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Monday, June 4, 2012

Odd Stuff at Night

I wanted to quickly take the time to show some really fascinating signal related photos I came upon in the last few weeks.  The first was taken at Willowtown, WV on the old Norfolk and Western main line and shows a pair of classic N&W CPL bracket mast automatic signals.  What makes this photo especially cool is that it helps to counteract the conventional wisdom that N&W CPLs are equivalent to Amtrak's colourized position lights.  While the upper head of an N&W CPL is the same as the Amtrak variety, the lower head makes use of all yellow (not Amber) lights (except for the central red marker on absolute signas).  You can see this for yourself in this photo that shows an Approach Diverging signal on the bracket next to a Clear signal.

The next pair of examples show the C&O's absolutely bizarre implementation of a diverge to stop aspect.  Before the advent of reliable flashing relays, most railroads that wanted to use a lower head yellow for Restricting had to kludge how they handled diverge to stop (Medium Approach, Slow Approach) aspects.  Some, like the New York Central, simply used three signal heads on all signals, other used ground mounted subsidiary signals while the PRR simply had trains diverge over Approach (or Slow Approach).  Well the C&O was to have none of this and for their Medium Approach they added a second yellow lamp on the lowest head as seen here in this photo near Fostoria.

What is the reason for this?  Well it makes sense when you see that Slow Approach is R/Y/R, compared with Restricting R/Y (over Dark).  Yup, the C&O was so committed to the Restricting yellow on the second head they actually will light up a red lamp to upgrade the signal...crazy!!!  Here is a Slow Approach example at Fostoria.

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