I think we've seen enough of Dave's bilge for awhile. He never looks at the site so he won't be upset by that...LOL
Ohio...................................Fairhope Canton PRR
Sorry for the scant amount of information. Perhaps the multiple pictures will make up for this. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Fairhope controlled the east end of Canton Yard and the junction of Pennsy's Pittsburgh to Chicago Line( The Fort Wayne Line) and the Bayard Branch(Bayard Cutoff)(River Line) PRR routed a significant amount of traffic over the Bayard Branch but Penn Central and Conrail used it sparingly. The line was abandoned by 1983.
The tower was built in October 1919 and its call letters were "FO" It stood at MP 96.8 from Pittsburgh.
What was unusual about the PRR in Canton, Ohio was that there were 4 towers in a distance of about 6 Miles: (E TO W) Fairhope, Stark, Wandle, & McKindley. All of them had mainline crossovers......Shel Lustig
Fairhope also controlled Superior which was the actual connection of the Bayard Branch.......SL
If I recall correctly, there was some engineering problem with the Branch between Superior and Bayard that resulted in the abandonment of that section and the construction of a low-speed connection in the southwest quadrant of the junction at Alliance.......SL
LOL....After making fun of Dave I still ended up quoting him.
APRIL 2 Good Friday
Ex EL operator Phil Albano sent me these two interior shots.
Ohio......................WR(Walbridge) Toledo 1 2 PRR
Toledo Terminal x C&O x PRR
Harsh light from the flash notwithstanding the machine looks to be in poor shape. Mike Silvers said sometime in the early 2000's CSX did a few minor improvements to some of their towers. This interior shot I took in 2001 bears this out. Hey Mike; notice the model train on top of the machine. You mentioned it in our last phone conversation.
APRIL 4 Easter
The HAER (Historic American Engineering Record established by the National Park Service, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Library of Congress) documented tons of rail bridges and a few towers.
These came via Geoff Hubbs.
Massachusetts.........Tower 1 South Station Boston B&A ? Pennsylvania............Alto Altoona 1 2 3 4 5 PRR Washington DC.........K Washington Union Station PRR West Virginia............Z West Keyser 1 2 3 4 B&O
The messenger of fear is slowly growing, nearer to the time,a sign.
Ohio............................*Hagenbaugh 1 2 3 PRR
At one time Hagenbaugh was a "real" tower. At some point it became just a block station. I believe it has been closed then reopened a handful of times depending on PRR/PC/CR's needs. (a temporary block station opened and closed by way of train order) At some point a trailer replaced the shanty. Photo three shows Hagenbaugh after some farmer bought the building and moved it onto his property. The following it what Bill Haines(ex operator) had to say :
I attached a pic of Hagenbaugh circa 1905. I got it from the Champaign County History Museum and they said it was OK to post and share. This would have been the second tower there. I think it was built when the line was double-tracked. The first was a block station. We think this tower closed about 1927 when ABS was installed on the Bradford Line. The shanty was used as a temp block station until it was replaced by a trailer after Hagenbaugh became a full time operation in 1976.....Bill Haines
An operator whose name I shall not mention used to hold the infrequent railroad slide shows in Hagenbaugh when it was in a trailer (he did the same at Burt and a few other places) One night during one of these "presentations" an officer of the company riding on the head end of a train went by here after it was dark. I supposed he was wondering why at this remote location and after dark why there were a handful of cars parked around the trailer. The operator never heard a word about it.
Another time (I believe it was the same operator) he mounted a Hagenbaugh sign complete with PRR keystone, a red background and gold lettering on the trailer. A few hours after a Conrail inspection train went by here he received a phone call...."Take that sign down NOW; this is Conrail not the Pennsylvania ! "
Evidently the higher management at Conrail was just as humorless and horse sh** as CSX is today.
Hangenbaugh was on PRR's Columbus to Chicago and Indianapolis via Bradford Main. It was at MP 42.1 from Columbus Ohio. Its call letters were "HN"
Ohio...............................Ohio City NYC x ERIE x NKP
Erie : Marion to Chicago
NKP : Toledo to Frankfort IN
NYC : Jackson MI to Cincinnati (Cincinnati Northern)
Ohio City stood at MP 110.6 from Jackson MI. My PC ETT dated 1973 shows it still opened as an interlocking/train order office. It call letters were "RE" and it was Erie staffed.
