One of the things that surprised us the most about the reception we had at
the Maple Leaf 2003 convention was the interest in the paper flagmen we brought
The paper flagmen were made up prior to our first operating session in April, 2003
as a quick-and-dirty solution to our being unable to find suitable plastic
or cast metal figures to "flag" trains stopped on the mainline as
required under timetable and train order rules. They have an advantage over
cast metal figures in that they lack a metal base that could cause shorting
if they're set out between the rails. The figure we used was taken from a
CorelDraw! clip art CD, with its arms modified to hold a flag. We laid out
fourteen to a sheet and printed them on heavy cardstock.
During our operating sessions at the Convention, there was strong interest
in these figures. Unfortunately, we hadn't brought along enough to give many
away, so we promised to make them available for download from our web site.
Here they are.
Since we first posted these in 2003 we have been delighted to see that they are being used by quite a number of operations-oriented modelers on their model railroads.
The artwork we are providing on this page is in HO scale. If there are enough
requests, we will consider making it available in other scales.
Creating Flagmen from this Artwork
The procedure is pretty simple:
- Download the graphics file
(488K Adobe Acrobat PDF file ).
- From the Adobe Acrobat reader, print the graphic on plain paper or cardstock.
We recommend using a color ink jet or color laser printer.
- Cut out the individual flagmen. Cut on the dotted lines.
- Fold the flagmen at the solid lines and tape the base together. There
are two typical ways to do this, as shown below.
Assembling the Flagman
Once you've printed the flagman and cut him out of the sheet, you can fold
him in either of two ways.
- Make the first fold so that the two flagmen on the strip are back to back.
- At the lines below the flagman's feet, fold the flaps outward as shown
- Fold the square flap back under to make the base.
- Use transparent tape to hold the whole assembly in a shape that looks
like a "T" when viewed from the side.
Bill Jewett came up with this variation.
- Cut the square flap off of the end of the strip.
- Make the first fold so that the two flagmen on the strip are back to
- Fold the small rectangular flaps inward.
- Use transparent tape to hold the whole assembly together in a shape
that looks like a tent when viewed from the side.
Using the Flagman
During our operating sessions, we use a flagman to protect the rear of any
train stopped outside of yard limits on the main track, per prototype Rule 99.
We place it alongside the track, 18 to 24 inches behind the caboose.
Trains are prohibited by the rules from passing a flagman unless or until they have consulted with the crew that set the flagman out and have agreement that it is safe to proceed, or the crew calls the flagman back. When a train is
ready to move again, it's important not to leave the flagman behind.