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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good News For a Change - New Searchlights at XO Tower

 For those of you down about the credit downgrade and the generally bum economy I finally have some good news to report.  The NS/Guilford Rail System joint venture that links the Hudson Valley and the Atlantic port at Boston, MA and Portland, ME over the formerly 100% GRS Freight Main Line has begun upgrades to the massive weed covered field west of Mechanicville, NY that used to be a major interchange yard between the old Delaware and Hudson and Boston and Main systems.  Both the D&H (now part of CP) and B&M (now part of Guilford) were and are strong supporters of searchlight style signals with neither road having migrated to use of the dreaded Darth Vader lamps.  While the D&H has switched to Safetran Unilens type signals, Guilford has continued to install General Railway Signal model SA searchlight signals, except where funding and planning is from an external source like the Downeaster route or the MBTA.

Anyway I came across this picture on showing some new signals at CPF-467, the far west end of the Guilford freight main line.  This might be more familiar to some as XO tower, as it sports a preserved New York Central interlocking tower from the line to Albany that also used to tie in there (which now is also part of CP Rail).  The former yard at Mechanicville is going to be converted into brand new intermodal terminal so some interlocking work at either end was inevitable and in this case a new CPF-468 will replace CPF-467.  As you can see not only do we have new searchlights appearing on brand new shiny masts, but the heads themselves are freshly painted silver in back and black on the front.  Bravo Guilford for sticking with tradition.

Unfortunately this will not be a +1 as the existing CPF-467 already sports a bunch of searchlight masts, however not only will this increase their number and quality, but also lock them in for at least the next 4 decades.


I found a recent YouTube video tour of both the new CPF-468 and its opposite CPF-470 at the other end of the yard.  CPF-468 will not only have the two masts shown in the picture, but an additional eastbound searchlight mast and an additional eastbound tubular aluminum cantilever with two searchlight signals on it (!).  So that is a +2 on three-head searchlight signals at CPL-468 and the new interlocking at CPF-470 will bring +1 to the searchlight equipped interlocking total and at least +3 to the total of number of discrete searchlight signals.

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