Old crossbucks

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My daughter and I purchased three items from a widow of a railroad employee who passed away after moving to Lakeland, Florida.

Two of these are crossbucks and are each different. There are two pairs of lamps also but don't know if they are more recent than the crossbucks or not. Both pairs of lamps are also different.

One crossbuck is what looks like black with white lettering, extremely weathered, with reflective glass globes set through holes in the steel face with aluminum caps on the back of them that have some kind of reflective powder in them. Very few of these globes have come apart and no longer reflect light. They reflect light from just about every angle. This is two piece steel construction and quite heavy. Does anybody know how old this one is?

The second crossbuck is also two piece steel, and quite heavy, but is white enamel coated on its face with small reflectors bolted onto it, I believe, because I cannot find a tool to remove the cone-shaped slotted round nuts that hold the two pieces together. Does anybody know how old this one is?

The third item is a siding switch light that takes two people to carry, stands about 7-8 feet high and has a four-sided electrically operated light on top of it(red on two sides and green on two sides). It is operated by throwing an arm to one side or the other, which turns the square solid 1"x1" shaft that holds the light. The wire runs exposed from the bottom of the signal to the lamp. The lenses appear to be plastic though, not glass as I had thought. The signal has three spike-sized square holes on each of the two sides of the solid steel base where it must have been mounted at one time. Does antbody know how old this is?

I asked local railroad club members,who did their best to help me, but we really didn't get much responses on them to satisfy my curiosity.

To clarify, our E-mail address is L1K2GADD@GTE.NET(all in lower case) Thank you

-- Lennart P. and Kristine Gadde (l1k2gadd@gte.net), December 09, 1999


When I worked on an ACL signal gang (1960-1963)this type of sign was standard issue. They came in three types, all with these glass reflective buttons: 1. The crossbuck's 2. The square "Stop on Red Signal" 3. The "2 Tracks" or other "number" of tracks sign.

The cone shaped nuts were to reduce vandalism and theft since it took a special tool to remove them. Although I have seen a few old cross buck metal signs and poles (without lights) on other railroads, to my knowledge the ACL only used wood crossbucks and posts.

The "Siding Switch Light" you described, sounds like it was turned/operated by the use of a "pipeline" connection. Your equipment may have been a lever operated manual interlocking signal of some sort, perhaps derailer position. Using an electric lamp for the signal indication, sort of narrows its use to a depot or interlocking tower for electrical power. If it was a remote operated train order signal, seems it would have also had a yellow aspect to indicate taking orders on the fly, along with red stop for orders, and green clear board. If it was ACL, it was some special use signal, perhaps at a phosphate unloading wharf, yard office, draw bridge, or interlocking.

The old switch target lamps on the ACL were generally kerosene, and directly mounted on a tapered pinnacle to the switchstand. The ACL switch lamps were to my knowledge, all low mount style. Some other railroads did use a tall switch target lamp.

After the rambling answer, it probably was not ACL.

Does anyone recall the old "Lamplighter" job classification? There generally was a roadway laborer that maintained the switch lamps. Cutting wicks, cleaning them, filling the kerosene pot, and lighting them in the evening. He usually used a pushcar or hand velocipede to get around the yard.

-- Curtis E. Denmark Jr. (curtisd@knology.net), December 15, 1999.

Not sure if the following will be much help. I was looking at a blueprint of ACL std roadway signs last updated in the 1940s. Among the various signs were ACL crossbucks. The crossbucks on that sheet did not mention the use of reflective beads. I would venture to guess this may have been a late 1940s-1950s design. I recall seeing a similar set of crossbucks in Hollywood SC on the long abandoned ACL Meggetts Branch. Sure wish I had the foresight to have acquired them at the time.

I also recall seeing the second style crossbuck in use during the 1960s-early 70s. I'll try to look at old photos to see if any patterns show up.


-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), December 11, 1999.

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