalachian Coal Hauler” describing how they used the light on the scale house at Andover Yard on the Interstate RR:


“Now, years ago when they weighed cars, they just used hand signals. Trains were short. Probably didn’t have over 10-15 cars to weigh. Fireman and engineer had to keep their head out the cab window all the time for signals. As trains got longer and longer, it got tougher and tougher to see those signals. Conductor had a pretty rough time getting’ the engineer to move. Somebody come up with the idea of puttin’ a light up by the scale house. It was an amber light on top of a long pole. Light just turned on and off. [The conductor on the yard crew] would sit inside the scale house at that bay window and operate that light with a foot switch. When the light came on, that meant for the engineer to give ‘em a start. He’d let his foot off the pedal, the light would go out and the engineer would stop. Now, if the cars got too far down on the scales, two short flashes meant to pull forward and one short flash meant to stop. The engine could be way up there on the main line at the upper end of Andover and the engineer could still see that light.”


I’m sure the two-light setup you describe worked a little differently than the single-light setup described here, but it’s probably pretty similar in its use.


While it’s all about coal, "Appalachian Coal Hauler” is an outstanding resource for not just those interested in the Interstate RR both pre- and post-Southern but for anyone wanting to understand from a first-hand perspective how train crews in the coal fields approached switching and overcame operational challenges. Absolutely fascinating!


Dan Bourque


Sent from Mail for Windows 10


From: bruce_l_harrison
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2021 5:37 PM
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Topic on Scales and Scale Tracks is locked, and I'd like to ask a question


Thank you for the replies. I’m modeling the scale house that once stood in the yard in Monroe Virginia. It must have been built using the same plans Ike posted (minus the interlocking).  I have several photos of the scale house (one from the archives) that show two lights mounted on short poles  As I mentioned in my note, I’m trying to understand how these lights that were used.  Ike’s drawing states they are  “street car head lights to be mounted on poles”.  Were they used to signal the engineer, or to illuminate the markings on the cars at night, or ???


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