Ohio City was a true union station serving three railroads with bay windows facing the Erie, New York Central and Nickel Plate. Control of the crossing was handled by RE Tower, which had a target and ball signal. Ohio City was originally named Enterprise from which the telegraph call letters RE were probably derived from. The crossing was interlocked in 1944 when a Union Switch & Signal table model machine with six flip-flop lever replaced the target and ball signal.
The original tower was located inside the small area formed by the crossing diamonds. This was such a tight spot that you can see in the photo that one side of the tower is angled to provide clearance on the NKP side. A new tower built on the southwest corner of the station in 1920 replaced the original one. That tower was removed from the station in 1954, and the operators and interlocking machine moved into the bay window facing the Erie.
Most favorite railroad locations of our youth have declined or changed greatly through the years, and Ohio City is no exception. The station closed May 31, 1976 and was demolished in 1988. The interlocking was taken out of service and stop signs installed. The Penn Central (Cincinnati Northern) line was not included in Conrail and was abandoned first. The N&W (NKP) was leased to Indiana Hi-Rail which operated it until 1997, and the rails were removed in 1998. This part of the EL was not included in Conrail so after a short time being operated as a light density line the state of Ohio purchased it from the EL trustees and the Allen County and Van Wert port authorities became responsible for its operation.The Spencerville & Elgin railroad operated on the former EL between Lima and Glenmore until 1993. The line was dormant until 1997 when RJ Corman resumed operations. The EL track was removed from Ohio City to Glenmore around 2008 - 2010. Some of the rail was recycled and reused in the Van Wert, Ohio industrial park.
The small town railroading that once was so common has gradually faded away, with the exception of some short lines, leaving mostly giant soulless monolithic railroad corporations who have no interest in serving the small shipper, who treat employees like annoying necessary nuisances and eagerly anticipate a future of advanced computerized remote control unmanned trains that will eliminate most of the remaining employees and whose main interest is ensuring the next quarterly earnings increase to keep the stock price up and thus satisfy the Wall Street money masters and whose ugly overgrown diesels roll on a modern, sterilized mainline missing stations, towers, roundhouses, cabooses, double track (in some cases), semaphores and even the lowly telephone pole line, all of which once attracted and fascinated both small town boys and big city boys like you and me.
Phil Albano ex EL/CR operator
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind and when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind.
Just a few stragglers
Indiana...........................Glen(JC) Richmond PRR
Picture of the original Glen.
New Hampshire................Woodsville 1 2 B&M Ohio..............................*J Amboy LS&MS(NYC)
Amboy was west of Conneaut.
This won't be as extensive as some of the other exposes I have done but.............
Three towers stood in Mansfield an all in sight of one another.
Pennsy's Pittsburgh to Chicago line crossed B&O's Willard to Newark Ohio line. Built in 1897 and closed in Jan 1980.
It was a mechanical plant with an S-8 add-on. After it closed control was handled by a Conrail dispatcher and was re named "West Mans". It stood at MP 175.7 from Pittsburgh......Dave Oroszi
PRR's Pittsburgh to Chicago Line crossed Erie's New York to Chicago line. It was built in January 1892. It used a 16 lever machine with an S-8 add-on. There was a 4 lever table top machine that controlled a place called Lynch, MP 174.3 (Mansfield was at MP 175.3 from Pittsburgh) Mansfield's call was "KC"......Dave Oroszi
MD : it was an Erie tower and I worked it off the extra board. There were two B&O lines that crossed the EL there. One was the Newark-Sandusky line, the other was a spur called the "City Track." To run a train we had to coordinate with the two PC towers, one where the B&O crossed(B&O Jct) and the other where the EL crossed (Mansfield).........Bill Haines...ex EL/CR operator
I probably will not be updating for a few days. Wally Mattes is coming down Thursday to do tower research with John Fuller and Dick Baldwin. He will be staying here and helping put together my all tower show that I'll be giving to my railroad club (RFI) here in Indianapolis. It is open to everyone so if any of you live close you are more than welcome to attend.
