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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

RONDOUT Tower Closing and Other News

Well I have the sad duty to report that RONDOUT Tower in Rondout, IL will be closing on March 7th, 2015.  This tower was a former Milwaukee Road job, since taken over by Canadian Pacific and operated with the support of MERTA.  It's claim to fame is a 2x1 diamond with the EJE and features a US&S style unit lever CTC machine with local control of the relay plant.  The signals ans I suspect part of the interlocking logic itself have been updated with "modern" 1980 style searchlights and a recent search of the photo archive does not indicate that a re-signaling is in progress, only a transfer of the control to the CP dispatcher in Milwaukee.  I guess the value added of having eyes on the crossing was no longer seen as necessary.  Along with the re-signaling of Tower A-5 it appears that METRA is really trying to cut its cost on the Milwaukee division.

In other news some of the frozen-in-time ATSF semaphores are being replaced as the US&S T-2 mechanisms wear our beyond economical repair.  With capitol funding for this line still scarce no wide-scale replacement is anticipated.

NJT completed the installation of Rule 562 operation between DOVER and Lake Hopatcong on the former DL&W main.  This setup replaced a previous 261/251 arrangement that was in place to allow easy access to a spur track and crossover with the more lenient ABS rules on one track.  Here at Hopatcong we see 'C' boards up for eastbound movements.

You know it's examples such as these that makes me realize that there probably isn't exactly any specific malice towards old signaling when CSX is ready to replace a Darth Vader cantilever at FB interlocking in Fredericksburg, VA with a new Darth Vader cantilever, just because they can't be bothered to test signals in situ.  The real irony is that around 2005 the "old" canti replaced another modern type RF&P cantilever.  I guess money does grow on trees.

It looks like the joint C&O/SOU cantilever at Orange, VA is not long for this world.  In 2012 this canti lost the C&O facing entrance signal, but was given a reprieve due to the Southern RR entrance signal.  Is it just me or does the replacement Darth Vader appear to use C&O indications like its elephant eared forebearer?  I suspect it does!

Will the installation of a third track between CP-412 and CP-415 on the NS Chicago Line mean the demise of this classic NYC signal bridge?  Probably.

Last, but definitely not least it appears that NS is finally making its move to eliminate the Rule 251 operation on the Enola Branch between STELL and I assume SHOCKS (or WAGO).   NS caltilevers with Rule 562 'C' boards are up a STELL and the pneumatic point machines have already been replaced.  At some point since my 2012 visit a trailing crosover was installed at WAGO to ready it for regular use in bi-directional operation.

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