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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swindon Power Signalbox Restoration

Hopefully most of you are familiar with the excellent job the crew at HARRIS tower has done reactivating its US&S Model 14 interlocking machine with the help of a lot of PLC's and Train Dispatcher 3.  Well over in the UK a project is afoot  to do the same thing to the old NX panel from the Swindon Power Signal Box.  The "PSB's" were a generation of British area signaling control centers that replaced the most hard pressed mechanical tower in the 1960's and 70's.  They used a lot of relay logic to implement push button N-X operation and many eventually came to feature integrated train description.  A tour of Swindon PSB can be seen below.



Swindon, like many other PSB's, are being removed from service because many of the telecon grade relays that drive the user interface and other ancillary logic are becoming nearly impossible to maintain.  Here below is a video showing the "domino" style panel board being re-assembled after it arrived at its preservation site.



Here is a brief demo of the old panel UI hooked up to some modern electronics.  And yes that is indeed the Danny Scroggins who is so well known for his comprehensive documentation of vintage British signaling and signalboxes.



Of course there is an entire Youtube Channel devoted to the project, with videos like this one showing the progress of the custom PLC components.



In fact the panel has its own preservation society and as of now they are projecting an grand opening date of June, 2018, plenty of time to score that cheap transatlantic airfare.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Many Signals of Penn Station

In the first decade of the 20th Central, a number of transit mega-projects were under way in the United States.  Two of the most well known are Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station in New York City.  In addition to being civil engineering marvels, they also employed the latest technology in railroad signaling, which included both power operated interlocking machines and, gasp, electric signals. 

I've mentioned before  how surprisingly difficult it was to create the first 100% electric railroad signals.  This was because high intensity electric bulbs (necessary to be seen under daylight conditions) of the time would have an impractically short service life and also because electric power was in vary short supply in might of the country.  However the projects of Penn Station and CGT did not suffer from these two limitations because they were underground, where it was dark all the time and they had reliable supplied of electric power on a 24/7 basis.

Right: Old GCT signal.  Left: New GCT Signal

Fast forward 100 years, while Metro-North replaced all the original 1913 signals in Grand Central, across town at Penn Station, the thrifty stewardship of Amtrak had resulted in much of the 1911 not only seeing the 21st century, but doing so just above the heads of millions of dashing commuters.  Union Switch and Signal, naturally, supplied the signaling for the entire projectfrom the interlocking machines to the relays to the signals themselves.  The signals were a custom job that, as far as I can tell, weren't used anywhere else since the electric age kicked off a rapid period of innovation that saw both searchlights and position lights entering the market in just a few years.


The Penn Station Signals consisted of a tri-light patterned upper head with G+Y+R lamps and then a lower head with an additional two R+Y lamps in a vertical orientation. Since the station trackage was all run at what is today known as "Slow" speed (15mph), there was no need for any of the more complex aspects such as Medium Clear or Approach Medium.  Two lamps were illuminated at all times to provide R/R Stop, Y/R Approach, G/R Clear and R/Y Restricting.  In the tunnels approaching the station Y/G Approach Medium and Y/Y Approach Slow indication were employed.


The Penn Station signal was a single cast iron housing with lovely rounded corners.  Due to the close clearances the signal was designed to be suspended from above, this would result in some awkward "gooseneck" mast mountings as I will show later.


From behind we can see how the signal was divided into two lamphouses, each with its own cast iron cover plate.  Note the very very old style US&S logos and markings.  Remember, all these pictures were taken in 2017, 106 years after the signals were installed.


Here we see a trio of 1911's litterally hanging out next to the now closed 'C' interlocking tower at the east end of the LIRR tracks.  The colored glass lenses are still vivid even to this day, probably because they were made with all sorts of now banned compounds.


Now if you think it is time to move on to the modern signals, you would be wrong as there is a second pattern of 1911 signal scattered about the complex.  One such example is the famous 122W "gooseneck" signal at the west end of track 7 (remember, I said they can only be suspended from above).  If you look closely you'll also notice that the G and Y lamps on the upper head are spread farther apart than on the standard Penn Station signal.


Now these "googly eyed" signals could have been some experimental or pre-production batch, but if you want a more satisfying answer I might say that this pattern was intended for ABS use in the tunnels.  The spread upper bulbs designed to simulate the offset heads of automatic signals.


