Semaphore Rescue images. Loading, transport, and unloading.

A brief history.
    Last fall we stopped at a RR where a friend of ours works, (let's call him Steve) and he gave us a full shop tour. One of the things I spotted in the rail storage area was a pile of derelict semaphores, apparently out of service since the mid or late 60's. Half jokingly, I asked if any of them were available, and was assured that they were not, as the RR had plans to restore one or more of them. He did tell me that if they ever did become scrap, that he would let me know. One week in July the call came. "If you want to save a semaphore come quick. "They are all being hauled away to make room for a parking lot, and what was considered valuable now has to go, and soon!" A few days later, on our 38th wedding anniversary, Karen (isn't she great!) and I were on our way to see what could be salvaged for history, rather than be sold off as scrap iron. Our friend had marked a couple of the remaining units so they would not be carried off till we arrived, and the rest is shown below. Photos by Karen Bronson. Warning! These are high resolution images and can take a long time to download.

    2000 7 8 7:47:48 AM Steve has been working since 7:00 AM to start dismantling two of the remaining three units. We arrived about 1/2 hour later. One scrapped base is back on its feet. Steve and Dick are looking at another unit that the RR might still restore.

    2000 7 8 7:53:40 AM A few minutes later the first scrapped base goes onto our little pickup. (Man, were these things ever bigger than I remembered!)

    2000 7 8 7:59:28 AM Dick stands clear as Steve uses a back hoe to pull the mast free from the second base.

    2000 7 8 8:04:52 AM Easy does it. You can see where the scrappers have ripped away the sheet metal and already scavenged the actuator motors from the mechanisms, presumably for their copper. :(

    2000 7 8 8:09:12 AM This actuator does still have it's gears and gear cover intact, as well as the contact bank. The base also has a few uncorroded tie rods.

    2000 7 8 8:11:16 AM Base #2 settles in next to the first one.

    2000 7 8 8:23:16 AM This head is being salvaged as a spare unit for the unit Steve hopes to restore for the RR.

    2000 7 8 8:25:56 AM This little portable band saw will not fit around the mast, so the mast gets rotated as we cut. Hard toed boots are in order for this sort of work.

    2000 7 8 8:38:04 AM The photographer (my wife Karen) checks out some flowers and bees as Steve and Dick continue the rescue task.

    2000 7 8 8:42:32 AM Meantime, Steve and Dick load the lower half of a mast onto the little trailer.

    2000 7 8 8:50:14 AM They cut the mast and ladder into pieces for transport.

    2000 7 8 9:05:58 AM The top half with it's head was too heavy to be lifted in one piece by hand, so they swung it onto the trailer one end at a time. (By now the back hoe was off digging or whatever back hoes normally do.)

    2000 7 8 9:16:04 AM Just one more cut and that ladder will fit OK.

    2000 7 8 9:26:40 AM Dick is eying the trailer a bit dubiously. I think this load turned out to be heavier than we had planned for. In the background you can  see the base that Steve has been restoring.

    2000 7 9 2:02:08 PM Later, on the way home, Dick is checking the tie down straps.

    2000 7 10 9:03:24 PM A chain hoist in the fire station affords a way to unload the bases. Karen is checking out the three partial mechanisms. Between parts of the three there should be enough salvageable pieces for one completely restored unit.

    2000 7 10 9:04:24 PM The center unit had been removed from its base and stored inside, so it is in better condition, but has been dropped. Fortunately most of the broken pieces are still intact on the other units.

    2000 7 10 9:36:48 PM The original nameplate.

    (c) Dick Bronson July 2000