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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Conrail Tower Videos

 Despite the algorithm Youtube's discovery system is still pretty spotty so I wanted to share a few videos I found showing the operation of some Conrail towers in Ohio.  Unfortunately the first two suffer from a common ailment of interlocking towers videos, near total focus on trains passing by the towers instead of the tower operations themselves.  Of course it's better than nothing and it's great rail videographers were able get what they did, but ultimately locomotives are generally working the same way they did back in the 1960's and will continue to work that way for the foreseeable future. Interlocking towers on the other hand are practically a completely lost art with very little video documentation of how they functioned.

Here in the first video we see inside of the rather large and complex STANLEY tower south of Toledo, OH in 1995.  STANLEY was equipped with a 1930's vintage GRS Model 2 pistol grip frame.  We see one route being lined around time index 4:40 and two more routes being lines around 6:02.  The important thing to watch are the black switch levers stopping before full travel while the points complete their throw and then the lockout lights illuminating when a red signal lever is reversed to line up a route.STANLEY was open using its original machine until about 2015.

In another 1995 we get inside the late, great IU tower just east of Indianapolis Union Station.  Equipped with a 100+ lever US&S Model 14 machine, the tower was closed at some point and re-interlocked, but not re-signaled until just a few years ago.  The tower also contained unit lever CTC desks for area interlockings and retained some degree of functionality until CSX completely re-signaled the plant.  In this video we see only a few brief glances of the operator's floor starting around time index 2:41.  The Model 14 is still present, but it is not clear if it is still in operation.

Since DELRAY tower closed on November 20th, 2020 as the last armstrong style mechanical lever frame in North America, a local railfan posted a video tour of the inside, but unfortunately was not able to capture the machine being operated to line up any train movements.

Finally this news piece from 1986 shows the closure of MORGAN TOWER in Quincy, OH.  This mechanical tower was in service on the Big Four main line complete with power operated semaphore signals. This video does capture a degree of lever frame and pipeline operation as well as some shots of the semaphores rising and falling. Enjoy!

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