My getting-ready-for-my-tower-show sabbatical is over. I'm ready to get back in the saddle.
Today's update is an expansion of the Mansfield expose. I had written that Mansfield controlled a place called Lynch, one mile away but nothing about it other than just a station name existed in the timetable. I pleaded for help and good ole Rob Mandeville rode in to save the day. He chided me that had I looked at my timetable(s) more closely my questions about Lynch could have been answered. It was under "Hand operated switches equipped with electric locks". For those of you that are not familiar with this, this is location where the switches controlling either crossovers or merely leading to another line or in some instances an industry are under control of a dispatcher or in this case a tower operator. You contact the operator and not only does he give you permission but he ELECTRICALLY RELEASES the switches to the employee making the move. This was the case with Lynch where Mansfield controlled the switches. Now that I've bumbled through this I'll let Rob take over. I've added 3 pages of a PRR ETT 1961 that shows a few examples of this operation. I've also added a 1957 track diagram of B&O Jct. Both were sent by Rob.
The 4-lever desk interlocking in Mansfield tower is shown on the 1957 diagram; one lever controls electric locks on 3 switches in Track 2 at Lynch, a couple miles to the east. The other 2 operable levers control traffic on Track 2 both east and west of Mansfield Tower. At neighboring B&O Jct. there's a similar arrangement but it's not on a separate interlocking machine; one lever controls electric locks on 2 switches in Track 2 at Mill, a couple miles to the west........Rob Mandeville
With the introduction of Rule 261 (bi-directional) operation on Track 2 through Mansfield, the PRR needed traffic levers at the interlockings to control it.....RM
Additionally, all hand-operated switches needed to be equipped with electric locks. There's a special instruction in the timetable specifying these locations. The electric portion of the Mansfield interlocking had no levers to spare; it got the table interlocking. At B&O Jct. there seems to have been spare S-8 levers so they used them.
Attached is an older diagram for B&O Jct. which show the arrangement described. Three excerpts from the 1961 timetable show the station locations, the electric lock locations, and the Rule 261 (Column 2) operation through the area......RM
I have lots of stuff waiting in the wings. I'll start back in earnest tomorrow(Monday April 12) Lord willing.
Maryland........................AM Altamont 1 2 B&O
AM was located at the top of 17 Mile Grade on the B&O West End line between Cumberland and Grafton. Note the well constructed stairs.......Fran Giacoma
Here is my monthly Wilhelm allotment.
Delaware.......................*Canal Draw Kirkwood PRR
JD Tower controlled the junction of the Alexandria Subdivision with the Washington Subdivision. The Alexandria Subdivision to Potomac Yard is on the far right in this photo. The double track main line to Washington DC and to Cumberland is to the left.
More is starting to roll my way from my tower guru; Wally Mattes. Here are four singles.
Michigan........................*Clare C&O ?
Clare is where Ann Arbor's Toledo Ohio to Frankfort MI line crossed C&O's Saginaw to Ludington Line.
Regarding the nice depot in Clare, MI I've been there a number of times including when it was still a through route for the Chessie System (C&O) on the Saginaw - Ludington line in the early 80's as a high school kid. Now the section of that C&O line starting in Midland going west to at least Reed City is a rail trail. The former Ann Arbor RR line thru Clare is alive and well with the Great Lakes Central handling the trains today.....Pat Seward
More info in a few days.
I believe the Michigan Central (MC) and C&O had joint trackage rights from at least here to Mershon.
Thank you for sending the two photos, especially the wonderful Wally Mattes photo of the MC RR/NYC/PC "Genesee Avenue" depot in Saginaw, MI and shown in the PC employee timetables and train orders as "Saginaw". Although I never step foot in that depot, I am copying a friend of mine, Erick Facknitz who worked as a Penn Central Operator in the Saginaw depot around 1974. As I understand it, the C&O trains that went west towards Grand Rapids via the "turkey trail" line had trackage rights over the PC between Mershon to a place called Paines (5.87 timetable miles west of Saginaw), where the PC line to Lansing / Jackson, MI split off to the south where the C&O went straight west to Grand Rapids via Hemlock, Alma, Edmore, Greenville, Lowell and on to Grand Rapids, MI......Pat Seward
I believe, but am not sure, if the PC Operator in the Saginaw depot remotely controlled switches and/or signals but I think they may have, which is why I'm copying Mr. Facknitz for comment.....PS
Once PC moved out of town on March 31, 1976 with Grand Trunk RR taking over on April 1, 1976, sometime afterwards the beautiful MC RR Saginaw and Bay City West Side depots were both torn down (sigh)....PS
Addition made on April 18. The following is from Erick Facknitz, retired operator. In addition to his comments on Saginaw there is a bit about his career relating to this tower.
