Great Northern Lamp Chart

Many railroad lamps from the Great Northern Railway were marked with numbers designating the style of lamp. This wasn't necessarily the case with all GN lamps, but many show up with tags that not only indicate railroad ownership but also a number.

In 1919, the railroad published a chart indicating various lamp types along with railroad-designated numbers. The chart also includes instructions for lamp maintenance. This chart has been reproduced by an unknown source, and a copy is posted here for reference. Click on the image at right for a bigger, readable version, but note that the file is about 1MB, so download time on a slow connection may be epic. We don't know of any other railroads that developed their own lamp numbering system; however, there is always the possibility that others did so.

Shown below is a Great Northern Railway #9 "interlocking and block signal" lamp. Collectors sometimes refer to this style of lamp with a single lense as a "semaphore lamp". When this lamp was purchased, it had an internal socket in place of the fuel font and a heavy duty cord for outdoor use. This electrification was probably done by the railroad, a fairly common practice when railroads were moving away from combustible fuels for lamps and lanterns. Click on any image below for a larger version.


A website visitor sent in additional photos of #9 lamps, but some of these have been electrified and shortened by the railroad. The shortening was done apparently by cutting off the upper smoke dome portion and rewelding the top. Click on any image below for a larger version. [Thanks to JH!]


For more information on this general type of railroad lighting, see the Railroad Lamps page.