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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good News From Down Under

Actually its not Australia I'm talking about today, but New Zealand.  Recently I had heard that a re-signaling scheme had been carried out on the Hutt Valley Line, the old signals of which actually had their own website.  Well today I learned that the project only re-directed CTC control from a local US&S panel to a dispatch office in Wellington.  Even better all the original relay based CTC interlockings were left untouched.

Ok, that's pretty minor, but the news gets better.  While the US&S Model 14 interlocking machines in the US are marching towards extinction with the recent re-signaling projects at ALTO, UNION and WB, US&S parent company Westinghouse did sell power frames based on that same technology overseas to mostly British commonwealth countries as the style L, K, N and B miniature lever frames. They are basically US&S frames just with the levers working back and forth instead of side to side (so the poor signalmen wouldn't get confused ;-) )  Anyway these are about as rare as their breathern here in the United States with only a handful of examples still in main line operation in the UK and South Africa.  Well today I learned that again, despite some minor re-signaling, not only is the large Style L frame controlling the Wellington, NZ terminal still in service, but it was actually upgraded with three flat panel displays replacing its old bulb lit model board.  Talk about a clash of technologies!!

Not only does that frame survive, but so do three others on the North Island Main Trunk at Tawa, Porirua and Plimmerton with Porirua being in use daily and only Tawa being "generally known" about.  Here is a page that has some more up to date information on the Style L machines in New Zealand.

Anyway its nice to know that even if power frames vanish from the United States they can still be found in some nice vacation destinations overseas.  And then if those go you can always check out the pneumatically actuated Style V machines installed on London Transport up through 1999!!  

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