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Summer 1971 - Page 41


SIGNALS ;
VISI BLE SAFETY C ONTR O L ONE OF THE TRUE "ACTI ON" DETAILS TO MAKE YOUR RAI L ROAD MORE LI FE-L IKE

I t's often a bit o f a surprise how many of our model railroad problems are shared b y the full-size railroads. Consider the danger i n da mage to equipment and loss of life that is present when a real railroad operates more than one train on the same stretch of track . True, a mo del rail roader d oesn't have to worry about a ny personal inj ury b ut he d o es have to devise some method of keeping his trains fro m colliding. Off-han d , yo u'd think that the real railroads left con trol of their trains in the hands o f the engineers in the cabs of their locomo tives. I n the early days of railroading t he engineer was the one who k ept his train from crashing into another. The e ngineer had to k eep a sharp watch on the trackside signals to b e sure that the track ahead was clear ; i f he glanced u p for a m o m e nt or was temporarily b linded by a flying cinder from the smo k estac k he might (and often did) miss the sigHal to plow hea d long into a nother train. In the nineteen-twenties the railroads bega n to eq liip their mo st heavily traveled trackage with Auto matic Train Control to take some of the awesom e responsibility from the shoulders of the engineer. A n electrical

A pair of "Searchlight" signals, facing in opposite direc tions, near Moun t Shasta, California, on the Southern Pacific. Operating scale models of this style signal light are a vailable in HO and 0 scale from Walters. Sou thern Pacific R R photograph.
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