Tag Archives: semaphore

Russians Visiting My Blog — Finding A Russian, i.e., Cyrillic, Search String ‘семафор’.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

According to the ‘Flag Counter‘ Stats (on the sidebar) this blog has had 1,743 hits from Russia over the last few years. That, 0.14% of my overall hits, is neither here nor there, so to speak. These ‘Flag Counter’ stats nor the WordPress.com provided stats I am forced to rely on, will, however, give me any clue as to how these Russian hits go here (i.e., what they were looking for) or what posts they looked at. C’est la vie. You have to assume that SOME of my varied topics might be of interest — AND I do have a published book in Russian!

But, today, I was surprised to find an actual cyrillic search string in my stats, viz. семафор. [See above.]

Thanks to the magic of Google, I could obviously get it translated at once.

It means ‘Semaphore’.

And, I do indeed have posts on semaphores though I am sure the Russians were looking for that term in the context of computer programming — and not, as is in my case, railway signals. I feel bad.

Related posts:
++++ Search ‘blog’ or  ‘wordpress’ >>>>

by Anura Guruge

Alton’s Disgrace — Our NEGLECTED Historic Railway Semaphore.

by Anura Guruge

Alton Bay, New Hampshire.

Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

I have been trying for 5-years to get the town, i.e., the Town of Alton, to take care of these historic railway semaphores.

They are in theory PROTECTED by some State statute but nobody enforces it.

The ‘Lady’ responsible for taking care of these just does NOT care. She has other, more amusing distractions.

I talked to an Alton ‘Parks & Rec’ employee, who I know, who happened to be there about it. He agreed it was a SHAME.

They should be painted and painted CORRECTLY — at least one red arm. The lens should be replaced.

This in unbecoming of Alton.

Related posts:
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by Anura Guruge

Alton (N.H.) Parks & Rec: Deanna & Others Complain About Lack Of Summer 2015 Programs + Pathetic Web Presence.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

A Few Related posts:
** All Black semaphores in Alton.
** Semaphores in need of urgent attention.

>> Alton Library presentation.
Mr. Shaffer’s last “Bring a Loved One for Lunch”.
Alton’s “Northeast Security” ….. ……

++++ Search on ‘Alton’ for all the other posts >>>>

Click to ENLARGE.


This IS THE Alton (NH) ‘Parks & Rec’ Website. I kid you not. Note that it has very little 2015 schedules — but has a registration from 2013 – 2014. This is pitiful even by Alton standards.


Alton (NH) ‘Parks & Rec’ Facebook page. Last post was 2 weeks ago. I can’t see any mention of the Summer 2015 program. This is a DISGRACE.

Click to ENLARGE and read here.

This ‘thread’ is on the “Alton Community” Facebook. Interesting cast of characters commenting.


IF not for the fact that I have a fairly shrewd idea as to how SHE keeps her $60,000/year job I would be confused as to how she manages to get away with what she does. Nice.

I am trying hard not to say anything too disparaging about her because one of her kids is in Teischan’s class. But she has driven me to distraction and beyond when I tried to get our historic and now near derelict railway semaphore signals, at Alton Bay, repaired and painted.

As folks are commenting Alton’s Park & Rec efforts pale into insignificance compared to those offered by New Durham and Wolfeboro. It is a simple fix. Lets get a new Director. This one has been marking time ( …. ) for too long.

Strange, Slightly Unsettling Letter About Alton Parks & Rec. In Today’s ‘Laconia Sun’.



 ..by Anura Guruge

Last Related Alton Parks & Rec. Post:
The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore … — Nov. 22, 2012.

In Friday, April 12, 2013 'The Laconia Daily Sun' letter section. Click to access.

In Friday, April 12, 2013 ‘The Laconia Daily Sun’ letter section. Click to access.

I think I get the gist of this. Not really sure who these ‘department directors’ that he is talking about. I didn’t think they were that big to have multiple directors. That they were giving out $3,000 bonuses caught me by surprise. I did not realize Alton gave out bonuses such as this. I guess I live and learn.

Alton Christmas Tree Lighting 2012 Will Be On Saturday, December 1, 2012.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
1. Wolfeboro, NH, Christmas Tree Lighting, 2012 — Nov. 24, 2012.
2. The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton
>>Nov. 22, 2012.

The annual Christmas tree lighting in Alton, for 2012, will be on Saturday, December 1, 2012.