Moving into the modern period we catch this Amtrak experiment with Safetran Unilens signals hanging at the east end of track 14.  Because of the problems with the Unilens that I have previously discussed, JO signal 566E appears to be an isolated incident.  So what then is the modern replacement for the unique 1911 signals?  Well actually its a modernized version of the unique 1911 signals.


Amtrak had suspended a pair of Safetran modular dwarf units below what may or may not be a Safetran lamp housing for a target style tri-light signal. The result is a nearly perfect drop in replacement for the cast iron 1911's. 


Here we have an even more compact arrangement that omits the space for the "not in conformity" number plate on an absolute signal.  Hey, you can't say it doesn't work. 


Here we can see how new and old compare at JO interlocking with the modern 564W signal displaying Restricting right next to the vintage 566W displaying clear.  The modern lenses are clearly larger, but both get the job done well.  In general, the former outdoor portion of A interlocking has been modernized while one is more likely to find 1911 signals scattered around JO and C, however there are many exceptions to those "rules".  Of course I'm also omitting the smattering of PRR position light dwarf signals scattered around the yard areas, but you've seen those before.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of Penn Station.  Most of these photos were brought to you by the magic of modern smart phone cameras that excel at taking photos in low light conditions and also won't attract swarms of police and security officials.  Next time you are in Penn Station I urge you to look up and if you see something interesting, document it.  After all, nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CP-BURN'd

So I have a brief news update here.  While riding the 2016 Amtrak Autumn Express I noticed that NS had advanced their Reading Line re-signaling effort to CP-ALBURTIS from the west.  It seemed that they would go and cut in the first half of the signaling and then work from CP-ALBURTIS to CP-BURN for the next season.  Well it not appears that they are going to do the whole conversion in one extended go as new signals have now appeared at CP-BURN.  Guess I'll have to schedule another field trip :-(


I am currently processing the photos from this trip and you can find the Lehigh Line portion here:  It's a real mixed bag od NS, Conrail and even a few surviving LVRR signals.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Now For Something Completely The Same (#1AESS Retirement)

I just got word that on or about right now, the last active AT&T/Western Electric #1AESS telephone switches (generally confined to the former SBC territory) are being taken out of service.  This matters because the railroads are currently speeding towards the completely sterile, 100% digital environment that the telecoms have apparently just achieved.  Unlike railroads, which still have a few instances of electro-mechanical interlocking machines and hundreds of relay plants in service, the teleco's banished the last electro-mechanical switch from their network back in 2002, with the majority of the work taking place between 1970 and the 1990.  Back in the day, there was an entire scene of people who would go from place to place, listening to all the strange ways that the phone system functioned.  Today this sort of task would be a fools errand because everything is the same across the entirety of North America. 


Until recently, the #1ESS and #1AESS were the only exceptions.  Sort of like the 3400 series L cars or the NYCTA R68's and their cam-controlled DC propulsion systems, they were analog machines build in a digital world.  While the higher order functions were computer controlled, the actual switching was carried out using reed relays.  It's basically the N-X CTC panel of telephone switches with a computer bolted on to handle some of the route selection functions.  Even then, the attached were old school enough to fall into the "cool" category. 


Like with classic railroad signaling surviving on out of the way branch lines, the #1A aand #1 switches held on due to the recent wholesale divestment in copper wire / landline telephone services.  Still, the economics eventually because just too lopsided in favor of replacement and AT&T canceled its support contract with Western Electric successor Lucent in 2015, with an expected retirement date of 2017.  

This is why it's so important to get out and capture the classic technology before its just collecting dust in the corner of a museum.  In a few decades just about everything will be software running on some bog standard processor mounted on a raspberry pi.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ditmars Tower (NYCS) Demolished

Interlocking towers serving old school rapid transit systems have surprising staying power.  In most cases they are often in underground spaces where any sort of demolition would literally bring down the roof.  Moreover, transit systems are often sealed, reducing the risk of vandalism, have limited windows for work to be done, making the cost higher and operated in a budget poor environment.  However, nothing is absolute and I just learned that a 100 year old IRT interlocking tower on the New York City Subway was demolished this past weekend.


