Night Semaphore
Night Semaphore

Welcome to, a website about classic American railroad signaling design and practice.  This site is intended especially for anyone who is interested in or who can get excited about railroad signals, particularly the technical aspects of their design and operation.  It is also hopefully useful to those who could use an informal introduction to the field of railroad signaling.  From having been around in some form for many years, the site has been interesting or helpful to one or more railroad museum volunteers, lawyers, private signal collectors, prospective signal employees, and seasoned signal engineers.  The site has been gradually expanded from dealing primarily with semaphores to dealing with other types of signals as well, most notably crossing signals.  While much of the information covers the different types of signals from a historical perspective, the principles laid out by the older equipment and methods cannot, in some cases, be better taught any other way, and as such are still applicable today.  It is the author's sincere hope that the readers will find something interesting or enjoyable to make looking at this site worth while.  Links to the several articles may be found below.

Signal Maintainer

Introduction to signal maintainer E. E. Ford.

By M.R.E.
How Semaphores Work

This page tells how railroad semaphores work from a technical standpoint.

By M.R.E.
How Railroad Crossing Signals Work

This page shows signal circuits such as for lights, gates, and bells are wired.

By M.R.E.
How DC-Activated Crossing Detection Circuits Work

This page explains how interlocking relays and directional stick relays are used, among other things.

By M.R.E.
How Interlocking Relay Railroad Crossing Designs Work

This page explains how interlocking relays are used with track circuits and signal circuits.

By M.R.E.
How Motion Detector and Predictor Detection Circuits Work

This page explains the more modern crossing detection equipment and cicuitry.

By M.R.E.
How I Made the Animated Semaphore Graphic

For those unfamiliar with animated gifs. (The animated graphic is on my home page.)

By M.R.E. Railroad Photo Gallery

A photo gallery featuring (hopefully) beautiful or interesting photos of mostly railroad signal equipment, crossbucks, and surrounding Scenery.

By M.R.E.
Railroad Signaling and Signage Hall of Shame

A photo gallery showing railroad locations that need improvement.

By M.R.E.
An Actual Sermon about Railroad Signals

A railroad fan and materialism.

By M.R.E.
Night Crossing

How time spent at a crossing can be interesting.

By M.R.E.
Signal Links

External links to websites that I have decided to link to.

About the Author and Pseudo-FAQ

The author writes a little about himself and this website.

By M.R.E.

Was there anything on this page that you found particularly interesting, helpful, useful, educational, or enjoyable?  Please contact the author and let him know!

Contact Info

Exit Signal Department and Go to Matt's Web Page Home (Substantially Not About Signals)

Copyright(©) 2012, 2013 by M.R.E.  This page, like others, is copyrighted to protect the authors and their content from abuse, but that doesn't necessarily mean that permission won't be granted to use some materials elsewhere.  Others have successfully obtained permission to use materials on this site for a specific purpose.  Please feel free to ask.