I began my railroad career breaking in at the old NYC Genesee St. depot in Saginaw. I had 12 wonderful days there under the capable tutelage of older veteran operators who really knew their stuff, and taught me a lot. But shortly after I arrived at Saginaw the 3rd trick operator at Wenona Yard (Bay City) resigned his position to go work on the farm, and I was quickly hustled north to finish my training, and immediately assigned to the regular 3rd trick up there upon my qualification. Best job I ever held on the railroad!
Regarding Saginaw, I only had one opportunity to work a solo shift there. 2nd trick opr. Claude Fisher booked sick during my rest days, and I got the call from the Jackson chief to fill the job at overtime. I was delighted and scared. But everything went smoothly and I came out unscathed. Never got another OT call for Genesee. Too far down the seniority roster, I guess.
So, my memories of specific workings at Genesee are limited. (And not improving much as I rapidly approach 70!) There was a small interlocking panel on the south wall of the operator's office for the somewhat distant Paines interlocking. There were signals there for the PC (to/from Lansing) and the C&O (to/from Grand Rapids). I believe we did, in fact, remotely control the single switch and signals for Paines from Genesee St. Sadly, I never took the opportunity to photograph the tiny interlocking diagram. (Damn.) Somewhere, I do have a slide of the sun setting over the Paines actual interlocking from the old days. (Scanner currently inoperative...) A vivid memory regarding Paines involves the "alarm" which sounded when an northward/eastward movement hit the circuit. Not at all like the typical tower "ding", this was a bonafide "buzzer", the likes of which reminded me of our old elementary school fire drills! First time I heard that was on day one of my training. Reggie Coleman was feeding me sample practice train orders to copy, and I was concentrating quite seriously when that UPE coal train out of Owosso hit the circuit. Reg got quite a kick out of it when I tossed that ink pen a good five feet into the air!
Sorry I can't provide more thorough info or any photographic evidence at this time......Erick Facknitz
I'd like to take a minute and say how grateful I am to all the guys that in addition to being very knowledgeable about the towers I post but are so gracious to share this information with me and I turn to my viewers. I believe all this accompanying text makes for a more pleasurable tower experience. Nobody has written to complain so I'm taking that you guys approve. If you did I wouldn't pay attention to it anyway. I would list names but they are too numerous so I'll just give a blanket heartfelt "Thank You"........Dan Maners
B&O's Cincinnati to Detroit via Toledo line crossed B&O's Baltimore to Chicago via Pittsburgh line. It was at MP 168.4 from Cincy....Call letters "DR"
Deshler Tower housed the Dispatcher for the Third Subdivision of the Toledo Mainline. One end was the CP for North End Double Track Lima (Two mains and a yard lead on both sides, down to single main Northbound) to (originally) "ON" Cabin, Roachton, then trimmed back to South End Double Track Perrysburg. Installed in 1931, Deshler was among the first CTC installations in the United States. The control of the interlocking at Deshler was under its control, and it shared control with North End Tontogany (Junction with the Bowling Green Branch, operator in depot), Leipsic Junction (NKP operator in tower), and Columbus Grove (operator in CG Tower, crossing of the AC&Y). Deshler remained active until 1988ish, when control went to Jacksonville, Florida for CSX.......Eric Kretz
PRR's Columbus to Indianapolis/Chicago via Bradford line crossed the above mentioned B&O's Cincinnati to Detroit line. On the PRR it was at MP 72.2 from Columbus. Its call letters were "NA"
I'm not the only one accused of hit and run.
Tire tracks all across your back say you've had your fun.
Three shots from Canookland.