You will NOT find that crucial piece of information in the press release that was put out, about the tree lightning, by the Alton ‘Parks and Recreation’ department — the same group responsible for the poor, abused railway semaphore signals at Alton Bay (not to mention the unscheduled fireworks on ‘Old Home Day). Yes, they put out a press release WITHOUT the day and ‘The Baysider‘, as ever obliging, printed it, verbatim, on Thursday, November 22, 2012 — assuming that all interested parties must have ESP.

Here check it out if you find it hard to believe that somebody could put out a press release for an event WITHOUT mentioning when it was taking place!

Click image to access ‘The Baysider’ original if you want to see it with your own two eyes to believe this ludicrousness.

Yes, Josh Spaulding, my friend, the esteemed editor of ‘The Baysider‘ should have checked and fixed it. But, to be fair to Josh, he really is beyond busy and rushed — and he doesn’t have that many qualified staff to help him. So I am loath to blame Josh. He really tries so hard to please all and works like a crazy person. [He is the only person that I know who makes me feel as if I am idle].

It is not just Josh. All the Editors that work for ‘Salmon Press‘ do this — i.e., publish press releases without checking them. A couple years ago I was appalled to read a press release in the Wolfeboro, ‘Granite State News, by a local artist who claimed to be a ‘voyeur‘! Voyeurism is a felony in NH. So here we have a newspaper printing a statement where somebody claims to be a voyeur. I was perturbed enough to e-mail the editor and ask him whether he noticed it. He said he did, but was too busy to clarify or change it. So he just printed it. As far as I know the Wolfeboro or Alton police never investigated this. Hhhhmmm.

The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH. What A Sight.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
Δ The Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH — In Desperate Need Of Attention — Aug. 9, 2012.
Δ Lakes Region (NH) Economy Booming Per Local Builders — Oct. 18, 2012.
Δ Alton, NH Property Tax Rate: Highest It Has Been In Last 5 Years — Nov. 19, 2012.

The now painted all black railway semaphore signals above the 'Old Railway Station' in Alton, NH by Anura Guruge

The now painted all black railway semaphore signals above the ‘Old Railway Station’ in Alton, NH. It is possible that they got it 50% right, which is not too bad, considering. Click to ENLARGE.

A bit of background: The desperately sorry state of these semaphore signals were brought to my attention in early August of this year. I contacted the lady who runs Alton Parks and Recreation, this building being a part of their domain. I kind of knew her given that our kids went to the same school. She indicated that they hoped to get to it ‘this fall‘. Given that I don’t like to ask people to do things without offering to help, I did offer to do any research required to determine the correct colors and marking (this not being too much of a chore given that I do love all things trains).

Come October I found out that the chief maintenance person at ‘Parks & Recs.’ had taken a 3 week vacation. I was getting concerned. From the little I know, it gets difficult to paint outside when the temperature is below 40°F, and I had heard that NH had had its first frost. In mid-October I happened to meet the ‘lady in charge’ at a school function. A major impediment according to her was that the maintenance folks wanted a ‘Cherry Picker’ [i.e., hydraulic bucket lift] to do the painting! The irony that the builders that build that station or much of the railways in the NE did not have ‘Cherry Pickers’ escaped her. Those semaphores, which actually have a ladder attached to them (as can be clearly seen in the picture) probably have never had any work done to them via a ‘Cherry Picker’. Since she was reluctant to ask the Alton Fire Dept. for help, she said that she would consider hiring an outside contractor. I contacted, unsuccessfully, three local builders to get a quote.

A few days later I called the Alton Town Administrator, E. Russell Bailey, and left him a voice mail. He never called me back. A couple of weeks later, actually on Election Day, November 6, the local newspaper reporter stopped by after the polls closed for some pizza. I started telling him about the poor semaphores since he is local and grew up in Alton. He stopped me mid-sentence and said it had been brought up at the last Selectman’s Meeting and permission had been given to use a town ‘Cherry Picker’ (which I assume was from the fire department). I even read about it, albeit just one sentence, in the paper the following week.

Then towards the end of last week, I think it might have been Thursday, I got an e-mail from ‘Parks and Recs’ asking whether I had seen the freshly painted signals. I had not. The next day I went looking armed with my ‘point-and-click’ camera. I was mortified. Both arms were black. It was like an omen. ‘Black‘ is so symbolic. As it happens, Alton which I think prides itself of preserving some historic railway artifacts actually has another semaphore signal — basically at the back of the Town Hall. We drove around to have a look at that. That is not in great shape either, but you could clearly see the Red Arm. So that is where we are. They never asked me to research the colors and obviously they couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves. Now it is possible that this could be color blindness problem. But, I think I finally found a plausible explanation. Please refer to the last picture.

So today, after Thanksgiving and doing a post on a cardinal that turned 80, I did some quick research on the Web.