DITMARS tower was located at the Ditmars Blvd terminal of the Astoria El in Queens, right in the shadow of the Hellgate Bridge.  It was originally built as an IRT tower, before eventually being transferred to the BMT division of the TA in 1948.   Although the tower appears to be the victim of fire damage, it is actually being removed for a switch replacement project that requires the use of an on-site crane. 


The demolition process actually provided a bit of an interior view showing that wooden appearance of the tower was a facade that surrounded a very robust steel and concrete frame.  The upper floor would have housed a US&S EP machine, the IRT being a strictly US&S operation.  The lower level would have housed relays wired to the machine above and the appliances out in the field.  Note the good condition of the roof structure, which is all the more remarkable given both its age and the amount of neglect the tower must have seen through NYC's lean years.

DITMARs tower in 2003
DITMARS tower controlled a 3-track full crossover leading into a 2-track terminal station.  Note the large air reservoir to power both the local point machines and the pneumatic trip stops all up and down the line. The tower was closed in 1989 as part of a full line re-signaling project, although the line was equipped with new US&S hardware, if that is any consolation.

Fortunately, DITMARS has many siblings up and down the former IRT elevated lines in the Bronx and Queens.  Almost all of them are out of service, but still hang on as relay rooms or CnS hangouts.  One old IRT elevated tower, 111th St, on the IRT Flushing, is still active, albeit with a fairly new master control NX panel installed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Caught on Camera: Sun Glare

Sun glare is traditionally the enemy of color light signaling.  For years it has been the go to excuse for stop signal violations and one of the driving forces behind cab signaling (right up there with fog).  However catastrophic sun glare is good for bringing out the true colors of color light signals because it happens to illuminate the colored glass filters that gives each old school incandescent bulb its charm.


B&O CPLs are really the best when it comes to front-lighting.  Not only are their colorful, but their large lens diameter really gives one that Christmas Tree effect.  This photo was taken at NA tower, north of Cincinnati.  The sun glare is so bad that even the Darth Vader mast in the back is getting into the action.   Interestingly enough you can still tell what aspects are being displayed, even if you have to work at it. 


Now I like this Seaboard System shot because you have almost exactly one of every color, Green, Yellow, Lunar White and Red.  Most notable are the filter colors for green and lunar white.  Both clearly have a blue bias to them so that the warm white incandescent bulb light will show properly.  It's the difference between additive color and subtractive color. The glare also lets us tell, at a glance, that trains exit the siding at Restricted speed.  Something that will likely be remedied after the impending re-signaling.


The B&O CPLs and US&S N series are some of the best for sun glare shots because the shades are so small.   Both searchlights and PRR PL's lack a glare responce because of elaborate lensing systems.  To prevent even worse instances of phantom aspects, color lights have no internal reflection, however both PRR PLs and searchlights do, to increase the range of their low power bulbs.  That in turn requires anti-glare countermeasures that reduces the photographic effect.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Springtime for News

We start off this time with another gut punch to the signaling scene.  The NS re-signaling effort is not attacking the PC era position light signaling complex on the south end of Buckeye Yard.  Not only are these I-beam gantry mounts PL's still within their useful lives, Buckeye Yard has been pretty much shut down.  What better place to defer maintenance and capital investment!


 I can also confirm that re-signaling work has started on the far eastern end of the PRR Middle Division from CP-BANKS to CP-CANNON inclusive.  This segment had originally been spared from the project working its way westward from CP-CANNON.  Also, presence of 'C' boards eastbound at CP-CANNON mean that the new style 3-track signal bridge at MP 116 will also be removed in favor of cab signals.  Seems a lot more trouble than its worth just to remove one intermediate equipped with modern hardware :-\


 At least on the former Southern part of NS, the signaling is getting dumped for legitimate improvement projects involving the restoration of the double track removed during the Nadir of rail transportation.  Fun fact, the ICC allowed for the Southern to abandon its use of ATS in exchange for installing the CTC system now on its way out.


CSX continues to get it at both ends with signaling projects in both Georgia and in the Buffalo area.  There's still time to get out there and document stuff however.

 

I also recently found some documentation of the discontinuation of 261 signaling on the former Conrail Buffalo now leased by the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad north of Machias, NY.  At least because the line is under lease, the out of service signals have been turned and not removed.  It also doesn't seem to matter if the signals are old or new.



