Saturday, April 16, 2016

Modeling Danbury - Signature Structures, Signal Station 198

Signal Station 198

The purpose of signal station 198 was to protect and align the crossovers of the junction point at Danbury CT between the station loop tracks and the Maybrook main line that passes thru Danbury, see map below. This signal station located in the Danbury yard was not a tower like most as it had no assigned operator. The structure was more of a shed to protect the levers that controlled the crossovers and was manned by a switch tender when necessary.

Click to enlarge photos

The Structure

Signal Station 198 a small wood frame structure most likely had a foot print of about 8' x 16'. This structure may have been added on to or could have been the combination of two separate shack like structures, it is hard to tell from the very few photos that exist. Color and sheathing also change over time, the structure longer stands.

The photo below shows railroad east end of SS 198 possibly in the Penn Central era. The siding has been changed from the original clapboards in this era.

This photo shows the railroad west end in the late 40's or early 50's. Clapboard siding on the structure in this photo and the possibility of an approximate 2' addition to this end at one time.

Courtesy Ronald High Collection

A rare color photo of the west side in the early 50's shows the color need for the modeling era of the layout. The RDC sits on track #6, the station platform track. Just to the front of the RDC is the crossover to the east bound Maybrook main track #2.

Courtesy Tom Curtin Collection

A photo from the Maybrook main line side. One must assume that the bells that hang on this side were used to summon the switch tender when needed. The McGinnis paint job on EP-2 322 and the partial skirting still on the coach next to it date this photo 1957 - early 58.

This is a photo I took of a photo that hangs in the Danbury Rail Museum . At an angle and in the distance, but this photo captures the hard to find yard side of SS 198 in the 1950's.
I did not take note of the photographer, but his may be a Peter C McLachlan photo.

An Important Observation

While gathering information to build a model of SS 198 I was sharing photos with fellow modeler Dan Vandermause who is building the same structure in S scale. Observantly he noticed that the structure had a wider end (east) and a narrow end (west) and that the narrow end had different sheathing on the yard side only.

Below are the photos he sent back to me noted with his discoveries that are crucial to building accurate models.

The Model SS 198

Assembling the model is a simple scratch building exercise using Evergreen styrene strips, sheets, clapboard and V-grove siding with Tichy windows and doors. The photo below shows the main pieces laid out flat before assembly.

This is the yard side with the notch in the structure after assembly, this is the side that will be seen when it is installed on the layout. Scratch built doors fit into the Tichy frames.

This is the side that faces the Maybrook main. The 2' addition detail was omitted because this side will not be seen when SS 198 is on the layout.

A light, rain gutter and pallet like deck with railing have been added as in the 57-58 prototype photo above.

Here the model has been painted in prototype color for the era of the layout. Accompanying SS 198 in this photo is the oil pump house that is part of the motor service group that will be the subject of the next post.

The final photo SS 198 is in place on the layout.

In this photo New York to Pittsfield train #140 has just left Danbury station at 10:29 am after receiving clearance from the switch tender by displaying a yellow flag indicating that the crossover has been aligned to the east bound Maybrook main. As seen in prototype photos the flag has now returned to its usual location resting against the railing. Train #140 will continue on the east bound Maybrook main for 3 miles to signal station 199 at Berkshire junction where it will crossover to the Berkshire line for another 86 miles north to a termination at Pittsfield MA.

The model consist in this photo is the same as the prototype photo in the blog header. Equipment is not turned at Pittsfield, therefore the south bound prototype photo in the blog header 0504 is running in the opposite direction and pinned to the baggage express car.

A special thank you to Tom Curtin, Ronald High and Dan Vandermause for information and photos that made building this model possible.


  1. Looks great Joe and you make it look easier than it is! I just attempted to build a brick car bulkhead for 19100 and failed miserably!

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