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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Caught on Camera - Episode 1

I'm starting a new semi-recurring topic called "Caught on Camera" where I will highlight interesting signal indication not normally caught on camera (still or video).  I would usually stuff these into news posts, but I think they should make up their own thing.  This week I have two examples, one from the NS ex-Wabash Kansas City District and the other is from the former Conrail Detroit Line.

The NS Example is from the BIRMINGHAM (Missouri) interlocking where the the BNSF IC&E line crosses the former Wabash line to Kansas City.  Birmingham crossing also marks the start of joint operation under BNSF rules and is also under control from the BNSF KN operator at Ustick "Tower".  All signal rules and indications in this stretch of track use BNSF rules including the eastbound signals at the Birmingham crossing.  In the first photo we see an eastbound NS train wrong railing across the diamonds getting a Y indication on a dwarf signal.  However while this looks like a Rule 251 Restricting situation, because of the BNSF rules that train is either getting Approach or Approach Medium (*Y*) since BNSF does not use different dwarf indications.  Looking further down in the background we see an NS signal displaying Diverging Clear.  Just an interesting situation that is not often captured.

Same location and this time we see an eastbound light engine, right railing this time, getting an Approach indication at the diamonds under BNSF rules, but at the next interlocking we see a Restricting indication as beyond the diamonds NS rules are in effect and NS uses R/Y Restricting.

Moving over to the Detroit Line, although technically it is on the CSX (C&O) Saginaw Sub where it crosses the Detroit Line at CP-WAYNE.  This is certainly a unique situation where we have a Michigan Central style small target searchlight signal which was used to upgrade the wrong direction route on the C&O line from a dwarf as the original large target searchlight signal can be seen on the opposite track (the C&O Pierre Marquette division used large target searchlights instead of their US&S N style elephant ears).   Why would Conrail install this signal?  Because crossing at grade bring out all sorts of odd maintenance arrangements and CP-WAYNE is controlled by the Conrail/NS dispatcher.

Going by C&O signal rules this would in fact be Medium Approach Slow (assuming that the lower head isn't flashing) so I'm not sure if this this is just some poor substitute for Medium Approach Medium, if the route would take the train over one of the wye tracks and onto the Detroit Line or if the required medium route at NEWBURGH interlocking used to have a slow speed dwarf as a holdover from the 251 days and the CP-WAYNE signal was just never changed once NEWBURGH was upgraded.  Anyway, its a great catch of of what is probably a unique situation.

If you live in the area that's a public road 5 feet to the left of the signal so if you want to go and try to confirm what's going on here with the M-A-S signal go camp out and get back to me ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Birmingham is controlled by the KN Dispatcher at "Ustick" tower, which is a carryover from the BN days. While the tower still stands just east of the Downtown Airport on the North Side of the Missouri River, All 3 dispatchers that used to be based at Ustick (with the exception of possibly the ASB and Hannibal bridge Tenders) now work from the Kansas City Terminal's "Joint Dispatch Center" near BNSF's Argentine Yard (but to avoid confusion answer the radio as "Ustick tower"). The NS dispatcher (who dispatches 29 miles of joint line East of Birmingham), sits in the Joint Dispatch Center as well, making communication between the two easy.

    IC&E has their own dispatcher (which I do not believe works from the Joint Dispatch Center) but as the lesser railroad, yields the authority of the Diamonds to BNSF.