Blue signal at Apex, NC : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

About 6 years ago, while in college, I was passing through Apex, NC. Near the station, at what I believe to be a home signal, a red indication was given... along with a blue-looking signal, located just to the right or slightly below the red signal. I asked a few railfans if they knew what it was and they had no clue. I have heard of a blue signal being used to indicate men working on or near a car or train, but I have never seen one on a home signal mast before.

Does anyone know if there actually is a blue lense on the signal mast there in Apex, or was it a ghost dancing there in the wee hours of the morning? Any suggestions would be of great help, help to ease my mind after all these years.

-- Daniel T. Edwards (, February 10, 2002


According to CSX engineer Danny Carter, a number of blue light doll arms remain in service on the ex-AB&C Fitzgerald and Lineville Subdivisions, as follows - and yes they are a deep blue, not quite purple but a very deep blue -

Fitzgerald Sub

Manchester 5th Ave (SB) Talbotton (SB) Lilly (NB) Ross (NB) Cordele (SB) Hatley (SB) Fitzgerald (SB) Upton (NB)

Lineville Sub (partial list)

Campground (NB) Pyne (NB) Roanoke (NB) Pelham (NB)

-- Larry Goolsby (, September 12, 2002.

A doll's arm with a small blue signal light is mounted on the CTC signal northbound out of the passing siding in downtown Longwood, Fl., on the CSX (ex. ACL) mainline between Jacksonville and Tampa, Fl. I wondered what the small blue light was for, since it was always on. The size of the blue light is slightly smaller than a small styrofoam coffee cup! Aaron Dowling (

-- Aaron Dowling (, September 11, 2002.

SAL Rule book, 1962, Rule 516 says exactly what Bill has quoted above. The color illustration even has a blue light on the doll arm. I remember seeing a doll arm light in south Florida that looked more purple that blue.

-- Jim Coviello (, February 17, 2002.

According to the CSX Operating Rules, the rule is as follows:

Rule C-296

A track intervenes between the signal and the track goverened by the signal. When more than one track intervenes, the number of doll arms, with or without blue lights, is correspondingly increased.

I'm pretty sure this applied to the SAL as well. I'd need to dig out their operating rules to be sure. At the interlocking at the south end of Wildwood yard, we had this same configuation. I can remember the signal being there in the early seventies and it remained until the track modifications about 1989.

Hope this helps clarify the matter.

-- Bill Dusenbury (, February 16, 2002.

Guys, Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought all SAL doll signals were, by regulation, lunar white. I've never heard of a blue signal although I understand some signals might look blue under certain conditions. Doll signals were used all over the SAL system to identify a signal that had a track between the signal and the actual track the signal governs. John Golden

-- John Golden (, February 16, 2002.

Used to be another one under the I-440 bridge in Raleigh, where the paired SAL/Sou lines run parallel to Hillsborough St. The Camp Polk siding was between the southbound/westbound main and the signal post. It was removed when the SAL/Sou between Boylan and Fetner was resignalled after Hurrican Fran damage.

-- Chuck Till (, February 10, 2002.

it was either doll arm which are truly blue or a "lunar" signal, which is a restricting signal it appears blue but is really a white color without the usual yellowish tint

one way you can tell is if the light is in line with the other aspects or offset to one side

check this webpage out, they have signal lists there

im not familiar with that location, so i cant say exactly what it was

-- troy nolen (, February 10, 2002.

What you saw MAY have been a "doll arm". The rule book states that a signal is located to the right of the track it governs. A "doll arm" indicates that a track intervenes between the signal and the track it governs.

-- Harry Bundy (, February 10, 2002.

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