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Monday, June 20, 2011

Transcontinental Signaling News

Just got back from my Transcontinental journey via Amtrak taking the Empire Builder connecting to the Capitol Limited.  Lots of great signaling pictures covering BNSF's Northern Transcon including the stretch over the Cascades range, the Morias Pass and all of Montana and the fast dash between Fargo, ND and the Twin Cities.  Almost all of it was former BN.GN signals which were Southern style GRS traffic lights with some stretches of Darth Vaders that didn't look any different from those they replaced.  There were a few tidbits of searchlight signals, but nothing to really write home about and nothing that looked endangered.  The only bad news on that part of the run is that the southern of two 30 mile ABS segments on the BNSF Staples Sub was having its pole line and searchlights replaced with CTC-capable darth vaders.  Unfortunately I had gone for lunch at this point and failed to document the entire stretch. 

The bad news continued on the NS Chicago Line with the PRR PL equipped CP-513 not standing under threat of two new Darth Vader cantilever masts and as before I failed to document this as well due to an over early dinner reservation.  The w/b MC searchlights at CP-490 had larger targets installed due to sun glare issues, which was sort of cool.  The CTC project on the South Shore is reaching its conclusion as the final stretch of ABS/TWC track just west of South Bend has the new signals up and bagged. 

The worst news was that the CPL signals on the Cumberland Sub's Magnolia Cutoff were all cut down and replaced with Vaders.  Of course I had known about this, but I had figured I'd be able to get one last photo set of them before they were raped.  CPL's west of OKONOKO and west of ORLEANS ROAD do survive. 

If I ever take this trip again I am not sure what else I could document besides the signals south of the St Paul station and the Hiawatha route due to the fact that our EB was 6 hour late and was able to cover the Staples Sub in Daylight.  The former MILW/Soo Line Main is a signal wasteland using 4-lamp single head traffic lights for ALL their signals.  There did appear to be some Searchlights west of Minot on the GN Main, but I lost light. 

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