Talk:Wigwag (railroad)

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Former featured articleWigwag (railroad) is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 5, 2004.
Article milestones
April 27, 2004Featured article candidatePromoted
April 9, 2006Featured article reviewKept
April 25, 2006Featured article reviewKept
March 26, 2007Featured article reviewDemoted
Current status: Former featured article
edit·history·watch·refresh Aiga railtransportation 25.svg To-do list for Wigwag (railroad):

  • Improve the breadth and depth of the references; more thoroughly investigate the FRA's resources for applicability
  • Expand the lead to more fully summarize the article
  • Revamp the flow of the article into a more logical order
  • Improve the overall writing
WikiProject Trains (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
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Trains Portal
Sel week 24, 2005
This article is within the scope of WikiProject Trains. See also: WikiProject to do list and the Trains Portal
B-Class article B  Quality: B-Class
 Mid  Importance: Mid

layout nasties[edit]

I'm afraid the image layout goes haywire on mozilla (and I think on opera too). I'm familiar with the problem, and I can fix it if need be. However, it would be nice if larger images were uploaded and the new thumbnail syntax used to produce the floating images on the page itself. Would that be possible? -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:30, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Super, better images and more modern syntax. Looks great -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 15:47, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Wigwags occasionally make headlines as well. In Richmond, California, a crossing that marks the historic location of the western terminus of the BNSF is protected by two upper-quadrant wigwags as seen in the photo and has been the subject of some notoriety as of late. See the link immediately below for more details.

What link, what headline? Wolfman 03:51, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I came over to this talk page to ask the same question. I followed the first link in the list, but didn't see anything. I'm going to delete the graf. If anyone knows what it is about, please just write it here, rather than sending readers on a wild wigwag chase. -Willmcw 09:56, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Request for references[edit]

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. If some of the external links are reliable sources and were used as references, they can be placed in a References section too. See the cite sources link for how to format them. Thank you, and please leave me a message when a few references have been added to the article. - Taxman 19:57, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Concerns raised on FARC[edit]

This page has been listed twice at Wikipedia:Featured article removal candidates, but has been removed because no one could trouble themselves to leave a message here detailing the article's perceived problems so they might be able to be fixed. So here is a summary of what was mentioned in the two FARC nominations. (Comments edited only to shorten and add comments in brackets for context).

  • Poorly written, no references, bad image formatting. Not a good example. Páll (Die pienk olifant) 00:26, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I've removed some unnecessary images and improved the formatting on the remaining ones, but this is definitely not a featured article. --Danaman5 03:44, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
  • It fails Criterion 2a [well written] miserably; most sentences require editing. Tony 04:08, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Even if you threw refs in here it is very far from exemplifying our "best work." The intro is too short, the design section is too long and "history of", "design of" and "location of" subjects are inter-mixed to a degree that requires structural revamping. There is certainly some interesting and specific details in here and I wouldn't call it "low quality." Rather I think it the sort of middle of the road article you find a lot on the wiki: info more or less in place but structure and references lacking. Marskell 09:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

So lets see what we can do to improve these. I've moved the one site to a references section because it explicitly states it was used as a reference. - Taxman Talk 14:13, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

  • There is a mention in the text of some data from the FRA, but it's not cited to anything specific. The FRA's website is likely to contain all the needed information. Looking through it I see a lot of reports, but I don't know enough about the subject to do much. Specifically the safety section has a link to reports and publications that could be very useful. I'll make a note on the Wikipedia:WikiProject Trains talk page to see if anyone can help. - Taxman Talk 14:29, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

