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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Caught on Camera - Episode 3 Short Signal Distances

Today on CoC I wanted to follow up to my recent piece on NORAC signaling by showing a few interesting photos of the effects of short signal blocks and specifically those running under CSX's Seaboard style color light signaling. 

First up is this NS Penn Central Heritage unit running on the former NY Central Main Line in Amsterdam, NY at CP-188.  CP-188 was recently caught up in CSX's re-signaling fervor with the NORAC compliant former NYC signals getting the Darth Vader treatment with Seaboard style signal rules.  Here we see a Y/Y Advance Approach indication on the opposite track instead of the NORAC style *Y*.  This is a bit ironic as the NYC was a user of Y/Y for Advance Approach and Conrail had to change it all over to *Y*.  Incidentally  as the Seaboard signal rules lacks a flashing yellow aspect there was nothing preventing CSX from just adding it to the Advance Approach rule.  The short signal block is for the pair of "handed" interlockings the NYC liked to use in place of crossovers.

Sometimes Advance Approach just won't cut it.  Here we see F TOWER at Fostoria, OH which consists of three main lines meeting in a large triangle of diamonds.  The signal to the right has been pulled up to display a Seaboard R/R/Y Slow Approach for the stop signal plainly in view.  Under NORAC that yellow would have to flash.  Also note the strange central placement of the Red lamp on the middle heads.

Still at Fostoria, but on the C&O main line we can see that that railroad didn't care so much about stopping distances, especially since the C&O rulebook completely lacks Advance Approach (it uses Approach Medium instead).  Here we can see a Clear to an Approach all the way down to the Stop.

Finally we see an N&W 2-6-6-4 steam locomotive on a fan trip in 1991 about to take a an N&W CPL style Diverging Approach signal.  Yeah it doesn't have to do with short signal blocks, but its pretty cool.  Under the PRR this would be Slow Approach, but with route signaling there is no need to differentiate between speeds.


  1. I've always wondered, why place the red in the center on the middle head?