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Check your wiring.  Here is a link to a 1954 Lionel booklet that gave instructions on most of their accessories.  The #151 Semaphore is on page 16.  Your bulb should be on constantly and when the signal is energized the arm moves down which places the other colored filter in front of the bulb - thus changing the color.  Good luck.   

https://slsprr.net/history/1954LionelTrainsAccess.pdf

i know nobody’s asking me but it took a lot of fiddling but I got one of these to work fine on my layout with MTH realtrax and DCS.  Not using insulated track but the activation plate intended for tubular.

are you sure the light is off? The arm on mine isn’t aligned quite right so the green light doesn’t really show. The bulb is lit but the green lens is not aligned with the light. The arm blocks it. The red is visible when it’s activated.

There are two different contact plates that could be used with the semaphore, the 153C with three connections  and the 145C with two connections. The instruction sheet that Rob provided shows the connections for the 145C. Lionel maybe confusing things by using one of the contacts terminals as a junction point for two wires. If the signal is connected to a 153C and the three wires go to the three terminals, it will operate exactly as you describe.  On the 153C only two terminals are used to operate the semaphore. To operate the semaphore a power wire from the transformer needs to go to the track trip and one to the semaphore. The track trip turns on the power to the coil that makes the blade move.  The second power wire goes to the terminal on the signal that lights the lamp. That wire should be on continuously.

Thank you Mike, Mark, Jon and David. I ran into this problem while using a 153c contactor and a 153 block signal with pin base bulbs to operate two trains on the same oval. When one of the pin base bulbs on the 153 burned out, I changed the block signal to a153 with lighted semaphore. The replacement signal had been in use elsewhere on my layout using a 145c contactor so I knew it worked properly. As David suggests, all I had to do was run a jumper from terminal 1 to terminal 3 on the 153c contactor. That keeps the bulb lit regardless if the semaphore is vertical or horizontal.

Thanks again to all, Jim

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