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Sunday, June 29, 2014

California Zephyr: Then and Now

Two weeks ago I took Amtrak's California Zephyr from San Francisco to Chicago, IL recreating a trip I had taken in 2012.  Then as now I spent a lot of time in the rear of the train taking photos of the signaling along the line and while it will be months before I am able to post the 2014 photos I can at least report on what is changing signaling wise using images from the 2012 set.

First up is the former Southern Pacific Capitol Corridor between Oakland and Sacramento.  This is home to many former S&P target type color light signals and in what counts as good news none were removed since 2012.

DAVIS interlocking, which has the relay logic and unit lever emergency control panel inside the former interlocking tower, is still a searchlight and pole line plant with no new signals in evidence.

Hangin in there.
Of course Sacramento lost its searchlights with the station improvement project.

Moving on over the Donner Pass UP is in the process of converting the double track ABS segment on the western slope into CTC.

On the pass itself past SWITCH 9 the three searchlight signal bridges at MP 172, 174 and 176 are being replaced by a pair of Darth gantries.

Going, going...
The searchlights at SHED are safe for now as are the SP color lights between there and the next Searchlit interlocking at WEST NORDEN.  However between there and TRUCKEE all the searchlights have been removed, including several two track gantries on the horseshoe curve.  A few have been left in place with signals turned or removed. :-(

Beyond Truckee all the "reverse" ABS signaling is also being prepared to CTC conversion.

Catch it while you can.
Out on the Reno sub the entire western half that is still searchlit and pole lines is currently undergoing replacement.  This includes recently resignaled interlockings with new searchlights.

New signals to be replaced.
The western section with SP signals is completely untouched, but the area around Winnemucca had also lost its searchlights and new signals were going in at WESO and presumably the DT ABS Elko sub as well.

Kinda good news in Utah where the two track DRG&W main east of Helper has not had the resignaling project begin and the new signals installed between Helper and Grand Junction have only been cut in on the far western end.

Two years and still not in service.
The searchlights in the Grand Junction terminal have also been replaced including the repeaters on the passenger siding.

Now Amtrak trains can be delayed in block.
The DRG&W signals between Grand Junction and Glennwood have also been replaced.

On the Moffat Tunnel sub many of the signals have already been replaced, but a clump of surviving searchlights hang on in the Byers Canyon and Granby area.

Still there!

Moving all the way to Nebraska the signals on the Omaha Sub are still mostly searchlight due to its secondary nature, but perhaps more surprising is that the searchlight signals on the Creston Sub in Iowa are still in place despite Darth Vaders having been up in 2012.  Wierd.

Both BNSF and UP seem to bite off more than they can chew.
The signal bridge in Creston that makes the dividing line between CTC and DT TWC ABS has replacement signals up as well, but the TWC is hanging on because...reasons?

One thing that has changed is that the single track ABS west of Ottumwa has been replaced with CTC.

No more operating against the current of traffic.
Of course the searchlights in the Burlington area are gone along with the signal bridges around Galesburg.

Some signals go up faster than others.

A few straggler searchlight gantries east of Galesburg have also been removed as the third track has gone into service.

In a major blow the searchlights at AURORA interlocking are also being replaced.

These signals are transit accessible?
Although the old CBQ signaling in the Eola Yard area seems ok for now.

Photographable from METRA.
All other searchlights on the CBQ Racetrack west of UNION AVE have finally been removed.

Well that's its for te Cephyr trip report.  Soon to follow the Capitol Limited report.

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