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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

F Tower to "Close", Times Square Tower to Move

So about a month ago I reported that CSX was studying closing the famed F Tower, in Fostoria, Ohio.  Last week the word came down that the tower would be de-staffed at the end of the month (3/31/2015).  Ironically the last straw may have been an incident where the operator got sick and needed a medical transport from the site.  The IP dispatcher was able to take over F Tower's territory, but the resulting traffic jam took almost a day to clear.  I say ironically because the result of the tower going down seemed to prove its worth.

Now I used the term "closed" in the opening because F Tower was resignaled years ago and as was demonstrated it can be controlled remotely at any time should the need arise.  Until I hear that the tower has been torn down or gutted, I am going to assume that F has entered the same sort of zombie existence as HAROLD, still technically active, but only open on an as needed basis.  I'm still somewhat optimistic as if the new arrangement proves unworkable CSX could always re-staff the position...or, more likely, NS could get so tied up that they kick in more money to fund the position.  Either way this will show once and for all if local control provides any sort of value added in the 21st century.

Like F, the tower is open, but nobody is home.
Speaking of "as needed" towers, I got word that the NYC Subway has re-located the venerable Times Square Master Tower from its prominent position in the platform fishbowl to the new Times Square relay room.  All of this is in conjunction with the <7> Line extension project which included a re-signaling of the old TSQ terminal.  In its new location the TSQ operators will use the local control maintainers panel until this fall when the extension opens and they are moved to the 34th St interlocking relay room.  At some point when the CTBC system goes on line primary control will pass to the Rail Control Center in midtown with auxiliary control at points TBD.

The primary casualty of the relocation is TSQ Master Tower's 1953 vintage US&S 'UR' (Union Route) interlocking machine. The machine had remote control of crossovers at 1st Ave and Hunterspoint Ave.  I am unsure how those will be controlled prior to the RCC takeover.  The changeover was effective over the weekend of March 14th.

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