Vintage railroad locks

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Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby TatesPoint » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:10 pm

For Christmas my brother gave me an old brass railroad lock that belonged to our father, unknown where he got it. The name of the railroad as well as the lock number have been filed off. On the key it says L&N RR. I did some research found that at least the key was from the Louisville & Nashville railroad. Sense the key unlocks the lock it take it that the lock it's self must be L&N RR. The question is how old is the lock and is there any value to it. Not looking to sell as it was a gift. What was the lock mainly used for, I'm thinking to lock out switches. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby trnwatcher » Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:01 am

It most likely is a switch lock but could be for something RR related use. Depending on the age and condition these can run from $35 up to a several hundred. The older the better, condition plays a part, the railroad it came from, but having the key helps in the value too! The L&N was around for a long time. You might want to contact their historical society as they might be able to at least point you in the direction of getting this ID'd. Good Luck!

Here's a link to the L&N Historical Society's webpage.

http://www.lnrr.org/
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby TatesPoint » Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:22 pm

Thank you for your insight and the link.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby SousaKerry » Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:15 am

Pictures help big time with identification as well.

And now for the legal disclaimer I believe it is still a crime to own or possess a railroad key if you are not a railroad employee. So be careful who you tell that you have it.

Good score though I have several locks but none of them have keys :(
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby ThatRailfanningKid » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:40 am

SousaKerry wrote:And now for the legal disclaimer I believe it is still a crime to own or possess a railroad key if you are not a railroad employee. So be careful who you tell that you have it.

Don't know that it would matter since the L&N was merged a while ago and the lock doesn't really have a purpose anymore, but I could be wrong. I just don't see any legal issues, especially since he doesn't plan to sell it.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby SD80MAC » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:42 pm

CSX still uses L&N, Seaboard, C&O, B&O locks out there on their system just like UP has SP, DRGW, MP ect. locks on theirs. They may not be plentiful, but they are out there. CN has a lot of old GTW locks still in service, in addition to EJE, WC, IC ect. Just because the railroad is gone doesn't necessarily mean it's locks and keys aren't still in use. I believe Kerry is correct, it is illegal to own a railroad key if you're not an employee. Never heard of anyone getting arrested for owning one, but I'm sure it's happened. Old keys, I don't know.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby CSX_CO » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:10 pm

SD80MAC wrote:CSX still uses L&N, Seaboard, C&O, B&O locks out there on their system just like UP has SP, DRGW, MP ect. locks on theirs. Just because the railroad is gone doesn't mean it's locks and keys aren't still in use. I believe Kerry is correct, it is illegal to own a railroad key if you're not an employee. Never heard of anyone getting arrested for owning one, but I'm sure it's happened.


Illegal to own an active key. Plenty of obsolete keys out there for railroads that are LONG gone. eBay won't deal with them just because they don't want to research what is 'current' and what isn't. Plus, how do you deem who is an 'employee'? If it was illegal to own a key, seems like a pretty easy way to get some money for the city any time a railroadiana show comes into town.

I got out of collecting them because there are way to many forgeries out there anymore, and nearly impossible to tell what is 'real' from some copy.

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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby BnOEngr » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:56 pm

.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby SD80MAC » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:38 pm

BnOEngr wrote:I work for CSX and have one key. I travel over former B&O, C&O and Toledo Terminal territory and only need that one key.

Must be nice.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby JStryker722 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:04 am

SD80MAC wrote:
BnOEngr wrote:I work for CSX and have one key. I travel over former B&O, C&O and Toledo Terminal territory and only need that one key.

Must be nice.

I know in the 50s or 60s,C&O bought control of the B&O so that might explain that (wasn't there common but seperate indenties during the Chessie era? ) but the Toledo Terminal is a mystery.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby CSX_CO » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:46 pm

I needed a CSX "Locker" key, "Conrail" key, UP key, and a NS key out of Indy. Now that we don't have any jobs that need a NS key, I wouldn't even need to carry that. If I didn't go to Salem or Lafayette, just the Conrail key would 'suffice'. I only carried them as an engineer if the conductor forgot his.

When traveling to Chicago, you would need IHB (which was the same as either Conrail or UP from what I remember), and BRC on top of that. I had 'others' but never needed them (IC, BNSF, etc). Any other 'screwy' moves and they'd have to bring you a key.

