Having gotten to know many of the men who
worked for the Central Rail Road of New Jersey, who handled the
freight around the siding at my Father's foundry, I also was introduced
to the men who operated the rail road switch tower call Brills Junction.
It was a great delight to meet new acquaintances and be shown how
the tower worked.
A long console extended along the wall that faced the tracks.
Above that was a board that contained many lights and gauges to
indicate the position that the switches were in. A schedule indicating
when trains were due, what their destination was, was posted near
the control board. Near the console was a Morse telegraph key and
Sounder, with which the switchman received notices of changes, by
At some point in time I was able to use the handles to change
the position of the switches and notice the lights changing to denote
their location. All moving of the actual steel rails themselves
was accomplished by means of compressed air. Near the switch tower
was a large compressor that supplied the compressed air through
pipes to the various switch points.
I was certainly thrilled as trains roared past the tower on their
way to scheduled locations, spewing Black smoke and steam. Hearing
the sound of their whistles, Two Long and Two Short, as they approached
the grade crossing at Hawkins Street. Knowing that I had something
to do with it all happening. A real ego builder for a twelve year
old, having control of the where with all of real live trains. Not
just your Lionel stuff.