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Saturday, September 28, 2013

NS and CSX Tear It Up in the South

Time for another bit of the News.  This time I have a number of reports from NS and CSX operations in the south and east.  Starting in the North we begin with the former Conrail River Line which in the interest of a capacity improvement is seeing all of its remaining small target searchlit equipped restricted speed sidings replaced with new signaled sidings and the Darth Vaders that come with them.  Here we see the damage at CP-33.



 The re-signaling project on the Philly Sub had moved on from Van Bibber reaching up as far as the Aikin siding.


 

Moving south I have the sad duty to report that despite a recent round of repainting and signals that are only about 20 years old CSX has set its sights on the signals in the Bailey's Wye area of Baltimore, immediately adjacent to the sports complex there. While expected, it is highly unfortunate that the home of the B&O will no longer have any B&O CPL signals.  Just like heritage painted locomotives, heritage signals are just as significant and draw just as many fans with camera to promote the brand.


Farther south the resignaling efforts on the A-Line are largely complete from Petersburg south to Selma although the section south of Rocky Mount has a dew surviving heritage signals and others that have had replacements up for over a year.  Most important loss has been Contintina interlocking and the Wilson crossing complex.


 NS on the other hand is going after its collection of searchlight signals in Tennessee.


 Which include these very early GRS examples shown mounted on a low cost Southern Style beam type signal gantry.


 NS is also doing some work on the Chicago Line near Toledo which involves the replacement of the classic NYC signal bridge at MP 282 in order to provide an additional intermediate signal on the 4-mile long controlled siding between CP-285 "Vickers" and CP-281..  NS previously completed work west of the City to install additional interlockings and siding track at NASBY and may be working right now to also re-signal CP's 288 and/or 289.



While riding Amtrak train #20 I saw that NS is gearing up for a massive re-signaling effort starting from just North of Gainesville to at least as far as Greenville, SC.   This runs completely counter to the normal piece by piece type of resignaling that NS is more known fore and almost resembles the western efforts that drop new signals along hundreds of miles of track and then work to convert it over several years.  This is especially disappointing as NS had previously shown itself willing to preserve some of the old Southern RR type structures due to their simple color light style.  The main loss here apart from the beam gantries and GRS modular traffic lights will be the offset automatics which are getting increasingly rare outside of Canada.


Finally we have one additional report from the CSX Abbeville Sub from friend of the Blog, Flagstop. 

Elephant ears are falling on the CSX Abbeville Subdivision so far from points north of Carlton to the north end of HULL siding (M.P. SG497.3); cutover was accomplished 12 August 2013 as part of a replacement by “Darth Vader” signals. The replacement included at the very least the intermediate, automatic, dual-sided, single-mast signal at Carlton, Georgia (M.P. SG483.1/483.0), southbound to the north end of HULL siding (M.P. SG497.3). This includes north end and south end of HOWIE siding (M.P. SG497.3 to M.P. SG499.4), and automatic dual-sided single-mast intermediates between Comer and Colbert (M.P. SG489.9/490.0, M.P. SG492.5/492.4, and M.P. SG494.9/495.0). Points north of Carlton, including NORMAN siding, CALHOUN FALLS siding, and the various intermediates may have been cut over at the same time or earlier; since I did not travel north of Carlton, I cannot verify anything north of that point. Old masts, signal heads, and some relay cabinets were removed and hauled away that very day with others following later in the week. Replacement signals generally DO include the capability of displaying more aspects, including lunar white for RESTRICTING (new to most of that portion of the line). Some signals that require flashing aspects may also be possible, but as a rule CSX does not use them on this line. Other signals saw replacement of the lower, offset head GREEN (only) signals (both small targets and large elephant ear targets) on 2-head intermediates replaced by an inline/non-offset signal that always displays red or green on the second head whenever the upper signal head is activated (Note: Most, but not ALL of these intermediates are approach lit, and even some that one would think would be, are continuously illuminated; curiously enough the signaled passing sidings at some locations were ALSO approach lit until 15 or 20 years ago). The new relay cabinets at the Howie siding and elsewhere have nice Verizon dish antennas and other components that are part of the move to Automatic Train Control. New relay cabinets, some preliminary signal pedestal, underground electrical, and new switch integration work is in process for points south of this newest work (from M.P. SG499.4 on down the line) as the work continues for conversion of more portions of the line. As mentioned above, the railway has quickly moved to remove evidence of the old signal hardware, unlike in some previous signal projects where old hardware, e.g., signal masts and signal heads were cast to the edge of the property beyond the ballast; even today some of the interim signals replaced or removed in the past four years or so are STILL on the ground near the tracks.
 Of course CSX work to modify parts of the Abbeville Sub are nothing new, but if the previously patched portions will be replaced again remains to be seen. 

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