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Fairbanks Feature: STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!— THEN GO!

James D. Van Trump Library | Frank B. Fairbanks Transportation Archive | Fairbanks Features

Showcasing a variety of materials located in the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive

No. 10 Presentation

Fairbanks Feature: STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!— THEN GO!

Years ago, these three words––STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!–– were very common in schools across the country as safety lessons were taught on a regular basis. The burden for arriving safely was placed on the individual, as he or she went about on the public thoroughfares. Since railroad crossings and tracks were a common part of towns, this instruction for all ages or people was extremely necessary. Of course, not everyone paid attention to the seriousness of these rules, and many tragic accidents happened.

Even today, people are still playing the odds while sprinting across the tracks. Maybe it is time to re-teach some of these valuable safety lessons. Come to the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive to see the following materials and so much more:

STOP!––Here are two books from our collection dealing with signals, and containing drawings, plans, and detailed yard layouts.

  • Tyer’s Patent Train Signalling Telegraphs, by Tyer & Company, Electric Telegraph Engineers and Contractors, 4th edition, 1873
  • Lewis’s Railway Signal Engineering (Mechanical), by J. H. Fraser, B. Sc., A.M. Inst. C. E., London, 1932

LOOK!––Here are three original safety posters from the 1920s and 30s.


  • “A Private Rail Car,” Northern Rail Car introduces an unrivaled method for entertaining clients in a luxurious environment.
  • “Rock Island Rooster,” Muscatine, along the Upper Mississippi: the viewer can watch the rail line from atop the 1896 Government Bridge. The Railroad Development Corporation and Iowa Interstate Chairman Henry Posner III talk about how the project came to be and some of the challenges involved. These trips formed the centerpiece of “Riverway 2006,” celebrating the 150 years of the first bridge across the Mississippi.
  • “Penn Central,” Big, Black, Busy––and Bankrupt––not the glory years.
  • VCR tapes “Steam in the Andes,” “Broadway Limited,” and “Horseshoe Curve,” along with many others in our collection, provide rail history in audio and visual color spectacular.

THEN––Here are several articles and artifacts from the Fairbanks’ collection on signaling.

GO!––Here are two steam engine slides from our collection:

  • 9/5/60: Olin Machieson Rail, photos by the Saltville RR Station, Saltville, Va. 2-8-0 East Tenn. & Western North Carolina engine No. 11; built 1892
  • 5/20/61: West Portal Chicago Burlington Quincy Davenport to Dubuque Iowa, Iowa  Chapter National Railway Historical Society, Steam Ramble

The Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive is open by appointment on Mondays, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Use of the archive is free to PHLF members (one of the benefits!); non-members are assessed a $10 use fee.

The Archive is located on the fourth floor of The Landmarks Building at Station Square, in the offices of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

To schedule an appointment, email the Librarian James Halttunen:

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633