ACL Semaphores : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

A couple of questions regarding ACL semaphores:

Looking at the society's new 2003 calendar, I noticed in the picture of Burnetts Lake station, the double semaphores have sqare-ended black blades with a white stripe. Would venture to guess the photo dates to the late 50s-early 60s. Was black blades with white stripes the norm for all semaphores (home signals?) at junctions across the ACL? Looking at B&W photos of junctions taken during the 30s and 40s the blades appear to be yellow with a black stripe.

The semaphores out on the mainline had pointed blades which appear to have been painted yellow with a "V" shaped black stripe (also shown this way in ACL rule books). Is this in fact true?

Did the ACL ever use the "fish tail" or "V" notched semaphore blades? If so, for what type of signal?

I also noticed that many of these junctions were also equipped with a two light, dwarf semaphore signals located at the base of the double semaphores. These too appear to have been yellow with a black stripe. Does anyone know of the colors of the lights (I don't have an ACL rule book with me).

Curious if there is any interest in an article on ACL signaling practices? Ideally, an actual ACL location/junction would be selected and through the use of photos, track diagrams, and the rule book, the various routings and signal aspects would be presented and discussed. This aspect of the ACL operations is one of the bigger mysteries to me.

Please excuse my ramblings and thanks for any help with the above questions.

-- Buddy Hill (, February 23, 2003


Mr. Morton,

Thank you for the explanation.

-- Buddy Hill (, February 27, 2003.

This further regarding if there is any interest in ACL Signal Practices; Look at the top picture on page 7 of the 4th Quarter 2002 Lines South. This photo clearly shows three Home Boards for Southbound movements thru the plant at Contentena although there are only two tracks in service. Apparently three unit mast is original signal, while bridge blocks are for 'new' CTC which will now permit bi-directional running on the East Track. Still a unique picture when taken out of context.

-- JR Morton (, February 24, 2003.

Pointed End Blades (such as on main-line) are Automatic Signals whose operation is controlled by the passage of trains. Most Restrictive Indication is Stop & Proceed...Rule #291.

Square End Blades (such as Interlockings) are Absolute Signals whose opertion is controlled from an Interlocking, Block Station, or Control Station. Most Restrictive Indication is Stop...Rule #292.

Two Light Dwarf Semaphores had two color lenses: one yellow when blade was at 45 degree position & and one red when blade was at horizontal position. This was considered the third unit of the signal above, and allowed the Interlocking Signal to display an indication called Restricting...Rule #290. It's purpose was to advance a train into the interlocking on signal indication when the Home Signal could not be otherwise cleared to allow for the movement of the train. This "Bottom Yellow" signal was also refered to as a "Call-On" signal because it allowed the operator/towerman to advance a train when the Home Signal would not so permit.

ACL also had Train Order Signals in service way up into the middle '60's. These were semaphores at a Station designated in the Timetable whose purpose had been to display indications for the receipt or absence of Train Orders. I always felt it was truly an outdated practice mandated by rule to communicate the indication of signals (Rule #34) operating in CTC territory at speeds of 90-100MPH and come upon a Train Order Signal. The Trainmaster & Rule Examiner both insisted the signal be "called" as a "Clear Order Board." This is one place where the Rules seemed not to keep up with Operating Practices.

-- JR Morton (, February 24, 2003.

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