RAILROAD SIGNALS of the U.S.
Pinnacles / Finials
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This section covers pinnacles, also known as finials. These "things" are decorative caps affixed to the top end of an open signal or crossing gate pole.
A hundred years ago, these things were very elaborate, ornate, and heavy as can be seen below. They used to be heavy cast iron pieces. With an ever increasing pressure to make things quicker, cheaper, and lighter, most new finials are now simple pipe caps made out of aluminum, similar to what you would buy a home improvement center to stick on the end of a piece of PVC pipe to cap it off.
After a discussion on the Yahoo Railway Signaling group, it was decided that pinnacle and final are interchangeable.
On the left.... A plain finial
sitting atop a CPL signal in south Baltimore is a finial like the one below.
On the right, the same style finial on top of a sign pole, but not sure what those wires are for.... It's just down the track & to the left from the CPL shown here.
A couple of crossing signal installations (and their finials) on Annapolis Rd, near Manokin St in the Westport section of Baltimore MD.
One clean, one not!
It fits a 5" pipe, and is about 6 1/2" high.
Locking Bolt and nut, the nut tightens against the casting, the bolt head is 3/4".
Rusty things like these clean up real nice in a sand blasting cabinet -- if you don't have access to one, they can be had for around $80 from places like Northern Tools or Harbor Freight - you will need a hefty air compressor tho, as they use a lot of it!
A finial on a WRRS pedestrian crossing gate.
It fits a 5" pipe, and is 4 1/2" high.
It measures 17 1/2" from just under the skirt to the top, 22 1/2" total height,
And about 7 1/2" across the wide skirt,
The inside diameter looks to be 5 1/2",
I bought two of these from a scrap yard in Roanoke VA in 1999.
The one in the picture was damaged from being cut off the pole,
The other one is still affixed (welded) to a short section of pole.
A variety of finials seen at the Gaithersburg MD train show 11/5/2006.
The cap on the right would typically go on top of a pole where wires had to come out....
Thanks to Bill Hudson for reminding me it is called a weatherhead.
BTW, Bill has several cool things goin on
the internet, check them out at:
This interesting finial measures about 18" tall,
The picture is courtesy Tim W in Knoxville TN, many thanks Tim
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Last Updated: 04/23/2014