JeffPo's Adlake Bellbottom main line Switch Lamp Page

Last update:  11/05/07

This is a railroad switch lamp made by the Adlake company.  This model  has a bellbottom design.  Instead of a mounting socket on the bottom, it has a tube on each side that would fit on a fork that extended from the railroad switch mechanism.  I've added brass lens coupler rings from the Krise Depot to dress the lamp up a bit.  I've also added a brass latch spring for the upper lid because the previous one was bent and broken.  The lid is also lightly engraved with UPRR which stands for Union Pacific Railroad.

The purpose of the switch lamp was to let the train engineer know which way a particular railroad switch was set.  It could be set to be straight ahead, along the railroad line that was being traveled, or it could be set to a railroad siding line.

The fuel fount and burner are what powered the switch lamp.  Kerosene was used as the fuel.  The wire handle on this one bowed out from the sides.  I'm not sure why this one is different from my other one.  The glass burner chimney helped to keep the flame from going out and also helped it burn more efficiently.

A red signal would let the train engineer know that the railroad switch was set to the siding.  Notice the dent in the lamp body, under the lens?  That dent is very deep and is also present in the fuel fount.  In fact, it means the fuel fount can only fit one way inside the lamp because now it is "molded" with the lamp.  I tried knocking the dent out of the body, but couldn't get it to budge.  I'm afraid to hit it too hard.  A possible source of the dent might be a rock being thrown up by a passing locomotive.  But given how deep it is, and how uniform it is, I suspect someone with a pellet gun might have been getting in some target practice.

A green signal would let the train engineer know that the railroad switch was set to straight ahead.  Although this lens appears aqua blue in natural light, the yellow kerosene powered flame would cause it to glow with a green hue.


Union Pacific Railroad

A Union Pacific "Big Boy". One of the largest steam locomotives ever built.

The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) is the largest railroad network in the United States .  UP's route map covers most of the central and western United States west of Chicago and New Orleans  The UP was incorporated in 1862 with the first rails being laid in Omaha, Nebraska.  It was part of the railroads that came together at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869 as the first transcontinental railroad in North America .  Like many early railroads, the UP went through its share of financial troubles.  It first filed for bankruptcy in the 1870s and was reorganized as the Union Pacific Railway in 1880.  But the new company declared bankruptcy in 1893 and emerged in 1897 with its old name of Union Pacific Railroad.  It actually took control of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1901 but gave up that control in 1913 by order the U.S. Supreme Court.  The UP also founded the Sun Valley resort in Idaho .  And with history repeating itself, the UP finally acquired the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1996.

The Union Pacific currently owns and operates track in 23 U.S. states.  It has direct control of over 54,000 miles of track.  Due to the practice of locomotive leasing and sharing youíll often see UP locomotives on competitor's tracks throughout the country.  Iíve seen my local Norfolk & Southern Railroad using yellow Union Pacific locomotives.


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