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Friday, June 8, 2012

Updates: BNSF and D&H, Bad News All Around

Leading off, if you remember a few days ago I posted that Canadian Pacific had abandoned its policy of replacing old three head searchlight stacks on its former D&H main line with similar Unilens units and instead decided to abandon all sense of style and just go with Darth Vader types.  Well it appears that what was sighted at CPC-100 was not an isolated replacement, but instead part of a whole line re-signaling that has now reached the signals at CPC-37, including the widely photographed D&H bracket just north of the Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station

So much for the authenticity of the Saratoga and North Creek tourist operation.  Anyway, the re-signaling is going to spare the recently re-signaled plants like CPC-36 and CPC-481, concentrating on the relay logic plants in order to aid PTC adoption.  (See why the signal vendors were lobbing so hard for this?  Cost effective "overlay" my ass!)  The fate of the plants that recently had signals replaced without back end improvements remain to be seen.  What is even more unfortunate is that CP is piling cheap upon cheap and installing signals unable to display bottom yellow Restricting indications for many of the routes.  At least CSX gets some credit for rectifying this oversight on the former Seaboard system interlocking plants it is "upgrading."

The saving grace for the former D&H main is that all of the automatic signals have already been replaced with searchlights of the Unilens type and modern relay and track circuiting equipment.  Moreover the line has one passing siding per 20 route miles, instead of the usual 7-10 so a majority of the signals will stay Searchlit.  Still, its a shame that CP couldn't stick to its guns and continue providing the D&H with a higher quality signaling experience, even if that meant LED searchlights (which are not being given a fair shake IMHO). 

Second update comes on former CB&Q Main Line where pole-line serviced searchlights mounted mostly on two track gantries have been under attack for the last couple of years.  While that replacement was long in coming, it appears that the Altoona of the CBQ is also facing extinction with the A, B and C plants at Galesburg now under a death watch despite lack of pole line feed.  What a waste.  Good news here is I'm scheduled on a Zephyr trip and should be able to document them in time.

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