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- Published on Monday, 06 February 2012 18:50
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Light a Lamp for the Old Woman
by Dan Myers
How will you commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of our favorite railroad?
My commemoration started on Christmas about 45 years ago when my father gave me two O&W color light signals manufactured by the Union Switch and Signal Company of Swissvale, Pennsylvania.
Pop had worked for the O&W during high school in the late twenties and never lost his interest in the railroad. As the Chief of Staff of Middletown’s Horton Hospital he took care of many of the former railroad’s employees and stayed in touch with them. He collected all sorts of things and one day in the early sixties discovered the “R-2” color light signals in Sergeant’s junk yard on Cottage Street...
We painted up one of the signals and ordered a box of the special 10 Volt GE light bulbs so that the signal could be properly displayed. Over the years I dickered with Erie-Lackawanna and Conrail employees to acquire more O& W signal components so that I could re-assemble Signal 78, the signal that stood across Wickham Avenue from the AV station.
I’ve held onto the parts through a number of moves and this year made the commitment to get the signal together by the time the 50th anniversary rolled around. Together with my trusty Farmall H and lots of Rust-Oleum™ we completed Signal 78 before the weather turned bad late last fall.
I’ve acquired the train order signal from the Wickham Avenue station from the station’s owner and will be restoring this extremely unusual US&SCo. Automatic semaphore. Sadly, the signal has been looted in recent months losing both red & white blades, one spectacle plate, the lamp and its internal mechanisms.
Hopefully with your help and the help of the authorities the parts will be returned so that this unique and important signal can operate again.
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