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Monday, February 13, 2012

Vintage Japanese Signalling Film

Now here is a little gem that proves the rule that sometimes the best way to learn about domestic history is to go abroad.  This two part YouTube scan of a 1950's Japanese public information film on railway signaling starts off like you would expect, lots of lower quadrant semaphores and block instruments.  However you will soon notice a US&S Style-S electro-mechanical lever frame...and then the entire second half of the film is dedicated to the operation of an electro-pneumatic plant operated by a rather impressive US&S Model 14 machine.

Now the entire film is in Japanese with no subtitles, but it really doesn't matter.  The film is spot on showing action on the Model 14 and the corresponding action in the field.  They get it all right, signal levers display signals and switch levers display switches.  You can see in detail the exact way one goes about throwing a lever.  Also on display is the Japanese system of Say-Point-Do (and sometime point again).  Where the train director issues a command, the leverman repeated it, points at the lever to be operated, operates the lever, points at the change in indication then states the action is complete.  The Japanese put American operators to shame (and its not the first time).  Anyway, here are the videos and if you get bored the Model 14 machine stuff picks up immediately in the second part.

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