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Monday, January 30, 2012

PRR Main Line Survey 2010 Part 11 (STATE to CORK )

If you happened to enjoy my 10 part epic survey on the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that just concluded I will be the first to admit that it was not exactly comprehensive as it was conducted in the westbound direction only. Last year I found myself in a position to at least partially rectify that situation by taking an eastbound journey on the Amtrak owned portion between Philadelphia and Harrisburg which had undergone some changes in the preceding year.

Anyway you can read most of the basic information about signaling on the old Main Line on the first part of the 2009 survey so I will hopefully be able to breeze through the 2010 inverse survey in a much more compact fashion. The quality of the photos is a bit more hit and miss due to the fact that I had to often shoot through two layers of glass and the weather was overcast. I know it doesn't work for some people, but you can always try starting at STATE interlocking as a line guide, although with the creeping re-signaling effort it is increasingly out of date. I will be drawing from the photos listed at ... nails.html which are in chronological order.

This segment of Part -1 will include Harrisburg to Lancaster, which was recently re-signaled.

Before we begin I have the opportunity to show off the Cab Signal Display Unit (CDU) that has been installed in most Amtrak locomotives and cab cars. The new CDUs work with the old PRR era pulse code cab signaling system (CSS) as well as the new ACSES track speed enforcement system which is still in limited service.

In this photo we can see a closeup of the new CDU with the cab signal indications being displayed via a miniature Amtrak type colourized position light over the signal speed digital readout. This is the speed determined by the CSS pulse codes, in this case 20mph for the Restricting cab signal (which is also displayed). Below the signal speed is the track speed, which would be determined by the ACSES system that is currently cut out as it is not installed anywhere on the Harrisburg Line. I think the orange LED bars under the speed readouts are some sort of countdown until there is a penalty brake application as the engineer has to both acknowledge any CSS drop, but also make a set brake reduction. The ACSES system only requires a specific braking rate, not a specific reduction.

Here is a wider view showing how the CDU is mounted in the cab of a Budd Metroliner cab car, just over the speedometer. Yes that is a GG-1 in the background. #4859 is on display at the Harrisburg Station to commemorate its honor of hauling the first electric train to Harrisburg in 1939.

Here is a video of the CDU freaking out after having been left on in the non-operating cab-car cab. When at Restricting the CDU demands periodic acknowledgment and this is what it does when it doesn't get it.

Alright, enough talk. It's time to begin our journey eastbound. Here the train has just left the Harrisburg station and has navigated the main part of STATE interlocking. Running from station track 7 to main track 1 the train makes a reverse move over the 101 switch. All points at STATE are pneumatic.

The 100L and 102L dwarf signals for westbound traffic into STATE. The main part of state is entirely Slow speed moves (15mph).  Unfortunately due to some other states refusing high speed rail stimulus funds Amtrak was able to get additional monies to rebuild STATE interlocking over the next few years to eliminate the 15mph speed on at least the two main tracks.  How this will affect the air operated points, the doubleslip switch and the Model 14 machine is not known at this time, but I expect it to be a job similar to CORK with a panel replacing the machine and all electric switches being employed (although STATE does flood every couple of years which gives air machines a slight advantage).

The 123 switch was original provided to allow trains on what was the freight only Columbia Branch (now the Norfolk Southern Royalton Branch) to access the Main Line. This branch ran parallel to the Main Line between here and ROY interlocking via the third track of the RoW so at least by the end of the PRR the Main Line between STATE and ROY was not 3 tracks, but one double track line and one single track line. In the 1992 diagram the connection via the 121 switch (marked as the F&G track) was still in place. In the original interlocking diagram you can see how it worked back in the day. Now only a shadow of the 121 switch remains and the 123 switch is rusty from disuse as it duplicates the function of the previous 101 switch. For a while it saw use for shunting movements pulling cars out of the express freight facility to the left, but Amtrak got out of that business in 2005.

The 120L is STATE's westbound home signal and one of the few high signals in the interlocking. This currently protects the 123 switch and acts as a distant for the 100L and 102L signals at the main section of the interlocking. As all moves in STATE ate slow speed the 120L tends to display / over ? for Approach Slow. It has a vestigial lower | for Medium Clear or Approach Medium for trains that were routed over the 121 switch on the F&G track.

This section of track between STATE and ROY was the first to be re-signaled under Rule 562, Cab Signals without fixed wayside signals. However Amtrak provided fixed wayside distants so that trains with failed cab signals could approach interlockings without preparing to stop. One of these are the 1015 signal for westbound movements approaching state. Both are new and of the Colourized Position type. The signal on the right displays the basic ABS aspects as the 120L at STATE lacks any diverging routes. The signal on the left can only display Stop and Proceed and Approach as the reverse direction 122L signal at STATE can only display slow speed indications. The signal on the right has a very diminutive numberplate that was installed by Amtrak under a previous refurbishment while new signal on the left has a new full size plate. On the far right is the 18W color light signal for the NS Royalton Branch. This is the distant signal to CP-CAPITOL.

Some of the old guard survives. Here we see the former 981 automatics still on their gantry with the out of service bags falling off. Oops.

After the Royalton Branch ducks under the Main Line we get to the 964 distants for ROY interlocking.

The Royalton Branch's 962 distant for ROY

ROY interlocking now has a set of three high signals on the eastbound mast. Here seen from the rear.

 Front view of the gantry as seen from the Middletown Station platform. The gantry signals have the proper PRR lower head backing plates, but far too many of the new signals just use a round plate. ROY is controlled by the Train Director at STATE. We also see our first set of 'C' boards for Rule 281b, Clear to Next Interlocking, in case of CSS failure.

