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An Interlocked Semaphore Signal

By Grant L.N.R.

Garden railways, as many would know, cover a wide variety of knowledge base and skills. Looking for a small project one rainy day, and after visiting the signal box at Castlemaine on the Maldon Railway, and pulling a few levers, thought I would like to build a signal. A quicky!  No problems, up to Puffing Billy camera in hand to record the necessary details. It had to be a somersault semaphore type 

Now when you actually start to build one of these things, with their cranks and levers, you begin to realize just what is involved. Bell-cranks, parallel errors in levers, lamp and spectacle to line up at the appropriate positions, stop plates, the fail-safe aspects (rods or levers breaking, signal returns to danger) and so on. The signal was duly silver soldered together after much experimentation, painted and ready to mount.

Quick project,Yeah right!

    It was proposed that the signal should guard a set of points on the mainline, the other side of a tunnel. As it was to control safe running on the main, inter-locking reared it ugly head. In for a penny, in for a pound as they say. Now I've looked at inter-locking on the real thing, love the look of the gear, over designed, last a hundred years etc. so plunger detection was investigated, experimented with, and finally built, consisting of a ground throw lever, modeled on MacKenzie Holland gear, on a suitable wooden platform, with my own take on slide detection,adapted to the modeling environment. Linked by cable running through posted guides in the tunnel.

The lever and platform, showing the plunger and slide detection on the ground beyond

It's now great fun to throw the points, then pull the signal off to the click of the ratchet gear. Even found I have to pull all three clicks in Summer due to cable stretch, just like the real thing.  One day, maybe, it might even get the ladder and platform.
Cheers Grant.  


Two more detail shots of the lever and the
gear at the base of the signal. (left click to