JeffPo's Handlan Slow Order Lamp Page

Last update:  10/18/11


This is a slow order lamp made by the Handlan Buck company.  It stands about 13 inches tall (not including the handle).  The single yellow/amber lens is about 4.5" in diameter.  This particular lamp was used on the Union Pacific Railroad as you can see by the small attached "UP RR" tag on the front.  This lamp would have been used in conjunction with a blue (signal green) resume speed lamp.

Here you can see the rectangular mounting sleeve on the side.

With the sliding door raised, you can see the fuel fount and burner inside.

As you can see in this image with the lamp fired up, that illuminated yellow lens can really grab your attention!


Slow Order Lamps

Slow order lamps were movable track side signals used by railroad working crews.  When work crews were scheduled to work on a section of track or bridge, the dispatcher would issue a Train Order for all trains operating on that section of track.  The order let the train crew know that they needed to proceed with caution and be prepared to stop as they encountered men and machinery.  While the dispatcher knew exactly the starting and stopping points on the section of track that was being worked on, the work crews could be at various points along this section.  There could even be multiple crews working along this section of track.  The train engineer didn't know exactly where he might encounter the work crews along that section.  As an added precaution for safety, a single lens yellow lamp such as this one would be placed on a stake driven into the ground beside of the railroad track, one mile before the current location of the work crew.  A single lens green signal would be placed at the end of the last work area.  This let train engineer know that he could now safely resume speed because there were no other workers ahead of him.  As the work crews moved along the section of track during the day, they would move the signal lamps accordingly.

NOTE:  Thanks and credit to Red Beard the Railroad Raider for providing information on how these lamps were used.


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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