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Harp switch stands.

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  • bolsen187@frontier.com
    Why did they disappear? Was it because they were not illuminated? It seems to me to be very easy to see which way the turnout is for old eyes on a well
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 17, 2013
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      Why did they disappear? Was it because they were not illuminated? It seems to me to be very easy to see which way the turnout is for old eyes on a well illuminated layout. Now all I have to do is find a reliable source for them. I still have a few old brass ones. Blayne
    • Mike Bauers
      re: Why did harps-throws phase out ???? Look at the size and the cross section of the units. They are somewhat delicate and thin enough to bend or break due to
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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        re: Why did harps-throws phase out ????

        Look at the size and the cross section of the units. They are somewhat delicate and thin enough to bend or break due to the size and shape of the main parts. The throw arm has to freely move through those shoulder high arches.

        The large harp could be bent from incident and be difficult to force back into a freely moving guide for the levers. If the larger harp parts were cast, they would be too vulnerable to being bent out of shape and snapping. Once bent the throw would jam, also once the harp broke, the throw arm would be almost useless..

        You'll see by comparison that the following types of manual throws have much thicker castings for the working parts and the works are low to the ground. The elevated visual signal parts of those other makes of throws have the target on a rod or tube that can be more easily damaged and can be replaced without damage to the relatively heavily reinforced mechanism below it.

        Best to ya...
        Mike Bauers
        Milwaukee, Wi, USA
      • Jerry Day
        ... Harp stands are hard to operate. It takes two people to use the ones at the Colorado RR Museum. You will see photos of them bent as the crews had to push
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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          --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "bolsen187@..." <bolsen187@...> wrote:
          >
          > Why did they disappear? Was it because they were not illuminated? It seems to me to be very easy to see which way the turnout is for old eyes on a well illuminated layout.

          Harp stands are hard to operate. It takes two people to use the ones at the Colorado RR Museum. You will see photos of them bent as the crews had to push so hard on them to move the rails. Stub switches were out at the rail got heavier to the point where you could not bend the rail. About 65 pounds was the heaviest rail that could be used on a stub switch.

          The last stub switch on the D&RGW narrow gauge is at Rockwood, Colorado on the Silverton branch. There is a standard gauge stub switch at the Wasson Wye on the Creede branch.

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/photos/album/2105208084/pic/1990278428/view?picmode=large&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&dir=asc

          Jerry Day
        • David Barron
          Jerry, The two spreader bars on the movable rails, were they a single piece each that had to be slipped over the stub end of the rails or were they more than
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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            Jerry,
            The two spreader bars on the movable rails, were they a single piece each
            that had to be slipped over the stub end of the rails or were they more than
            one piece that were assembled in place? Also, this is the best photo I have
            ever seen of a stub switch showing the slide plates to keep the rails in
            perfect alignment once thrown. That explains a lot. Thanks for the great
            photo Jerry. Dave


            Why did they disappear? Was it because they were not illuminated? It seems
            to me to be very easy to see which way the turnout is for old eyes on a well
            illuminated layout.

            Harp stands are hard to operate. It takes two people to use the ones at the
            Colorado RR Museum. You will see photos of them bent as the crews had to
            push so hard on them to move the rails. Stub switches were out at the rail
            got heavier to the point where you could not bend the rail. About 65 pounds
            was the heaviest rail that could be used on a stub switch.

            The last stub switch on the D&RGW narrow gauge is at Rockwood, Colorado on
            the Silverton branch. There is a standard gauge stub switch at the Wasson
            Wye on the Creede branch.

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/photos/album/2105208084/pic/1990278428/vi
            ew?picmode=large&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&dir=asc

            Jerry Day
          • Mike Chaney
            I ve successfully installed PSC brass harp stands operated from the throw bar - and very useful they are too! I don t see the problem. Mike Chaney
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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              I've successfully installed PSC brass harp stands operated from the throw
              bar - and very useful they are too! I don't see the problem.

              Mike Chaney
            • Jerry Day
              ... Another reason the harp stands were removed was they were too close to the rails for the use of snow spreaders and Jordan Spreaders that the D&RGW put into
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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                - In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, "bolsen187@..." <bolsen187@...> wrote:
                >
                > Why did they disappear? Was it because they were not illuminated? It seems to me to be very easy to see which way the turnout is for old eyes on a well illuminated layout. Now all I have to do is find a reliable source for them. I still have a few old brass ones. Blayne
                >
                Another reason the harp stands were removed was they were too close to the rails for the use of snow spreaders and Jordan Spreaders that the D&RGW put into use in the 1920s. A brakeman was killed at Pitkin in 1929 when the wing of Spreader OV hit the harp stand and knocked it into him. These were old South Park switch stands, but the D&RGW ones had the same problem.

                1929 newspaper account...
                M. Thornell Badly Hurt in Pitkin RR Yards
                Monday afternoon, just as the doubleheader backed onto the wye to turn, preparatory to starting out of town, Brakeman J.M. Thornell was caught between the snow spreader and the switch stand and sustained injuries that proved to be very serious.

                The train that day had run two engines, one equipped with the regulation flanger, while the other was pulling a wide, sturdily built snow spreader, for throwing the snow more than twice the distance from the track as does the flanger.

