Page created by Tommy McGowan

Note:  this page doesn't go too much into the technical details on how the mechanisms operate.  The main purpose of this page is to show the change in design of the gate mechanisms over the years and to help identify the age of signals.

This pedestrian gate is extremely old and was developed by the Federal Signal Company. This is NOT the same Federal Signal that owned the Western Cullen Division. This Federal Signal was bought out by GRS in 1922, which means all of these pedestrian gates are at least 100 years old! Only one is known to be in service, which is at Exchange St. in Galva, IL. There is also one at the Fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant, IA.

The Type B is one of the more unique looking mechanisms.  These usually had both GRS and WRRS branding on them.

The Type D was the more common version used during its time.  These could be seen with just GRS lettering or GRS and WRRS lettering and had cast iron counterweights.

WRRS's branding of the GRS mechanism.

According to David, these were made in conjunction with US&S, but I don't know much more about these beyond that.

These are very rare and I usually only see these used as pedestrian gates, although there used to be some for road signals around Buffalo, NY.

This was Federal Signal's design after they acquired the Western Cullen signal division.  The mechanism cover become more rounded as opposed to square like before.  There were 2 different versions of these with different logos. The top photo is the more rare version, only being seen in Colorado, while the bottom row shows the more common, but still rare, version. Both versions are very hard to find. I've only photographed a few in Illinois and Ohio.

This was the first design used after Federal Signal sold off the Western Cullen division in the 1970s.  This had WC Hayes in a raised box with Western Cullen written out below it. This and Style 2 are the rarest pure WCH gate mechanisms around. Most of the ones I've seen are on the BNSF Mendota Sub in Illinois, but the numbers are dwindling every year.

Style 2 went in a very different direction, and had the full Western Cullen Hayes Inc. written out across the mechanism. I initially thought there were the first style, but David noted that the lock on top of Style 1 was more similar to the FS gate mechanisms, while this one is more like Style 3, so these came out 2nd. Like Style 1, these are very rare to find, and most of the ones I've seen are on the BNSF Mendota Sub.

Sometime in I believe the early 1980s, the design on the mechanism box was changed back to just say WC Hayes similar to Style 1, but without the Western Cullen underneath it. This style is pretty common to find, as almost every major railroad has used it at point or another during the 80s and 90s.  The counterweight arms once again did not change.


In the mid to late 1990s, the counterweight arm was changed for the first time in years to an alunminum design instead of cast iron. The mechanism box design stayed mostly the same, hence why I'm calling this 3.5, although the top has changed slightly, though it's hard to tell unless you're looking at from above. This is very common to find, especially on UP.

Finally, in the late 2000s, the logo on the mechanism box was changed with the newer italicized WCH logo.  The counterweight arms stayed the same, just receiving the new logo as well.  These are very common to find nowadays, with UP using them, NS occasionally, plus many shortlines, and in 2020, CN has started using these intermittently, although they appear to have gone back to Siemens.