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Following the Signs

RR Crossing
Engineers and train crew are faced with an array of signals along the line. Without signals, they risk colliding with other trains, which often happened in the early days of the railroad.

In the beginning, engineers followed hand signals. Later, mechanical signals took the place of the hand signals. By the 1920s electric color light signals were being used day and night. The colored lights keep the engineer informed about the status of the track ahead.

The conductor would signal the engineer with a flag during the day and an oil lamp at night. The glass could be changed to show green (go), red (stop), or white (general use) signal.



 Midwest Central Railroad  Mount Pleasant, Iowa 52641 319−385−2912 (updated 01Aug16)