Train order levers with rotating signs

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Jan 31 06:53:39 EST 2017

> Frank
> Don't know if there are plans still around or not have never researched
> them that far. But there are several sets around in private collections.
> What are you thinking here. They also maybe an N&W made to order item.
> Larry Evans
> "There's the sun, there's the moon, there's the air we breathe, and
> there's the Rolling Stones"  Keith Richards
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:04:19 +0000
> From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
> To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
> Please share this information on-list.  I'm sure there are many who will
> find this interest.  If I can get enough info, I'm going to try to make one
> of these in HO scale using shapeways 3D printing.
> Brent Greer
> ------------------------------

Thank you, Larry and Brent, for your comments.  Brent, I don't know about
the feasibility of creating the train order levers with rotating
"Orders"/"No Orders" signs in HO scale.  It seems to me the components will
be too small.

Larry, it appears that the rotating sign feature was unique to the N&W
Railway.  Union Switch & Signal train order signals and mechanism similar
to that used on the N&W was also purchased by the Santa Fe.  A 1910s US&S
catalog illustration depicts typical configurations.  My belief is that the
N&W added the rotating signs to the lever housing as its own safety
improvement as a visual reminder for the operator.  Which stations or
towers they were used in, when they were installed or retired from service,
as well as how many surviving examples remain are topics that I hope will
be documented as time passes.

I have US&S levers purchased, but need to mount them to a wood frame.  I am
also interested in knowing what the original rack-and-pinion gear
arrangement was that turned the rotating sign shafts.  The dimensions of
the rack gear, pinion gear, along with the number of teeth and spacing,
will be helpful.

I also have questions about the train order signal movement by a lever,
outlined in an attached Microsoft Word document.  This draft changes as I
receive information or discover facts.  Comments are welcomed so that
whatever display recreated at Boyce depot will be accurate.

Best wishes,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at

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