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Sunday, August 21, 2011

CSX At It Again in New Castle, PA

For some time CSX has been working to eliminate the long stretch of Rule D-251 operation on the former B&O route between New Castle, PA and Greencastle, OH.  For years CSX had accepted the role of second fiddle in the east coast to Chicago maket to Conrail and even after the Conrail merger CSX only bothered to upgrade between the Indianapolis Line and Chicago with two track bi-directional CTC.  For anyone riding the old Amtrak Three Rivers, delays in this D-251 section were notorious if your train became trapped behind a slow moving freight with no means to pass it.

Well over the last 4 or so years CSX has been glacially  upgrading the line, taking out such notable structures as HN Tower in Newton Falls and some of the elderly ABS CPL signals.  Unfortunately CSX also showed its dark side when it came to interlockings that were well within the time frame of solid state electronics and coded track circuits.  The interlocking in Stirling, OH was one such location where the old GRS pistol grip equipped tower was replaced in 1988 with new solid state logic and brand new CPL signals on modern mast mounts.  Upgrading the CPLs to support bi-directional signaling would have been easy, but CSX decided to go for a complete remodel with the dreaded Darth Vaders. 

Well unfortunately history is repeating itself in New Castle PA where another late model CPL equipped interlocking is being axed in favor of the dreaded vaders.  This interlocking is at the northern end of the New Castle Terminal where the connection track to the Conrail Youngstown Line, used by the aforementioned Three Rivers, would connect.  Like Spirling this interlocking had brand new CPLs on modern masts and even a tubular steel cantilever, but alas it did not protect it from CSX and its wasteful standardization.

Here we see the eastbound masts with a 3 orbital and 4 orbital CPL, each capable of Medium Approach Medium.

And here we see the westbound signals.  One is on a tubular cantilever mast, the other is for the old Three Rivers connecting track.

So remember, get out there and take photos of whatever CPLs you can.

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