Every so often a railroad will recycle its discarded signaling apparatus until the less vital world of grade crossing warning devices. After all a flashing light is a flashing light. This can give life to signals far beyond their typical sell by date. Perhaps one of the more (in)famous examples are track circuit fed warning lamps placed at a number of N&W private crossings in West Virgina. These used surplus N&W amber PL-2 position light signals as track occupancy lights that extinguish when the circuit is shunted by an approaching train in the block.
Now I know some of you might be saying that I am cheating as those PL marker lamps may have been installed new, instead of used, but in a related use case the Cape May Seashore Line has employed surplus PL-3 lamps as so called "snitch lights" on its rather unreliable grade crossing equipment as seen in this 2005 photo.
|Look above the crossing flashers for the amber light.|
The extra pair of flashers had been installed because cars pulled up to the crossing would not be otherwise able to see the flashers above them.
|Check out that hexagonal charm|
Unfortunately the Cumberland examples were replaced before I could get good photos of them (how many times can a signal be replaced?), but fortunately I know of at least one other example of this type of signal reuse and it is transit accessible!
At the famous SEPTA Route 11 - CSX Philly Sub grade crossing, a pair of former B&O semaphores stand guard on the sidewalks stopping cyclists and pedestrians from crossing the tracks.
I wasn't joking. The B&O (or Chessie System) literally replaced the semaphore blade with a red and white striped crossing gate and put it into service.
These are 90% as "good" as a in service signaling semaphore. The train approaches the semaphore drops, the train leaves it goes back up again. All that's missing is the / position so just pretend you're in manual block territory.
Combine the semaphore crossing gates with old school cantilever flasher masts, frequent trolleys rumbling over an active railroad main line and a nearby B&O CPL signaled interlocking and you have perhaps the most interesting level crossing in the country.