Canada...................Cabin D Toronto Ontario 1 2 3
I can't explain why I just didn't add this shot of Cabin D to the above but here it is now; along with some info.
Cabin D was west of Toronto Union Station west of Bathurst Street. It was a crossing of the CN Weston Sub by CP Rail. The tower was built by the Grand Trunk in the 1890s and remained an armstrong machine.
It was retired in 1983 and is preserved at the Roundhouse Park Museum.....Geoff Hubbs
Three photos of two new towers.
Gardner was on the Kankakee & Seneca, which was operated by the Big Four. It crossed the double-track Chicago & Alton main line at Gardner, as seen in the photo..Bill Haines
Pennsylvania..................*SH Philadelphia 1 2 RDG
"SH" Tower 17th Street in Philadelphia was on the Reading Company's City Branch in the midst of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. The 1899 photo shows the full extent of the mechanical interlocking as the route was being relocated below grade. The tower was in a unique location, in the wall beneath the north side of the 17th Street bridge. In 1907 an electro-pneumatic interlocking was installed but by the early 1930s it was all hand switches. In the 1955 photo, the old tower can barely be seen in front of the box car..........Rob Mandeville
New York..............East Binghampton 1 2 3 DL&W
"BY" East Binghampton tower was located at the west end of the DL&W East Binghamton yard, about 189 miles from Hoboken....Rob Mandeville
Payday candy bar is changing it's name because it's offensive to those that don't work.
Two singles from Wally Mattes. I did write ups about both of these not too long ago but I've added a very brief overview.
NYC's Indy to St Louis line crossed NKP's Clover Leaf
IC's Chicago to New Orleans line crossed PRR's Indy to St
More (lots more) added for the April 14 update on Saginaw. Very interesting....Scroll up and read...It will be worth your while.
Here is a Bradford/New Paris expose. Again, not as extensive as some of the other ones but...... I think this will brighten Mike Silvers' day... Here's to you Mike !!
I'll start with a map. You'll be seeing this map over and over in subsequent updates. Ohio...........................Bradford 1 2 3 4 PRR Bradford was on PRR's Columbus to Chicago Main at MP 83.1 (from Cols) It remotely controlled another interlocking(East Bradford) at MP 81.2. This led out of a long siding onto the main which started at Bradford tower. A tower once stood at East Bradford. Call sign was "BR". Bradford still stands but everything else is gone. Bradford used to be a big deal. It was a division point for the PRR with a large yard, shop facilities etc.* It's call letters were "BF" Picture 4 was already on the site but Dave sent me a better scan so I threw it in. The first three are new pictures of Bradford. It was an "armstong" plant with 24 levers an S-8 add on with 20 levers. In later years it had readouts for two hot box detectors.
Mike Silvers/Bill Haines/PRR ETT 1967
* Bradford employed around 2,000 people and the "complex" had 75 miles of tracks.....Mike Silvers
New Paris was on PRR's Columbus to Richmond/ Indianapolis/St Louis Line. It was at MP 57.1 from Cols. via Dayton or at MP 113.8 from Columbus via Bradford.
It remotely controlled East New Paris at MP 111.7. Like at Bradford this was the end of a very long siding. It too was a mechanical plant with an S-8 add on. New Paris' call letters were "RS".
The following gives a short account about the Dayton line which ties into New Paris history.
The line to Dayton*(veering off in the far right of picture 2),a 52 mile bridge line, was built to connect the C&X main line at Xenia with the Columbus-Bradford-Indianapolis main line at New Paris. Over the years it has served primarily as a passenger line partly because of its lack of capacity(there are only three miles of double track, all in the Dayton area), partly because of the barrier of Clement Hill to tonnage eastbound trains and finally because of an old agreement restricting its use to two east/west pool freight crews each way a day.
Jerry Taylor 1971
With the advent of Penn Central, the rerouting of freight an other factors, New Paris, Bradford(although still standing has no plant to govern) an all tracks are majorly gone.
