Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Mystery Searchlights Revealed
Last August I reported on a strange type of searchlight signal being installed by Canadian Pacific. Canadian Railroads had, until recently, been supporters of the searchlight signal style switching to Unilens and 3-color LED's as electro-mechanical searchlights fell out of favor. Well, Unilens signals had always gotten a bad rap when it came to beam intensity and I noticed that in pictures of the new signals around the Mechanicville Yard complex that what was being installed didn't look familiar and also, from external reports, were quite bright. Well, I finally up to the area to check things out.
It turns out that these searchlights are indeed not of a traditional type or made by a traditional manufacturer. While they roughly look like old school searchlights the housing is quite a bit larger and unfortunately did not provide any clue to the type of mechanism inside.
A closeup of the builders plate shows that these aren't even made by a signal vendor, instead a custom steel housing outfit in Manitoba. So it looks like for a time CP was going in house to supply its signaling needs. If these were to more reliably house old school searchlights or a new housing for some sort of LED based unit perhaps using a mirror system I do not know,, but I suspect I will find out eventually.
Looking down the barrel there appear to be LED elements behind the traditional focusing lenses, which is not surprising seeing that CP has now flipped to bare LED Darth Vader units. unfortunately while some light was shed on these mystery searchlights I unfortunately discovered another variety at CP-448 on the Guilford Freight Main Line in Eagle Bridge, NY. Oh well, give me something to do the next time I am in the area.