Quickly found this picture of the Alton Bay Station taken on 14 October 2008. You can clearly see that one arm is red.

Extracted from a picture on ‘flickr’ by a ‘kla4067’, Ron Reiring. Click image to access his original. My thanks to him. This was a great help.

Then I also found this, though this is NOT of the Alton semaphore, though you can immediately see that it is a similar set of signals.

Extracted from another ‘flickr’ image, this one from t55z T (again with thanks). Click image to access his original. This time you can’t mistake the red arm and you can clearly see that the hardware is more or less identical to what we have in Alton.

Then I found this. Bingo. A ‘Boston and Maine‘. Looks very similar to the application in Alton. I think it is what might be characterized as a ‘yard signal‘. The red arm acts as a stop signal for the main line. The other arm has to do with local operations. I really haven’t researched it. I am more familiar with the British style, two quadrant, signals which act in tandem like a two digit binary number giving you 4 possible modes of operation.

This looks like a great example of how these ‘yard signals’ were used by ‘Boston & Maine’

More contemporary. The Downeaster in Durmham, NH

In a museum.

If Alton did do any research this was probably the picture they used. Enough said.

Lakes Region (NH) Economy Booming Per Local Builders.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

The economy around here, i.e., Lakes Region, NH,
must be booming per what I heard from
three local builders yesterday.

No wonder it is Romney country. The folks around here, us being the exceptions, must be making so much money that their taxes must be through the roof. And there was poor me (with the emphasis on ‘poor’) thinking that folks around here, especially those in the building industry, were not doing that well. Silly me. What doesn’t add up, per what Bill Clinton would say is ‘arithmetic‘, is how come all these people thrash President Obama and what he has done to the economy WHEN they are doing so well — better than they have ever done from what I can see, and I have had a place up here since 1991.

I am still agitating to get Old Railway Semaphore signals in Alton Bay painted — per this post in early August 2012. I happened to meet the young lady in charge of this at Alton Central School (ACS) yesterday and she said that she intends to get some estimates for the painting job from local builders/painters. Since I know a few, I decided to push things along a bit by approaching them and telling them to submit bids. I personally met with two yesterday afternoon and spoke with the third by phone. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

They laughed at me. They basically said that they MIGHT be able to get around to providing an estimate this time NEXT YEAR! That is how busy they are. One of them, who specializes in constructing crème de la crème waterfront houses said he was fully booked for the next few years! And they say that we have had a downturn in construction. The other two, both well known local contractors, said they were booked well into June of 2013!

I am delighted for them. They were all very chuffed themselves. Couldn’t stop going on about how good life was. That is great. So how come people claim that things are bad under poor President Obama?

Very confusing. I am still trying to find people to submit estimates. So, if you are interested contact me or Alton Parks and Rec.

The Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH — In Desperate Need Of Attention

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

I was well aware of the old railway semaphores above the Old Railway Station (now the Community Center) in Alton Bay. I do glance up at them every once in awhile as we go by, but I had not looked at them closely until this Sunday.

One room of the Community Center is used by the Lakes Region Tourist folks as an Information Booth. This Sunday I did an afternoon shift at that booth in my capacity as a Granite State Ambassador. One of the tourist board employees drew my attention to the signals. He had been trying to get Alton Town to paint them. He had called one of the selectman (who happens to be my neighbor) a few months ago — but to no avail. I know the person who heads up Alton Parks and Recreation, so I promised to contact her. I did, as soon as I got home – via e-mail. I got an e-mail back. They are aware that the semaphore needs attention and are hoping to get to it this fall.

I am not sure why we have to wait until fall. The whole structure is crying out for some attention — at least a coat of paint. Look at the pictures above — that I took yesterday (when I went to pick up the kids from a day camp at the Community Center).

The British red and yellow signals that I grew up with.

Though I have been a life long train buff (with a badly neglected Z-gauge train set, bits and pieces of other train sets and a lot of books on trains) I have not paid any attention to the history of the railroad that served Alton — though I do also visit Railway Park. So I have no idea of the provenance of these semaphores. It is interesting that you do not see them in old photos of the building! Of course there has to be folks in Alton who know the whole history. I just wish they would rally around and get this restored. Also not sure that black is the right color for the semaphores — though I am the first to admit that my experience of semaphore signalling is 100% based on the British scheme, which is what I grew up with in Ceylon and Britain. Yes, I had little British yellow and red semaphore signals for my HO railway set in Ceylon.

I have offered to help restore these signals. Not that I have the time, but I feel that it is something I should do given that it is train related and in Alton. But, if you can help PLEASE contact Alton Parks and Rec.