Concept

Wigwag (railroad)

Résumé
Wigwag is a nickname for a type of railroad grade crossing signal once common in North America, referring to its pendulum-like motion that signaled the approach of a train. The device is generally credited to Albert Hunt, a mechanical engineer at Southern California's Pacific Electric (PE) interurban streetcar railroad, who invented it in 1909 for safer railroad grade crossings. The term should not be confused with its usage in Britain, where "wigwag" generally refers to alternate flashing lights, such as those found at modern level crossings. Rationale Soon after the advent of the automobile, travel speeds were increasing and the popularity of enclosed cars made the concept of "stop, look, and listen" at railroad crossings difficult. Fatalities at crossings were increasing. Though the idea of automatic grade crossing protection was not new, no one had invented a fail-safe, universally recognized system. In those days, many crossings were protected by a watchman who warned o
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