How were semaphore signal painted?

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Philip Millard
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by Philip Millard » Sun May 08, 2016 11:37 am

Harry Jack wrote:Would it not have been simpler to remove the arm - I mean just the red & white plate - and replace it with a new one, ready painted, from Crewe? A matter of unscrewing a few bolts - not a job I'd fancy even at a low height, but certainly much easier than trying to paint more than 9 square feet (both sides) very carefully, in three colours. High up, on a windy day...

When yellow replaced red on distants wouldn't they have simply changed the arms, rather than repaint them in situ?

Good thinking, Harry. But the corrugated steel arm and cast-iron spectacle plate are rivetted togther, not bolted. In fact, there is just one big nut to undo and the whole assembly ought to come off. But the arm and cast-iron spectacle are very heavy, and I still do not see how you raised them up to the correct height, but it might be possible using some sort of rope hoist. But the ladder is normally on the other side of the post to the arm, so how does the chap get at the nut? And another problem is that the arm might well be corroded onto the spindle making it difficult/impossible to remove.
"A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one at all would find fault with what he has done." - Cardinal Newman

murryb
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by murryb » Mon May 09, 2016 10:27 am

Philip would a mobile platform suit your job or a cherry picker.Do not know how high up you need to get. If high a man cage on a crane.
As to how the semaphore was painted the first thing is to forget present day H&S. How about a bosun's chair, and the signal arm lowered to be more easily reached.

Harry Jack
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by Harry Jack » Mon May 09, 2016 11:52 am

Maybe I'm quite wrong about this, but the beautiful drawings on pp28/9 by Jack Nelson in his LNWR Portrayed seem to indicate two long bolts through the arm, the arm-cramp casting and the spectacle casting, plus four small screws or rivets connecting the arm to the arm-cramp only. It looks as though the arm could be detached from the spectacle casting fairly easily.

The white band on the front face of a signal arm was near the middle in LNWR days; later this band was nearer the outer end on many examples. To me this suggests new arms, prepared elsewhere. Would the LMS have gone to the trouble of making this trifling change if repainting an arm while it was attached to its post?

Harry.

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Philip Millard
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by Philip Millard » Wed May 11, 2016 7:44 am

Yes, you are right, the rivets connect the arm and the cast arm cramp only. Not the spectacle casting which is bolted. But the unit is still pretty heavy! But you are probably right that the arm was changed, but the question is still how? Some sort of hoist must have been used, perhaps something clamped to the top of the post. And there is still the question of how tall signal posts and the lamp brackets etc. were painted. A signal said to be 70 feet high survived at Scout Green until replaced by a colour light in the 1960s.
"A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one at all would find fault with what he has done." - Cardinal Newman

jim lodge
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by jim lodge » Wed May 11, 2016 8:51 pm

I would imagine that a couple of rope slings and a set of light rope pulley blocks would have been the most likely method.

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Gary Wells
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by Gary Wells » Thu May 12, 2016 8:15 am

If work was carried out on a signal connected with a running line wouldn't there be signal box train register entries?

Is this covered by any BOT regs?




As an aside Philip: there's a couple of fillies painting a shop in the village..........................
How to start an argument on the internet:1, Express an opinion. 2, Wait

Brian Sincs
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Re: How were semaphore signal painted?

Post by Brian Sincs » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:14 am

In my days as a maintainer of signals, both semaphore and colour light painting was left to a specialist team of painters. They were equipped with paint and a couple of brushes, maybe a short ladder but little else.
Signal arms were usually changed when cleaning was no longer effective, a pink Chemeco paste and a bit of spit was used. Why carry water all the way down the track when we were made of 75% (ish) water.
Changing a signal arm was an interesting exercise. the only extra piece of kit used was a rope. If no rope was available then we did without.
We would remove the back-blinder off the spindle and wedge it were it wouldn't fall and the push the arm and spindle out of the casting and attempt to arrest its fall. Quite often it just fell too the ground.
The new arm, complete with spectacle plate and lenses and the spindle would then be hoisted on to the shoulders of the technician and he would then climb the ladder to the casting.
The last one I changed was a Co Acting arm at Prescott and it was the upper arm that I did. To install the arm, I placed the cap of the signal post in my belly and leaned over with the arm and fiddled until it entered the casting. When it was sufficiently in to take its own weight I could adjust my position and pull the arm and spindle all of the way in, manoeuvring it to sit correctly on its buffer stop. It was an enamelled upper quadrant signal. This was done between traffic, during the week. No safety harnesses were used or even supplied!
To my knowledge, no-one dropped a new arm or fell off.
Not long after changing this arm, I was promoted so had someone else to send up to change a signal arm.

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