Switch Stand

Another silly addition….

We model railroaders are a unique lot. What most people would consider an eyesore, I consider a valuable historical artifact, I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. A customer of mine called me up the other week and asked if I would be interested in trading a couple of fixtures for a working railroad switchstand, he had 5 or 6 of them around his property that he has collected over the last few years and restored, and was willing to part with one of them. Naturally, being a model railroader (as mentioned earlier) I jumped at the offer.

Image copyright 2005 Tim Warris

So last weekend we drove up to Toronto to pick it up. The unit is exactly what I was looking for (more on that in a minute), although the lantern on the top is missing, I still agreed to the trade. Between the two of us, brute force and ignorance, we managed to load it into the back of my minivan. It is as heavy as it looks, and is bigger than it looks. I estimate about 350 lbs. The two large railroad ties it is securely spiked to add a bit of weight as well.

Driving home with the giant chunk of steel and wood in the back of the van was an adventure as well, no sudden stops, it wouldn’t matter to the switch stand if I decided to stop quickly….

We made it back with no problems. Once home all I had to do was remove it from the van.

After it stayed in the van for two days, (while I was deciding how to remove it) the ants started to hatch. This introduced a sense of urgency to the task.

Since all my friends became scarce at my offer to let them help me unload this, I decided to do it myself. It turned out to be much easier than I thought, two garden ties on the bumper and I simply slid it down onto the driveway. My neighbors found this most amusing to watch. When I told them the locomotive was coming next week I don’t think they quite knew what to think, knowing me like they do.

I’ll let them worry about that for a while.

In the meantime I will see if I can hunt up a lantern for the top of it. Eventually I intend on removing it from the ant farm (railroad ties) and bringing it into the layout room, where I will use it to turn the layout on with, and install a light into the lantern that will light up when the layout is on.

See, not nuts at all….

Posted by: | 05-12-2005 | 08:05 AM
Posted in: Uncategorized


  1. I thought you were kidding about the switcher but mabe you are not about the train.


    Comment by dad — 5/13/2005 @ 2:37 pm
  2. Oh yeah??? C’mon, Tim…ALL model Railroaders are nuts!

    Comment by Lance Russwurm — 5/17/2005 @ 11:34 am
  3. When I was in high school in the late 1970s the department of public works of my NE town finally began to rip up the streetcar tracks that had been abandoned 40 years before. I saw a two-and-a-half-foot length of rail by the side of the road — and persuaded my mother to drive our station wagon to the spot and conned my sister into helping me lug in into the car. My word, that thing was heavy.

    Some thirty years later I assume it still sits in my parents’ garage.

    Your site and RR are absolutely terrific: a wonderful inspiration as I return to model railroading, with my five-year-old-son this time, after a long, long absence.

    Comment by Michael B Shavelson — 8/8/2005 @ 1:33 pm

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