19 switch at ROY. There's not a lot of cross traffic between NS and Amtrak here given by the amount of rust on the rails.

View of ROY interlocking looking west showing the old relay hut on the right and the new one on the left. All switches are of the pre-fab concrete type with movable point frogs. They are good for 45mph.

Grainy view of the westbound signals showing the use of the wrong kind of lower head backing plate. This interlocking is usually left fleeted on the common straight routes.

About 1500 feet before each absolute signal there is a CSS code change point where, upon approaching a stop signal, the Approach cab drops to Restricting. Here is the westbound code change point for ROY. Note the transformer for the signal power feed.

The brand new 923 automatic distant signals for ROY. Again with the wrong lower head backings, which are also oversized for the lamps installed. Amtrak is doing better by using the thin backing where only a single row of lights is in use.

Rear view of the 860 distants for RHEEMS interlocking.

RHEEMS interlocking was installed new to replace Temporary Block Stations with hand crossovers at E-Town and Florin.

Westbound colourized position light mast signals at RHEEMS. Again note the wrong lower heads and 'C' boards. RHEEMS is remote to a panel at STATE.

The 815 auto distant to RHEEMS has to have its masts staggered because of a hand operated switch on #2 track. These signals actually have the correct form of lower head backing plate. The inconsistency here is baffling. 

The white boarded up building in this picture actually used to be an interlocking cabin. Known as LANDIS this was where the Reading Railroad Columbia branch crossed the Main Line at grade. The cabin housed a 5 lever table interlocking machine that covered three pairs of signals, an electrically locked hand crossover on the Main Line and two sets of derails on the reading. Today the crossing is long gone and the trackbed is used by a lumber yard that still has rail access.

The 718 auto distant to LITITZ on track #2 needs no lower head as there are no diverging routes.

The 708 distant to CORK on track #1 does have a lower head (of the wrong type)

LITITZ interlocking used to be part of CORK, but was spun off from that tower in 2008 as part of the complete re-signaling of the Lancaster area. LITITZ is in service on track #2 only and provides a signaled connection to the Lititz Secondary track for freight.

The single turnout comes with a power derail and is good for 30mph.

The westbound mast signal on track #2 at LITITZ has the 'C' board as it is the entrance to Rule 562 territory. The transformer in the foreground is connected to the 12Kv 25hz catenary supply and supplies power to the point machines and heaters to keep the load off of the 6600 100Hz signal power lines.

New gantry mounted westbound home signals at CORK interlocking. Again these have the incorrect backings.

CORK interlocking is the junction between the Philadelphia and Columbia branch (straight) and the Main Line (right). The P&C was the original route of the railroad before the PRR came through and constructed an all rail route to Harrisburg in the 1850s. Today the Columbia Branch is a freight secondary track and provides access to Lancaster's local freight facility.

All the turnouts in CORK are rated for 30mph.

The point machines are special low profile models of the US&S M3, a type normally only used for rapid transit installations. I guess whomever was ordering these was also responsible for ordering the signal backing plates 

Alright I give up. They can't even get consistent lower head backings within the same interlocking!!! The 7W signal has the round backing and the 1W has the straight sided variety. The track on the far left is a freight bypass that is used because the main tracks were routed to stop at high level platforms that can interfere with wide loads. These mast signals are brand new and are part of the self-contained CORK interlocking.

The main track mast signals with the 2W displaying Clear. These have the 'C' boards as track 1 is 562 territory west of here. Also worthy of note is some of the new signal heads have the screws visible, and others do not.

On the other side of the station is an industrial track accessed via the 56 switch and protected by the 6W dwarf signal.

CORK tower was cut over from its classic Model 14 machine to a series of panels in the summer of 2009. It remains open and even gained control of two additional interlockings. Placed in front of the 1927 era CORK tower is the equipment hut for all of the remote interface gear that feeds the panels inside.

Leaving Lancaster station we pass the newly active signal masts for the new CONESTOGA interlocking. You can see how the main tracks were moved over to reach the station platforms with the old station tracks being removed. The freight bypass was then relocated to the south side of the station. 'C' boards are turned as east of here the line reverts back to Rule 251 ABS.

The old sprawling CORK was split into 4 more logical interlockings.

LITITZ - Connection with Lititz Secondary.
CORK (New) - West end of Lancaster station, Jct with Columbia Secondary.
CONESTOGA - East end of Lancaster Station.
HOLLAND - Connection with New Holland secondary.

This is CONESTOGA that now features a full crossover and connection with the freight bypass track.

 One of the new turnouts at CONESTOGA that looks like it should be good for 45mph. This turnout was in place for years before the new signaling was cut in and it could be controlled. Under the old CORK this switch did not exist.

 Westbound gantry signals for CONESTOGA interlocking. Signal on the left has the proper backing while the signal on the right supports a Restricting \. Not sure why it gets one and the other signal has to make due with a Stop and Proceed dot. Possibly due to the freight bypass being unbonded or the desire for following trains to pull in behind a platformed train without delay.

What used to be the 7 switch within old CORK interlocking at the end of a long freight siding has been reduced to electrically locked hand operation.

HOLLAND interlocking is just like LITITZ in terms of use and configuration. However as it is a bit further from the Lancaster station the 661 auto distant for CONESTOGA sits ready to go into service on the gantry while a tempoary ABS signal is in service on #1 track. It will be removed when this became rule 562 a few months after the photo was taken.

Alright that's enough for today. Tune in next time as we see the section between HOLLAND and PARK that was in the process of being re-signaled before we finish with the final section east of PARK that is just as it was in 1948.

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