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Saturday, June 29, 2013

The New Interlocking Towers?

It is a bit ironic that the same automation technology that so utterly decimated traditional interlocking control systems now seems to be reviving things in a way.  As the cost of automation continues to drop what used to be handled by hand operated switches can be remote controlled using less formal methods. Here are a few photos I spotted of a new remote control yard operation at Camden's Pavonia Yard, which was recently downgraded from a humped classification yard to a flat remote control job.

Here we see the "tower" (pavilion?) in the middle of the yard leads.

The magic happens on a ruggedized touch screen panel that allows the remote control engine operator to also remotely operate the yard switches.

Here is the actual interface.  As you can see it also include authentication (probably hard coded to some easy to guess password) and various functions to both throw the switches and possibly remote control the engine or functions of flat switching.  Doesn't have the charm of a real interlocking tower, but its not hard to envision this sort of thing moving to a mobile device and out of yards and onto non-signaled branch lines.

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