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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CSX Considers Closing F Tower?

Finally I get to report some news that isn't 6 months old.  Someone linked me an actual print media article about a CSX plan to study if F Tower, in Fostoria, Ohio, should be closed.  For those of you who don't know, F Tower is located at the three-way intersection between the former B&O main line to Chicago, the C&O Northern Branch to Toledo and Nickle Plate east-west main line to Fort Wayne.  F Tower was actually re-signaled about 15 years ago when the B&O Main was rebuilt in the wake of the Conrail merger.  Due to the complexity of the triple junction and its related wye tracks, CSX left the tower open and even gave it its own subdivision.  Operators used the same computer aided dispatch system as the dispatchers back in Jacksonville (or wherever).

Anyway now CSX is making waves about closing the tower and handing off the duties to one or more of the dispatching desks that control the B&O and C&O routes.  Does this mean the tower will close?  It's hard to say.  Just because the F-Tower Subdivision uses 5 Full Time Employees to control the rail traffic doesn't mean that 5 FTE's aren't actually needed.  Thinking that the work of F Tower could simply be transferred to one of the existing desks without causing problems sounds naive, especially since traffic has if anything gone up since 2000.  I'm wondering if this isn't the shot across the bow of NS, who has the most to lose if the F Tower operator job goes away and NKP trains are left to try and get the ear of an overworked CSX dispatcher for clearance through the Iron Triangle. I'm sure and offer to split the costs would not fall on deaf ears.

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