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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Trading the Uncommon for the Rare

The MTBA owned portion of the Fitchburg Line is being re-signaled and while this will ultimately lead to the closure of Waltham Tower and its increasingly rare US&S Model 14 machine, it has created a rather interesting conundrum for the committed signal fan.  The junction of the Fitchburg Line with the Guilford Rail System's freight main line is being reconstructed to accommodate the second track being added to the MTBA portion of the line and of course the relay based interlocking plant with its Boston and Maine era signaling hardware is going to be replaced because what good is Federal money if it can't be used to help out a private for profit corporation.  The silver lining is that a pair of rather spartan B&M two track signal bridges equipped with three head US&S searchlight signal masts are being replaced by brand new target type bracket signals, similar to ones installed previously on the Haverhill Line resignaling project.

While the loss of searchlights, especially US&S H-2 units is always tragic, the truth is that the bracket mast is far more endangered on the North American rail network than the searchlight signal is, especially if Unilens and new LED searchlights are included.  Today the MBTA is the only outfit that still regularly installed bracket masts after NJT generally dumped them in favor of standard signal bridges.  So I guess I'm have to be contented with the silver lining of getting a brand new instance of something that has become increasingly rare. 

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