                When Mr. Thornell went to the switch to make the change, he apparently did not gage the width of the new snow plow and was struck across the right side of the head with a projecting beam. He was thrown against the switch stand and his head and right arm were badly crushed by the impact. He was knocked unconscious and was picked up by the train crew and taken to the depot. Most fortunately Dr. McDonough was on the train and was able to minister to the injured man.


                Jerry Day
              • Dunlevy, Bruce
                Actually, they put in a stub switch in Silverton that goes into the Silverton Northern enginehouse where #315 is kept. Fritz Klinke has photos on his Flickr
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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                  Actually, they put in a stub switch in Silverton that goes into the Silverton Northern enginehouse where #315 is kept. Fritz Klinke has photos on his Flickr account.

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/53177163@N00/5879505459/in/photostream/
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/53177163@N00/5879513561/in/photostream/

                  It was installed 2010-2011.

                  Bruce Dunlevy


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jim Vail
                  The harp switch stands were bent so they would clear the cylinders and/or plows on the K series locomotives when the target was thrown towards the track. Jim
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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                    The harp switch stands were bent so they would clear the cylinders
                    and/or plows on the K series locomotives when the target was thrown
                    towards the track.

                    Jim Vail
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > You will see photos of them bent as the crews had to push so hard on
                    > them to move the rails.
                    >
                    > Jerry Day
                    >
                    >
                    > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJwb2l1dDQ5BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE0MTI3MwRncnBzcElkAzE3MDUwNjMxMDcEbXNnSWQDODI2MjQEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcnBseQRzdGltZQMxMzY2Mjk2NDU5?act=reply&messageNum=82624>
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • bolsen187@frontier.com
                    Thanks to all. The collective knowledge of this forum is always spot on and complete. Blayne
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 18, 2013
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                      Thanks to all. The collective knowledge of this forum is always spot on and complete. Blayne
                    • Hart Corbett
                      FWIW, my father photographed a harp switchstand being thrown for the mainline switch to a wye in May 1949. I was standing beside him at age 12 and we were
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 23, 2013
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                        FWIW, my father photographed a harp switchstand being thrown for the mainline switch to a wye in May 1949. I was standing beside him at age 12 and we were standing on the rear platform of standard gauge Virginia & Truckee RR combine no.18. The combine was being used as a caboose on the "Minden Mixed Train", a freight train which had just finished switching cars and then turning on the Minden, NV, wye and was about to head back to Carson City, NV. The man throwing the harp switch stand was named LaMessena (per my late friend Ted Wurm) and he was the conductor of the train. No one helped him with the harp.

                        Dad's photo is a good one and clearly illustrates a harp switchstand in use. Apologies for using a photo from a standard gauge railroad!

                        The photo is in the Photos section of this HOn3 List's website in an album titled Harp Switch Stand in Use. The direct link is:

                        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOn3/photos/album/5347337/pic/269573502/view?picmode=&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&count=20&dir=asc

                        With best regards, Hart
                      • John Stutz
                        We use SPC (Central Pacific) style harp stands to throw 3 gauge stub switches at the Railroad Museum in Ardenwood Regional Park, Newark CA. If you are ever
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 23, 2013
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                          We use SPC (Central Pacific) style harp stands to throw 3' gauge stub switches
                          at the Railroad Museum in Ardenwood Regional Park, Newark CA. If you are ever
                          in the area, come out and look them over. The park is open year round, normally
                          10:00AM-4:00PM, but closed on Mondays. If you ask the train crew, they may let
                          you try throwing one.

                          The real problem is with the stub switches. Rails expand under the hot sun, and
                          if clearances are small when cold, they may jam in the head blocks. Rails may
                          also walk over time, closing the clearances. When a rail jams, it can take a
                          large man's full weight, hanging from the mast with feet on the stand, to shift
                          the swing rails. I've done it often enough, usually during our Fall Rail Fair
                          when we had to keep traffic moving while working on the switch.

                          I suspect that a geared rotary stand gives greater leverage, and that when
                          throwing it one is pushing against the ground, with greater force than can be
                          had by hanging from a harp stand's mast.

                          John Stutz
                        • Tom
                          We have a 3-way stub switch (std gauge)and harp stand at CA State RR Museum in Sacramento. It is on tracks leading from CPPS (used for equipment storeage).
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                            We have a 3-way stub switch (std gauge)and harp stand at CA State RR Museum in Sacramento. It is on tracks leading from CPPS (used for equipment storeage). This switch has to be used many times during a week (guess 200-300+ times per year). No problems with a single person operating it with the exception of VERY hot days (temps in 100 F range) - as John described expansion can bind things up!
                            Tom Peterman

                            --- In HOn3@yahoogroups.com, John Stutz <John.C.Stutz@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > We use SPC (Central Pacific) style harp stands to throw 3' gauge stub switches
                            > at the Railroad Museum in Ardenwood Regional Park, Newark CA. If you are ever
                            > in the area, come out and look them over. The park is open year round, normally
                            > 10:00AM-4:00PM, but closed on Mondays. If you ask the train crew, they may let
                            > you try throwing one.
                            >
                            > The real problem is with the stub switches. Rails expand under the hot sun, and
                            > if clearances are small when cold, they may jam in the head blocks. Rails may
                            > also walk over time, closing the clearances. When a rail jams, it can take a
                            > large man's full weight, hanging from the mast with feet on the stand, to shift
                            > the swing rails. >
                            > John Stutz
                            >
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