CPL history lesson

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jan 1 18:51:48 EST 2007

The N&W Position Light Signals were first installed in the twenties or thirties in a couple of locations, then spread all over the system by the early fifties. They went through several incarnations and aspect changes, and eventually were converted to Color Position signals after the Steam era was over. By the end of 1962, as far as I can tell, all signals had been converted to Color.

The equipment used was not the same as the Baltimore & Ohio CPL's. It was manufactured by Union Switch & Signal, which also made the famous PRR signals. While the N&W used similar equipment to the PRR, their aspects and control systems were different, as were some of the components.

As for exact dates, I don't have them. I've been researching this for 15 years, but information is hard to come by. However, each district was done separately as moneys were budgeted. My home territory, the Pulaski District of the Radford Division, was signalled with US&S automatic semaphores in 1917-1918. These were changed over from semaphores to Position Lights in 1947. Much of the mounting equipment was reused in that conversion. The change to color was done in 1962, and required a few modifications to the arms and replacement of noviol (amber) roundels (lenses) to convex spread beam color roundels, and omission of the center lamp assembly in the top or "A" arm.

Ben Blevins

NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:

I am wondering, does anyone know when the US&S CPL's were installed on
the Norfolk & Western?

Thanks for any information.

Jerry Butler

NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org
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