That's pretty much it aside from the news items covered in previous posts.  Remember, don't procrastinate about taking photos or you'll regret it.

Monday, March 6, 2017

LAB Cabin Closes, Ending Many Eras

While this may sound like a bit of a rehash of my recent post on the status of signaling in and around Amtrak's Empire Corridor, some additional news has come to light in the last week that confirms that the former Conrail LAB tower in Albany-Rensselare, NY has officially closed as of 02/07/2017.  Located on the former New York Central freight movable bridge across the Hudson River just north of downtown Albany, the tower controlled the Albany terminal area from CP-141 through CP-145 inclusive.  As part of a general re-signaling and capacity expansion effort, it was replaced by CTC control from New York City.


Short for "Livingston Avenue Bridge", LAB was the last active tower in Upstate New York.  Seeing service under the New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail, CSX and finally Amtrak, LAB wasn't special for some sort of classic interlocking machine, but because of the role it played.   LAB was one of a number of "island" towers that supported Amtrak operations deep in freight railroad territory.  Outside the NEC, Amtrak ran many of its operations from concentrated hubs.  Not wanting the second class service afforded by freight railroad dispatching and (previously) not large enough to be its own CTC territory, Amtrak would either operate its own tower or contract with the host freight railroad to staff one for them.  This gave Amtrak on site attention for its many passenger movements and helped keep the trains moving on time.  Other Amtrak island towers included those around Chicago Union Station, Drawbridge tower in Michigan City, IN, which controlled the Michigan Line and Clara St tower in New Orleans. 


While I never saw a picture inside LAB, it's a pretty good bet that it was equipped like many other Conrail 1970's/80's CTC towers, with a minimalist N-X panel.  Similar Conrail towers included HICK and SCOTIO, although I am sure there were more.  In addition to Amtrak not wanting to deal with a CSX dispatcher, having LAB in charge of a movable bridge also helped as there would be little savings replacing an operator with a bridge tender.  As implied by the term "cabin" the tower was located in the center portion of the drawbridge, the CTC pole line reaching it overhead.


As I said before, the entire Albany complex has now been resignaled with not only new tracks, new doubleslip switches and LED searchlights, but also 562 operation running, so far, between CP-145 and a new CP-149 west of the city.  Eventually the double track will reach Schenectady.  The current (new) layout of the Albany terminal complex can be seen below.


 While it's always bad to see a tower close and classic signaling removed, the new layout is quite impressive and the modern LED searchlights and target signals are not too dissimilar from their GRS fore-bearers.  Also, Amtrak kept the NY Central track numbering scheme going in the station terminal area.  Now all we can do is wait and see at what point the state money runs out and how many Central signals are left standing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Akron Signal Island Sinking Fast

The island of B&O CPL signaling in the Akron, OH area is shrinking rapidly as the iconic downtown double-double CPLs have some unwanted interlopers.  I also saw that the interlocking at the west end of the double track south of town also has new signals up and I would suspect that the interlocking complex at Warwick, OH is not far behind.


The former B&O main line route between New Castle, PA and Willard has always been a bit of an odd duck with a distinct lack of investment.  This was a boon to the signaling community as this preserved large swaths of Rule 251, B&O CPLs and even the interlocking tower in Newton Falls, OH.  Unfortunately it appears that this will become as bland as the rest of the B&O Main Line because, if my calculation are correct, this is the last bit of B&O signaling left.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Amtrak Empire Corridor Status Report

Just came back from my annual trip on Amtrak's Empire corridor and I wanted to give everyone a report on the state of the signaling as various "improvement" projects progress.  I had previously reported on the state of the Albany-Rensselaer terminal complex, formerly controlled by LAB tower.  As of last year, CP-141 and CP-142 had been rebuilt and transferred to the new Hudson North dispatcher (on weekdays at least) along with a new CP-138 controlled point replacing the old CP-141 holdout.  Rule 562 was in effect between CP-141 and CP-138 and work was ongoing to rebuild CP-143, which was placed in service later in 2016.

