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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game Over, Just Pack It In

Despite all the bad signal news those tho appreciate classic signaling could always count on the fact that classic signals were still being installed on a regular basis well into the 1980's and in some cases the 1990's.  This was well into the solid state, microprocessor controlled era and those signals avoided the decades old relay logic and fragile pole lines that are now dooming so many early CTC installations.  If signals typically last a good 40 to 50 years before replacement becomes a priority, that meant that at least these last in examples would be with us until the 2020's or even 2030's. 

Unfortunately CSX has other ideas and case in point is the Capitol Sub between Baltimore and Washington.  While there were some older interlockings, 7 were brand new from the 80's and 90's and as of now two have been resignaled (DORSEY and AMMENDALE) and two more, right outside of Washington Union Station, are about to go under the knife.  That's right I'm talking about the back to back interlockings on the Washington Wye, F TOWER and QN TOWER.

F is known for its modern tubular cantilever mast with 2x4 orbital CPLs and its twin 6 orbital CPL masts (although the signals really only need 2 orbitals each).  On the other side of things there is QN tower with its two 5 orbital and two 4 orbital CPL masts.  This is going to be a real lost in an important railfan hotspot where both classic B&O and PRR position light signaling came together.  What ever prompted CSX to go forward with this terrible waste I'll probably never find out, but the only option anyone really has right now is to get down there.  QN is accessible from a bike path and F Tower can be viewed from a highway overpass from the rear of passing Amtrak trains.

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