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Friday, January 16, 2009

09-01-16 PHOTOS: Schenectady Interlockings

Up until a year ago I had a friend residing in the Capitol District of New York and when I visited I would usually end up forcing him to take me around to various locations to railfan. You have seen some of these photo sets before, but when I learned that he was going to be moving I stepped up my efforts to cover some of the historically interesting signaling locations in his area. The fact that this mission came right after a healthy snow storm only made things better from a photographic point of view.

During this trip over MLK Day a year ago, I managed to cover two interlockings on Amtrak's Hudson Line, CP-156 where the old NYC Carman Branch diverges and CP-159, which is at the east end of Schenectady station, and CPF-483, formerly known as GE interlocking, at the southern end of the D&H Mohawk Yard.

In addition we took a little trip along the Selkirk Branch looking for any surviving searchlight signals as well as the notable railfan location at French's Hollow.

So yeah, these photos are mostly all signals so I'll assume most of you will tune out at this point, but for those of you who are interested the full set of pictures is here.

Alright, I am going to kick things off at CP-156, which, as I mentioned, is the junction of the Hudson Line with the Carman Branch. I have already been to the other end of the Carman Branch at CP-SH back in my fall photo set. The Carman Branch serves as a connection between the Selkirk Branch (which is the Albany freight bypass route) and the Hudson Line, which is Amtrak's high speed passenger line between Albany and CP-169. It is currently used by local freight trains running from Selkirk yard to the West Albany bulk loading facility. CP-156 is also the east end of a controlled siding that runs between here and the Schenectady station. So looking west one would see from left to right, main track, controlled siding, Carman Branch.

Looking back the other way we see the interlocking with the stacked dwarf searchlights for movements coming of the siding and carman Branch. If you notice in the foreground there are vehicle tracks over the rails. This is from persons unknown bypassing the locked gate to the RoW access road.

The 6E stacked searchlight dwarf is in need of a new paint job as it governs movements off the controlled siding. These dwarf arrangements are surprisingly large when you get right up next to them.

The 6W signal governs movements off of a stub track that used to be a second mainline track and now turns into the controlled siding. All the other signals at CP-156 are approach lit, which means that they will only illuminate when a train is approaching, but because the stub track is not track circuited the 6W dwarf must be continuously illuminated.

There was an old building at CP-156. I don't know if it used to be an interlocking cabin or what.

The westbound mast signal at CP-156 has three heads because on the Carman Branch there are no intermediate signals between here and CP-SH so this signal must be capable of displaying Medium Approach Medium.

Zoom shot of the interlocking's ladder arrangement showing the #1 and #3 turnouts to the controlled siding and Carman Branch with the eastbound mast on the left.

Moving onto CP-159 the weather was sunnier, but was much, much colder, probably around 10 or 15 degrees with a wind chill. CP-159 was special for having a surviving New York Central signal gantry for westbound movements.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

09-01-15 VIDEO: Let's Ride NYC Subway: Episode 3 - 8th Ave Express

When someone thinks of the quintessential express train they undoubtedly think of the A Train, and where do most people interact with the A Train but on the IND 8th Ave Line. For decades if one was patient and waited enough headways they could eventually catch one of the Railfan Window equipped R38 sets running on the A, but for a brief window in 2008, just before all of the cool R's were scrapped the A came alive with Budds, Slants and even the odd R42.

We now begin our ride on the day after Christmas, 2008, on an R "Slant" 40 departing the 42nd St station on its trip northbound under Central Park West.

Between 42nd and 59th St we traverse the junction with the IND Queens Boulevard Line now used by the E, D and B trains. There is a little problem with some Stop signals around 50th St station, but that soon clears up.

At 59th St we begin perhaps the longest express dash on the NYC Subway System as our train runs 66 street blocks without a stop to 125th St station. Total trip time is six and a half minutes.

Shortly after leaving 125th St the 8th Ave line assumes a double stack configuration with the northbound tracks running on top of the southbound tracks. Later our tunnel has to make some crazy gyrations to get things sorted out to the regular configuration between 103rd and 110th St.

Next we travel express from 125th St to 145th St. This time there are only 2 local stops skipped, but 145th St is a two level station and the junction with the IND Concourse Line where the current B and D services split off. The interlocking north of 125th are just some basic crossovers, but the one south of 145th is much more complicated with ramps for trains heading to the lower "Concourse" level.

Our last video on the Northbound segment of our Ride takes us from 145th to 168th St station, which marks the terminus of the (C) train and the end of the express portion of the A. We pass two local stops, but cannot see them because our tunnel has ducked under the local tracks to then cross us over to the outside track at 168th so that C trains can more easily relay on the center tracks.