CP-143 being rebuilt in early 2016
  Fast forward a year and not only have CP-144 and CP-145 been rebuilt and placed under the control of the Amtrak dispatcher, but the second track is not in service between Albany and Schenectady.  New signals at up at CP-145 with the Rule 562 No "Fixed ABS" signs in place for westbound traffic.  Signals are SafeTran modular targets as were seen at CP-141 and CP-138.

CP-145 before its 2016 rebuild
I can also confirm that CP-146 has also been rebuilt to the same standard and I can also safely assume that CP-156 has met the same fate, along with all intermediate signals.

CP-156 in 2016 with construction about to begin.
The good news is that CP-159 and CP-160, situated on either side of the Schenectady station, show no signs of reconstruction, and neither do the intermediate signals between CP-160 and the end of Amtrak ownership at CP-169 in Hoffmans.  The lack of "No Fixed ABS" signs at CP-159 also hint that the two-track signal NYC signal gantry between CP-156 and CP-159 is still in service.  Issues with being able to finance the Schenectady Station reconstruction will hopefully prioritize that over signal replacement.


Rewinding a bit, not effort has started on the much talked about Hudson Line re-signaling project below CP-138.  It will be interesting to see what gets prioritized in the likely funding squeeze ahead.

CP-89 and its friends on the Hudson Line are so far untouched.
In some related news, the last islands of classic D&H searchlights appear to be falling as new signals are ready to go up at CPF-483, located at the south end of Mohawk Yard.  The classic D&H/B&M signal bridge is being replaced as well.  The one interesting thing was that I was finally afforded a closeup of the CP off-brand US&S N-3 non-modular traffic light type signal.  At least that's a little better than the SafeTran clamshell :-\  Also, the relay hut was freshly painted so that might also be seeing a second act.


 Fortunately, years of tireless effort has allowed me to document most of the now replaced, removed or retired signaling locations. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Gosts of Winslow Junction

The following originally appeared in The Trackside Photographer in June of 2016 and was based on a trip I took on Black Friday 2015.  I'd like to do more on Winslow Jct, but in the state it is in now I would need additional access to the tower interior and/or historic photos. Until then, enjoy the historic exploration angle and watch The Trackside Photographer for additional contributions in the near future.

Winslow Junction is located at the edge of the New Jersey Pine Barrens almost exactly half way between Philadelphia and the resorts in Atlantic City.  The site is surprisingly rural for something set in the most density populated of the United States, however 100 years ago Winslow Junction could boast some of the highest traffic densities in the world as two railroads competed to bring millions of middle and working class passengers to the fun and leisure of the New Jersey shore.

In the few decades between the time when workers developed the ability to enjoy leisure time in the late 19th century and and when private automobiles and inexpensive air travel expanded their options in the mid 20th, Atlantic City was one of several resort cities that owed their fortunes to efficient rail transport.  Like Brighton Beach, New York and Brighton, England, Atlantic City relied on a conveyor belt-like system of trains that whisked holiday seekers from the urban core to the beach in the brief period that were released from their jobs. Winslow Junction sat at the nexus of this system located at the point where the Central Railroad of New Jersey's Southern Division crossed both the Camden and Atlantic (PRR) and Atlantic City Railroad (Reading) main lines.  It was also the point where the ACRR's Cape May branch split off from their Main Line with additional connections to the CNJ for its famed "Blue Comet" express service to New York City.


Improving road transport brought rapid change to the Atlantic City travel market and in 1933 the compering Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading System operations were merged into the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. In 1934 the state of the art WINSLOW tower and its associated interlocking was constructed to bind the system together at its nexus point, replacing older mechanical towers and antiquated signaling.  The air operated switches and cab signals were installed on over route 5 route miles of track, all controlled from a single power interlocking machine in a brand new brick tower.

Winslow Tower - PRR styling, P-RSL ivy green.

However the story of Winslow Junction from then on would be mostly one of decline.  As Atlantic City faded, tracks were cut back and the main lines were downgraded.  Finally in 1983 passenger service to the shore was suspended and the interlocking plant in the middle of the Jersey pines was shuttered for good. Fortunately, state ownership meant that the artifacts were largely left in place.  Reconstruction of the Atlantic City rail line in 1989 swept away some of the decay, but the tower's unbroken windows still let in sunlight to shine on the Model 14 interlocking machine for nearly 20 years before they were boarded up.

Windlow Tower northbound with its replacement, NJT's SOUTH WINS interlocking.

The main line to Atlantic City that in its heyday hosted the fastest scheduled passenger train service in the world is now a single track line with short passing sidings with a top speed of 80mph.  The interlocking that remains in sight of the tower is just a single crossover at the south end of one of those sidings.  The second track is now just a glorified storage track, albeit one sporting 136lb main line rail with some joints still still paper thin.  

Rusted 6-bolt main line rail on the storage siding.

Year by year, bit by bit, more of Winslow's history succumbs to collectors, vandals and nature.  The telegraph poles have fallen to those interested in the copper wire or blue glass insulators.  The power supply was bulldozed for PCB remediation and even the half mile long ramp for the Cap May flyover was completely harvested for its supply of high quality construction sand.

Cape May Branch flyover, abandoned in the late 1950's as shore traffic declined.

If anything, Winslow Junction is a testament to the force of nature to reclaim that where the humanity tried to assert its dominance.

A PRR style signal ladder is all that remains of the 10L signal on the flyover bridge.

At the same time it is a testament to those materials of the analogue age that continue to resist the forces of nature, decades after being left to fend for themselves.  Creosoted wooden ties, lead painted pipelines and even rust covered structural steel still stand strong.


Many of the classic PRR position light signals at Winslow Junction were salvaged by local railroad enthusiasts during the Amtrak rebuilding project in the late 1980's, however the former 8L signal stationed at the south junction of the connector track was rolled down the embankment to fade away.


The track connecting the former Atlantic City Line to what became the Conrail Beesley's Point freight line saw a brief resurgence after the tower was closed as it was the only way that Atlantic City bound freight traffic could access the line after the portion between the Delair Bridge and Winslow Junction was taken out of service.  When the line was rebuilt the interchange moved to SOUTH WINS interlocking and the S-curving connector was first left to the weeds.   In addition to the rails, this NJT friction bearing M of W flatcar found itself stuck in time.

The 1934 southbound P-RSL Cape May ramp ducks under the older connection between Reading and PRR main lines. The pipe carried the compressed air supply to the south end of the interlocking plant.

Winslow Junction was built with no fewer than 6 rail-rail overpasses to allow movements to pass by eachother without conflict.  This amount of "flight" is typically reserved for busy urban junctions like Zoo, Harold or Jamaica.  Elsewhere in the country, junctions similar to Winslow would have consisted of flat switches and diamond crossings.

Winslow air line near the top of the Blue Comet ramp.

The air for the switches was supplied by nearly 2.5 miles of pipeline, originating at WINSLOW tower and  then following the CNJ Blue Comet connection up to the ACRR junction before splitting with one line continuing down the Cape May branch and the other using the connecting track to serve the switches around the flyover bridge on the former PRR main line.   Most of this impressive compressed air system was left in place where it is slowly being covered by leaves and vegetation.

Air line running along the shoulder of the county road close to the tower.
Surprisingly this isn't the only abandoned pipeline at Winslow Junction.  On the remaining connecting track between the CNJ and Reading are a collection of concrete blocks dating from before even the depression era WINSLOW tower.  These are foundations for the mechanical pipes that ran from the original ACRR Winslow Jct tower to switches and signals on the CNJ connection.

Concrete footings for a mechanical pipeline run down the CNJ connection to the location of the former wye switch where footings for old signals can also be found.
 While somewhat common overseas, the  mechanical lever operated switch machine in North America was retired in 2010.

Pipeline footings pointing towards the remains of the old ACRR Winslow Jct tower.
Nearly invisible from the track and ensconced in a thicket of brambles and weeds, the foundation for the 1890's vintage Reading owned ACRR tower can still be found.  The upper level raised in1934, the basement continued to be used as a remote relay room and possibly as a secondary air compressor station.  Today, still water tight, it is used as a clubhouse for local teens, looking to consume adult beverages away from the prying eyes of adults.


Winslow Junction is a double accident of history.  Constructed in the middle of nowhere to take the masses to the shore in the pre-auto era, it was left to fade away due to having become the ward of a state that couldn't be bothered to properly dispose of it. Hopefully its secrets will linger on to inspire future generations of trackside explorers.