can the article be nominated for FARC on 1 may if nothing is done to address the above issues? Zzzzz 21:21, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Seems a little unreasonably short, as there's not an urgent need to de-feature the article, moreso to improve it. A couple weeks doesn't seem out of bounds, but why not do your best to fix concerns instead? See Wikipedia_talk:Featured article removal candidates for a discussion on a reasonable amount of time. - Taxman Talk 22:35, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
May 1 seems absolutely reasonable if we're only talking about how it should be fixed and not actually fixing it. If Taxman or Zz have knowledge on the topic and can revamp it, great (I don't). But if they don't and I don't and no one shows up who has been involved in its history or knows the subject, we should send it to FARC. FARC is there for a reason. This is not a poor quality article vis-a-vis wiki in general, but it is a poor (arguably very poor) FA. There's nothing urgent about any of this and it could've gone unnoticed for another year. But if people don't think it belongs, then FARC is actually a better place for it than a dead talk page. You'll notice Taxman that your last comment went unanswered for almost exactly twelve months. Marskell 22:59, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
But again, the best place to discuss the appropriate time is on the FARC talk page where that conversation is ongoing as part of the latest thread. One week has not been considered reasonable by anyone else before. The goal of the project (and FARC as part of that) is to improve articles. So we should first focus on reasonable efforts to improve the article, give it some reasonable time (which I strongly feel a week is not), and then if nothing happens, it will proceed smoothly through FARC and no longer be featured. Much better is to let some of the people that do know trains have a chance to improve the article if they can, as I have placed some notices to that effect. - Taxman Talk 00:25, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
And thanks to a note on my talk, now I know about the discussion too. I'll take a further look through my own reference library and see what I can find. I'll be attending the NMRA's Midwest Region convention this weekend in Chicago, so I don't know how much time I'm going to have, but I'll put in as much as I can toward improvement here. Slambo (Speak) 02:18, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

US specific[edit]

I'm amazed this has ever been considered for FA. The entire article is US specific.

Wigwag is the term used for the automatic crossing signals in the UK also (these have red and amber lights in a V arrangement). How long the term has been used in the UK I don't know, but if it is anything significant, then the historical section should be expanded too.

Not to mention that the article should probably not be "Wigwag" but rather a general article on railway level crossing signals (i.e. incorporating the same concept as wigwag in other countries).

zoney talk 13:57, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Potential excellent source[edit]

Maintenance of way standards on American railways, and rules and instructions governing roadway departments from the Internet Archive's text digitization project. Doesn't help Zoney's comment's above, but it would be a great source if this article were moved to US Wigwags or something. - Taxman Talk 17:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Kinda sad[edit]

There used to be four wigwags down the street... the peach-basket kinds... but they were removed when the tracks went out of service. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Burlington Northern SantaFe Herald.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Burlington Northern SantaFe Herald.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 03:54, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

 Done -- removed image. Slambo (Speak) 11:39, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but I have to call BS on this one[edit]


In those days, many crossings were protected by a watchman who warned of an oncoming train by swinging a red lantern in a side-to-side arc, which in universal railroad sign language means "stop"

I don't know what "rail road sign language" that is supposed to be, but it sure as heck isn't universal. Crossings in several European countries use a simple flashing red light as a stop sign for non-railroad traffic, and for railroad traffic, the classic flagman-style (emergency) stop sign is waving a red flag or lantern (in an emergency, other objects, preferably red, should be used, if no flag or lantern is available; I've even witnessed the sign being given bare-handedly) - in a circular, clockwise (from the flagman's perspective) motion. I don't have a handy reference for the clockwise motion, but the circular motion is mentioned e.g. here: [1]

My guess is that the clockwise motion stems from the time of steam and early diesel/electric locomotives, that had a steam throttle valve (or a valve-style controller with the diesel/electric locomotives). The motion would be seen as counter-clockwise by the driver - the same direction he'd have to spin the valve to throttle down. Maybe someone else could verify - or disprove - this theory? (talk) 18:50, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

The "globalize" tag is gone[edit]

I don't know why it was allowed to sit there for so long, but I've taken off the {{globalize}} tag as being obviously irrelevant to strictly American equipment. Mangoe (talk) 17:27, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The reason it was there is that the term "wigwag" referring to crossing warning equipment is not strictly American, even if this precise type is. (talk) 22:35, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Backing up the "US specific" comment above[edit]

The term "wig-wag" (with or without the hyphen) is indeed used in the UK to mean the alternating flashing warning lights at level crossings. It is absolutely not obsolete in UK railway usage, though I don't know how official it is. The term is also used to refer to the same type of light at school road crossings (see, for example, Surrey County Council's page). (talk) 22:34, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

Does this kind of railway signal appear in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind during Roy's alien encounter scene at a railroad crossing? If so, it would be good to mention this in the article in a new "In Popular Culture" section so that non-US readers can have a readily-identifiable example of this kind of signal from popular culture. -- B.D.Mills  (T, C) 00:35, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I believe it's a regular crossbucks and flashing lights type. Mangoe (talk) 03:39, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

File:Nevada wigwag.jpg Nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]


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