Saturday, January 24, 2015


Happy New Year to All.

I apologize for no updates for sometime.  The modeling bench has been collecting dust as I work 7 day weeks and very long days/nights.   Despite adding a few more carpenters we have been swamped with work over the holidays and at least for the next two months or so.   We took a brief weekend break in mid-December for a short antique shopping getaway.   One of my purchases was a Union Switch and Signal train crossing signal light - basically one of the flashing red lights  (of two).  It's in ok shape and functions - I plan on welding up a mounting bracket and maybe put on a pole outside, or inside possibly too.  

Purchasing this signal got me interested in signals in general.  Something I had never really read much about, other than just knowing what the different types looked like, and having a sense of what railroads used which types.   After learning a bit more about this subject I sort of became curious about collecting a few more  - move forward a week - and I'm now the proud owner of an Union Switch and Signal N-3 Dwarf Signal, and a Union Switch and Signal H-2 Searchlight Signal (signal only, not the mast)   This isn't an especially inexpensive thing to collect, but not unreasonable for what you get in my estimation.  Railroad items in general are way over priced given there is so much out there, and fewer collectors out there.  The same goes with model railroad items too.   Ebay is a joke in that it used to be an auction site, but most sellers, and especially sellers of train related items, just set the starting bid at what they ultimately want to get for the item, which is usually some inflated value that they have in their mind anyway.   I've sold hundreds of items on eBay including a sailboat and a diesel truck and never had a starting bid higher than 99 cents and never put a reserve on anything, and guess what - I always got at least what I wanted for the item.  There are reasonable deals on there, but you just have to find them - and don't give those people that set the price high business.    Anyway enough of my eBay rant.  

All the signals work so my intention is to connect them to a power source and probably build and program an Arduino micro controller to randomly change signal aspects.   But first, I need to build a base for the N-3 Dwarf Signal.  The signal is maybe 3' tall but cast iron and heavy.  It has a small baseplate with two slots for bolts - slots as signals need to be aimed precisely  (something else I learned)   I'd like to just leave the signal as shown, however, it's very precarious.  A gust of wind could knock it over and send 100 lbs of cast iron into my hardwood floor.    So it needs a base.  I thought of making one out of concrete to imitate the small pedestals you see them mounted on next to the railroad tracks, but was worried about the concrete inside, on the floor etc.   Wood is something I can work with easier.  Using some scrap parallam beams as a core, and for weight since they are heavy, I built an MDF shell around, which I will paint to simulate concrete.

No comments: