Nprr railroad switch lock

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Artillero

New Member
Gentlemen,
As a bit of background- I am a retired Marine halfway through a second career. I found out about the forum while doing a search on railroad key markings. We split our time between Nevada and California.
I just received a gift of a railroad switch lock with key for Father's day from my bride so i decided to join the forum and try to find out a bit about the history of the item. I have never had anything like this but have always had an interest in trains since I was a young boy newly arrived to the US. I have attached some pictures and would appreciate any insight that you ca provide concerning the age and markings etc particularly of the key. i have been able to find out that the maker is one of the smaller ( in volume) lock makers and have been given a range of dates for the lock of 1890's to 1960's. The lock functions correctly with the key although the latch plate spring no longer works. As the lock has a forged chain, I would think that this would indicate an earlier date. The key has a tapered barrel which i am also told may indicate an eerier date but do not know who may have manufactured it nor have I had luck deciphering the initials "BRX" engraved on the key.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Artillero
 

Attachments

Artillero

New Member
Switch key marking

My guess is that BRX stands for Black River Crossing south of Seattle.
Thank you for your reply. Would it have been common for the switch key to have markings for the geographic location instaed of the railroad? I note that the Black River crossing is across from an NPRR site.

Artillero
 

steady_rest

The Machinist
http://info.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/roads/mapandrecordscenter/mapvault/Default.aspx?DocId=MMPJO7xnNDw1


X is a common letter abbreviaton for crossing and I am assuming BR stands for Black River. NP was very much involved with BR Jct. I have provided a link with an early map of this busy junction. Download map #1 for detailed map of the RR Jct. The lock and key you have may not neccessarily have been used on a switch. I have read old railroad accident reports which refer to the Jct. as Black River Crossing. It will be a challenge to defintively prove your locks history but that is the fun part. Do you have any knowledge of the provenance of the lock and key? Where or when it was found?
 

steady_rest

The Machinist
http://info.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/roads/mapandrecordscenter/mapvault/Default.aspx?DocId=TbdEtMyVPiM1

Another early view of the jct. Download page 1 . Note the orientation of this map with north to the right. Right click on map and rotate 3 times to get north at top so as not to confuse yourself. Note the channel change of the river. Railroad marked Renton Line was the Puget Sound Electric RR an interurban line. The PSE crossed over the steam railroads on a trestle. This was very much a rural location back in the day. I remember this area very well, growing up nearby and exploring the area well over fifty years ago.
 

Artillero

New Member
Thank you for sending me the links to these surveys. I was stationed at Ft Lewis a number of years ago so but do not recall exploring this part of the Puget Sound area since we lived in Puyallup. The lock was purchased from a local antique mall in Temecula, CA. The owner of the mall had acquired it the day before at an estate sale and wasn't even sure of what he had aside from it being a heavy, old brass lock with an even older looking key. My wife got it for a good price. Did you work on a railroad? I am interested in your comment that the lock may not necessarily have been used on a switch as I thought that this type of lock was normally reserved for switches. Would it be unusual for the key to be marked to a specific junction instead of the railroad holding right of way?
 




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