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Sunday, October 12, 2008

08-10-12 PHOTOS: E180th St Woodside

So on my way back from the NY Capitol Region for a fall foilage fest I decided to do a little signal documentation at two vulnerable locations in the city. The first was E 180TH interlocking in the Bronx and its associated Dyre Ave Line, which are the last remaining segments of un-resignaled IRT on the NYCS, The second was WOOD intelrocking at the Woodside LIRR station which was undergoing an "upgrade" which included the use of cheesy colour light signals.

Due to the lack of a railfan view on the IRT I could only get side shots on the Dyre line which really killed the quality. Not much more to say here so I'll just cover most things in the photo descriptions.

The full set of photos can be viewed here. I urge you all to go take a look at them.

First I rode through E180th interlocking to Bronx Parkway on the (2) Train. There I took pics of some of the E180th approach signals before getting on a southbound 2 train back to the E180th station.

Anyway, here is the 38L signal showing a Clear signal. 

Note the Green over Red and red number plate indicating these are signals displaying aspects in the old IRT system in which each route a train could take was given its own independent signal head with red being used as a placeholder in a similar style to full size Railroads. For example a clear signal on the main route would be G/R or G/R/R. An caution signal on the second slower speed route would be R/Y or R/Y/R.

In the case of the 38L signal you just saw it only had one route therefore its second head only had a red placeholder lamp (with a call-on light below that). The 40L signal slightly down the tracks has a route into the yard so its lower head gets an additional yellow light for that route.

Of course E180TH intelrocking is most well known for its unique tri-headed IRT signals, which resemble some sort of strange black cast iron cactus. The IND/BMT style signals do not allow for more than two main-line routes in this fashion and therefore intelrockings have to engineered to always give trains a simple diverging or straight message. At E180TH they could just add an extra head.

E180TH interlocking is also cool for having this double slip switch.

All of this is controlled from the big US&S Model 14 interlocking machine inside E180TH tower, which is the last major electro-mechanical tower on the mainline IRT.

Friday, October 10, 2008

08-10-10 PHOTOS: Selkirk Colours

What is fall without foilage? Well, a warmer version of winter that's what, but thanks to living in a temperate climate we get to watch the leaves turn all sorts of fancy warm shades and fall off the tree. This is especially nice in upstate NY where that period between green and brown last more than a few hours. Last Italian American Appreciation Day I took another one of my trips up to the Capitol District for a little hiking in the Catskills as well as some railfanning. I out to see if the CSX destruction of classic NYC searchlight signals on the Selkirk Branch had been completed and while the results of that search was rather disappointing, I did come away with some wonderful fall photos.

My trek went from CP-169 at Hoffmans where the Selkirk Branch meets the Hudson Line to become the Chicago Line, down past CP-SH where the Carmine Branch joins. I then continued down to the Fullers Flyover Bridge at US 20.

All of the railfan related photos can be seen here and if you are interested the Catskill photos can be seen here

Now on with the show.

We'll start out with the classic NY Central signal bridge at CP-169 where the Chicago Line begins. The signal track to the left is the Hudson Line used by Amtrak Empire and LD trains and also maintained by Amtrak. The two tracks to the right are the Selkirk Branch which was built in the 1920's along with Selkirk yard as a freight bypass of the congested Albany terminal and its steep West Albany Hill (well, not that steep, NYC steam was just wussy). Today this line is used by all CSX freight to and from Boston and the new Jersey ports. The Huston Line gets a straight shot through the interlocking so all through freight trains have to make a diverging movement here at CP-169.

I love using this picture as an example of American grade crossing protections on overseas signaling sites. I think the sign says it all.

I was lucky enough to catch this train or autoracks coming around the curve where the Selkirk Branch flies over the Hudson Line with SD40-2 #8439 in the lead and in the #2 position is a former Conrail painted C40-8W #7302.

After a little cross country trek I was rewarded with this prime and increasingly rare example of a New York Central cantilever signal mast. These used to be all over the electrified region untilthe dickheads at Metro North thought it would be a clever thing to tear them all down. This one was thankfully spared from the recently CSX re-signaling efforts on the Selkirk Branch.

The small target GRS model SA searchlights are in the offset automatic signal" position and serve as the distant signal to CP-169. The best ether can display is Approach Medium.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

08-10-04 PHOTOS: Washington Union Station Centennial

Nothing beats having a date to date your photos! Anyway last Octobre was the 100th birthday of the Washington Union Terminal complex which opened its doors as a joint venture between the PRR, B&O and several other railroads. It also provided a wonderful opportunity to hang out at the station taking photos of whatever one wished without getting swarmed by security.

Amtrak really pulled out the stops for this celebration with private varnish and private horsepower showing up from all across the east coast to represent all of the fallen flag railroads that used to call at Union Station. These included preserved E-unit diesels from the C&O, Atlantic Coast Line, Southern RR and Pennsylvania railroad. In addition to the diesel units there was a plethora of private cars also representing the aforementioned railroads. Amtrak, MARC and the FRA also put out some of their own rolling stock (can you say freebie) for the public to traipse through.

The real star of the show was PRR GG-1 #4935 which was towed from the RR Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasbourg just for the event.

Because the celebration was taking place on a weekend I drove to Greenbelt and then took the metro into Union Station (Green line to Red Line via Ft Totten). Before the gates were opened I got some good short from the Union Station parking deck.

Anyway the whole stack of photos can be viewed at the somewhat usual location.

And now for some teaser photos that will be of surprisingly good quality (for once).

I'll start off with a video of my Green Line train departing Greenblt and crossing over to the proper track. The DC Metro is actually pretty railfan friendly with a reverse railfan view available on nearly every train.

I will skip past the pictures of B&O signals and cut right to a solid train of 1000 series cars on the Red Line at Ft. Totten. (As seen on Wikipedia)

A train of CSX autoracks snaked through QN Tower interlocking adjacent to the WMATA Red Line.

K tower and the entire terminal throat.

K-tower close up with an AEM-7 hauled regional is departing from the lower level while an HHP-8 hauled regional waits on one of the high level platforms.

Here is some video of the departing Regional. Pardon my zoom.

3 P42's lay over on the lower level next to a pair of AX trainsets in the Acela section of the high level.

Dwarf CPL's abound in front of K-Tower from track level.

Anyway, here is the only surviving E3 unit in its ACL sitting next to Bennett Levin's PRR E8's.