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News from 7/8/2000

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SEMAPHORES.COM - August 2000 News Update- A few thoughts on the CSX semaphore auction (7/8/00) in Rushville, IN.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------- The vast majority of credit for this rare event goes to Pete Delfox (CSX Mid -West Region General Supervisor of Signal Construction). Without Pete's vision and commitment to historical preservation there would have been no auction. Much thanks also goes to auctioneer Archie Arthur (CSX Consultant-Resource Recovery) and Ric Brown (CSX Signal Construction Technician Extraordinaire). Corporate logos do not make things happen. The auction was the result of personal commitment and extra effort from a few individuals working together as a team. Semaphores.com would like to thank all CSX persons involved in making the auction both a reality and a success. Around 8:00 AM the auction briefing began in a meeting room at the Holiday Inn Express (Rushville, IN). A total of 24 bidders (from WI, OH, IN, IL, MI, FL and parts unknown) signed in to participate. The days first phase involved scrutinizing the masts and mechanisms which were stored in Rushville. Overall the mechanisms were in excellent condition and appeared to have been reconditioned around 1972 (based B&O tags inside). Also collected in Rushville were old sheet metal relay cases, concrete CF Massey Phone Booths and concrete battery boxes. It was later determined that very few signal collectors or museums specialize in concrete battery boxes (i.e. buyers could not be found). The actual auction took place in Morristown at the old and tastefully restored Morristown station (currently utilized as an insurance agency). Participants examined the lamps, pinnacles, spectacles+blades, and spare mechanisms between 10-11:00 AM. The auction started with complete semaphore signals. To almost everyone's surprise and delight, Mike Wangler(of Indiana) stepped forward and placed the winning bid on the entire State Street Yard double-masted bracket post semaphore. CSX employees deserve much credit for encouraging this unique item to be preserved intact. Also, hats off to Mike for having the wherewithal to both purchase and remove this 7000 lb item. Typical intact block signals sold between $1100-1400 each. Depending on quality and auction dynamics individual items garnered the following prices: lamps + brackets $40-160; masts + mechanisms $200-320; spectacles + blades $200-415; lone mechanisms $165-300; extra motors $50; CPL (high signal) $350; relay cases $20; and concrete phone booths $100. Once all the bidding and paperwork was completed, bidders needed to claim their items. To my knowledge there were no problems or confusions which led to conflict among participants. In general, a team spirit formed amongst the bidders claiming masts and mechanisms in Rushville. There was quite to bit of work to be done and Ric Brown (CSX employee) helped tremendously with this task. Ultimately CSX generated approximately $24,000 from the sale of the retired signal materials. This amount was substantially more than would have been generated through the sale of scrap steel ($0.30 per ton). It is hoped that CSX can find utility and value in future events which enable the sale of retired signals. These events require a leader with vision and a personal commitment. Someone who is willing to take on extra responsibilities which include planning and organizing resources.We should do our best to encourage CSX on future projects and always remember that attendance of such events is our distinct privilege and not our right. Eric Schmelz






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