From STOP signs with a Federal Yellow background to the modern white cross bucks with “RAILROAD CROSSING” in black letters, grade crossing warning signs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. After the last post with mention of a cross buck with reflectors, I decided today I would share just a sample of the crossing signals I have come across.
Federal Yellow – If you see my blog icon in your address bar or bookmarks, you’ll notice it is a yellow stop sign. This is actually representative of the Federal Yellow signs that were used on some railroad crossings. Here is a Federal Yellow stop sign on the rotating Griswold Signal on display at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota. Similar to the cross bucks I mentioned before, the word “STOP” has round reflectors embedded in it.
Griswold Signal -This Griswold Rotating banner is located at 22nd Ave NE in Minneapolis. As a train approaches the stop sign turns to face motorists. When the crossing is not active it turns back to the side, parallel to the road, and is not apparent to drivers. In a way, when the crossing is not active, I guess the stop sign is directed towards approaching trains. If there is a failure the engineer could see that the stop sign is not engaged. I haven’t heard of it used this way but it is possible. It is not unheard of to have some method for the engineer to notice that a crossing signal is not active. There are typically eyelets on the side of the lights that blink white when the crossing is active letting the engineer know the signal is functioning.
Wig Wag – This post mounted wig wag is on display at the Jackson Street Roundhouse in Saint Paul, Minnesota.When active the target light up and wag back and forth attracting attention. Some were mounted on masts and hung over roadways.
Wooden Striped Crossing – Visually attractive during the daylight, and perhaps the white allowed it to be seen at night also, these were often be seen in rural areas before the 45 degree angle cross bucks became standard. This one was located at the entrance of the Saw Mill Golf Club in Stillwater/Grant Minnesota. It protected the Minnesota Zephyr tracks which used the old Northern Pacific right of way on the branch that ran from White Bear Lake to Stillwater. The cross bucks have since been removed.
Wooden Cross Bucks – These all-wood cross bucks stand by old tracks along the Main Street industrial district in Fremont, Nebraska. All of the paint has worn off revealing the bare bones of an old all wood crossing sign. The angled cross bucks are sitting in notches on the post, one on each side.
Reflector Lettering – These cross bucks guard an old Chicago and North Western crossing in Fremont, Nebraska. They must have been common by the CNW in the area as there is also one at the 23rd Street Crossing now used by the Fremont Elkhorn Valley Railroad (FEVR).
Approach – These seemed common growing up letting motorists know that they were approaching a railroad crossing. This one is located along Main Street in Fremont, Nebraska.