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Monday, October 17, 2016

STATE Tower Closes (1937-2016)

This weekend the world lost not only an interlocking tower, not only a PRR Main Line interlocking tower, but a PRR Main L interlocking tower still sporting its origional US&S Model 14 electro-pneumatic interlocking machine.  On a personal note, STATE was the first tower I was able to talk my want into (during a long layover on the old Three Rivers while express cars were being attached) and also the first classic interlocking machine I was able to operate. 

STATE was closed due to high speed rail stimulus funds or that transportation funding deal PA worked out a few years back or some combination of the two.  STATE was the last active tower west of THORN and at times had remote control over ROY and RHEEMS, until those two were transferred to the section C dispatcher attached to CTEC.  For those of you who are unaware, STATE's opposite, HARRIS, was preserved after its closure in 1990 and now serves as a museum.  unfortunately, since STATE is an office embedded inside the Harrisburg Station it is unlikely the same sort of thing would happen, however one never knows.

Middle floor, left of the bricked up windows.
In addition to the tower being closed, STATE interlocking was substantially rationalized.  Pneumatic point machines were converted to electric, parallel paths were removed, the engine pocket spur was eliminated, the double slip switch was shipped off to Albany and #8 track was turned into a stub.

Amtrak: We don't need no extra crossovers.
PRR: One more signal is never enough

In terms of what one might consider "upgrades", the almost entirely slow speed plant traded in some of its dwarfs for high Amtrak colorized PLs supporting Limited speed movements from the main platform, although any capacity gain was wasted by placing the only set of crossovers about a half mile away from the station end of the interlocking!   For those of you familiar with the Albany terminal rationalization project, you can tell Amtrak engaged the same set of consultants.

STATE re-signaling project- 10/2015
 This project has been metastasizing for a good 3-5 years now and a lot of what they were planing was evident when I visited last year for Halloween  I guess it was bound to happen at some point and I guess I should be thankful for the extra time we had to document the plant in the digital age and I guess the new gantry and cantilever mounted CzPLs will inspire railfans for decades to come, but with so few Model 14 machines (or any non-solid state interlocking machines) left in operation

STATE and ROY machines.
I have a lot of good photos both inside of the inside and outside of STATE to stay tuned for future articles covering them.  STATE may by gone, but it will not be forgotten.

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