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Monday, July 18, 2011

RIP East 180TH ST Tower

I have just become aware that the last Main Line interlocking tower on the entire IRT located at East 180th St on the White Plains Road Line has been closed and demolished.  Built in 1912, E180th St tower stood for 99 years at what became the junction of the Dyre Ave Line shuttling trains in and out of the three track station and E18th St Yard.

E180th St 2011

 E180th St 1912

While all the other single interlocking towers on the IRT were closed in the 1950's and 60's to make way for extensive "Panel" type Master Towers, E180th St had survived due in part to its complexity and late model 79 lever US&S Model 14 machine,which would have been much newer than the original IRT signaling.

 Later being assigned a US&S UR style NX machine for the Dyre Line, E180th St only lost its semaphore signals in the early 1970's and later the interlocking became the final holdout for the old style IRT route signaling where each complete signal head represented a route.  This resulted in such unique signal indications as R/G/R and G/R for nearly a decade after it had vanished on all other parts of the NYC Subway.

Here are some additional interior photos from Subchat's G1Ravage.  First the US&S Model 14 machine with some of the high levers already canned off due to the creeping re-signaling.

Model board showing the main interlocking and the bits taken over by the Unionport Yard tower.

At the top of the model board we find some extended track circuit diagrams for approaching trains up and down the various main lines.


E180th St had long been under assault from an encroaching re-signaling scheme involving the new Unionport Master Tower.  It was only the complexity of the interlocking and the CTC on the Dyre Ave line that allowed E180th St to survive as long as it did.  I made two visits in 2008 in order to document what I could, but the tower was notoriously hard to photograph under the Bronx River Parkway and of course the loss of railfan windows didn't help.  For what it was worth you could get some zoom shots from the E180th St Platform.

And some better shots of the forest of "3-headed monster" IRT signals.

Of course a bad photo location can be overcome with video like this one out the side of a southbound #2 train showing both the tower and its signature slip switch.

Anyway, farewell E180th St.  It's a shame you didn't get the respect in death that 99 years of service should have commanded.

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