If they're still using PM or C&O locks someplace, sounds like a roadmaster who needs to get off their duff and get them changed out.

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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby hoborich » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:52 pm

I've seen keys at several hobby shops and train shows.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby CAT345C » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:34 am

I've got a brand new CSX key since we run on CSX. The thing barely works in any of the CSX locks. Had to use the engineers key more than a few times. Sometimes old and worn out is better than sharp and new.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby hoborich » Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:51 pm

We used to have boxes of keys in the supply cabinet, in the yard office, along with lanterns, batteries, bulbs, toilet paper, torpedoes, fusees, etc. The cabinet was never locked, and refilled regularly. :lol:
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby conrailman75 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:30 pm

I have my grandfather's old Penn Central switch lock key here at home, found it last year when going through my grandma's stuff after she passed away.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby JStryker722 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:02 pm

CSX_CO wrote:I needed a CSX "Locker" key, "Conrail" key, UP key, and a NS key out of Indy. Now that we don't have any jobs that need a NS key, I wouldn't even need to carry that. If I didn't go to Salem or Lafayette, just the Conrail key would 'suffice'. I only carried them as an engineer if the conductor forgot his.

When traveling to Chicago, you would need IHB (which was the same as either Conrail or UP from what I remember), and BRC on top of that. I had 'others' but never needed them (IC, BNSF, etc). Any other 'screwy' moves and they'd have to bring you a key.

If they're still using PM or C&O locks someplace, sounds like a roadmaster who needs to get off their duff and get them changed out.

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IHB probably used Conrail keys as Conrail owned 50-52% of the company stock and was majority owner.now that stock got split roughly even between NS and CSX.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby CSX_CO » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:48 pm

JStryker722 wrote:IHB probably used Conrail keys as Conrail owned 50-52% of the company stock and was majority owner.now that stock got split roughly even between NS and CSX.


By Conrail it was 51% and 49% with MILW. Now CP has majority ownership of the IHB. Corporate ownership has little to do with what locks someone uses. That would probably be a system engineer or division engineers decision. If that was the case, INRD would be using CSX locks, but they aren't. Its not even all CSX locks across the system either. AFAIK, former NORAC still uses the "Conrail" high security locks on CSX.

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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby JStryker722 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:07 am

CSX_CO wrote:
JStryker722 wrote:IHB probably used Conrail keys as Conrail owned 50-52% of the company stock and was majority owner.now that stock got split roughly even between NS and CSX.


By Conrail it was 51% and 49% with MILW. Now CP has majority ownership of the IHB. Corporate ownership has little to do with what locks someone uses. That would probably be a system engineer or division engineers decision. If that was the case, INRD would be using CSX locks, but they aren't. Its not even all CSX locks across the system either. AFAIK, former NORAC still uses the "Conrail" high security locks on CSX.

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I was just guessing that could've happened that way.decide to piggyback Conrail's order of locks or some such. Stranger things happen lol.
CP only has majority ownership now cuz Conrail's majority stock got split evenly 25.5% each between NS and CSX.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby Gandy Dancer » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:44 pm

My father worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific RR. Milwaukee Road from 1935 until 1975. Everybody had a key Trainmen, Section Forman, Station Agents, Bridge Crew, Telegraph Repair Crew, Extra Gang Forman, and assorted officials who made inspection runs in a Desoto with dolly wheel so it could ride the rails. All of the locks used the same key. Can't remember where all of the locks were used every switch, Depot Freight House, Coal Sheds and probably many other places. The keys were always called a switch key but I can't remember why they were switch keys. The idea was that if all of the locks used the same key employees needed only one key not a whole ring full of keys for different locks. The only locks that had different keys were the Extra Gang and Bridge Gang tool cars. I remember this because one of the officials told my father every good Station Agent should have one and gave him one. I still have at least one shovel marked CMStP&P RR Some where out in the garage I have at least one lock and key. Guess I'll have to dig them out to see how they are marked.
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Re: Vintage railroad locks

Unread postby hoborich » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:18 pm

When I worked for the GTW and the C&O, our keys unlocked various sheds, trackside buildings and storage buildings, in addition to switches.
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