*In later PRR and PC days it was the Main Line - Pittsburgh to St Louis. Agreed it was mostly passenger but it was not called the Dayton Branch in those ETT's.......Geoff Hubbs
As a side note, Jerry Taylor is still alive and kicking, well into his 90's now. Those NYC men are very robust, right Shel and Geoff ????? Mr Taylor started with NYC in 1952 and held some high positions under Penn Central. I'm quite sure Shel Lustig and Jerry have crossed paths before (in a good way)
Ohio..............................CG Columbus Grove B&O
CG was where B&O's Cincinnati to Toledo line crossed the AC&Y* It was at MP 142.5 (from B&O Jct in Cincy) The DT&I had trackage rights through here, getting on at DT&I Jct.(MP 134.5) and leaving at XN tower(MP 155.2)
Picture two is especially interesting not only because of its good composition but because of a CLEAN DT&I engine
*AC&Y : Akron, Canton and Youngstown purchased by the N&W in 1964.
The interlocking plant at Columbus Grove , Ohio was in its final days of service when Jyl and I visited in 1973. The former AC&Y was down to service as needed to Delphos. The AC&Y was the reason the B&O left the interlocking plant in service when the 1931 CTC system was installed at Deshler. The plant was linked with the system as described in the Railway Signaling & Communications article of April 1932. The shot of the model board(picture 5) in the venerable tower shows, if one looks carefully the parallel DT&I line to the east of the B&O blacked out on the board. DT&I trackage rights on B&O began in 1966 when the DT&I gave up its route between North Lima and Leipsic. One subtle feature of the plant was the AC&Y order board(picture 4) on the north side of the tower. Because the AC&Y needed to hand up orders at CG tower and the tower was squared up to the B&O, the resourceful Buckeye engineers came up with a unique feature. The diamond angle at CG was about 45°. The window layout of the tower made reaching a stationary order board's west side impossible for hanging a hand lantern visible for eastbound AC&Y moves. The solution was a swinging order board with hinges and a locking rod, simple and effective. The operator pointed out the unusual item after I inquired and explained it and also demonstrated the process of hanging the lantern while we were in the tower. This is the only one of this style I can remember of all the towers I was lucky or blessed to be able to visit.....Wally Mattes
West Virginia.....................WR Wheeling 1 2 3 B&O
Are you being treated poorly by the police? Well, have you tried not breaking the law to see if that helps?
Kentucky..........................Clyffeside 1 2 C&O
Photo of Paines added to April 14 update on Saginaw. It is in Erick Facknitz's tome, last paragraph.
I forgot what happened here interlocking wise, but here is Erick Facknitz's take on the tower.
Grand Trunk Western(GTW) ETT showing Durand. Non-interlocked crossing 1 2
Another beaut from Wally Mattes. The tower in the photo is not the tower. The interlocking was in the depot (also shown) and it was a non-interlocked deal. Explanation below.
"Non-interlocked" is mostly correct. The diamond area was supervised by a Switchtender (off the brakeman's board), who worked out of a small shack and hand operated reflector/lighted gates right there in front of the depot. I'm not sure if that employee took instructions from one of the dispatchers, or from the yardmaster, or a combination thereof. First time I visited (with Mark Hinsdale) in the late 60s, this was still the case. (What a great job that would've been ,well, in summertime anyway...) By the time I qualified as a dispatcher in Pontiac (1977), it HAD become interlocked and controlled by the Detroit Division (East End) dispatcher at Pontiac Yard, even though the majority of main line movements were on the Flint Subdivision (Chicago Division, Battle Creek dispatcher). That (CTC) installation occurred in 1974, about the time the Detroit Division dispatchers were relocated from the 2nd floor of the Durand depot to the new administration building at Pontiac Yard. There was ALWAYS something for the dispatcher to do at Durand. Flint Sub movements, set outs/pick ups, yard movements, Holly Sub movements,trains to and from the Saginaw Sub, and even a bit of Ann Arbor action kept us quite busy at that section of the CTC panel. Trains tended to stack up rapidly there. Delays were quite common as most movements at Durand were not exactly "highballing" type. I believe the tower in the Mattes shot (great!) was used mainly to control crossing gates, but I'm not positive about that. (Chuck Geletzke might be able to shed some light?).........Erick Facknitz
Two inside shots by Chip Syme.
Ohio.................DB drawbridge Cleveland 1 2 NYC
Scroll up to April 27. Two excerpts from GTW ETT June 1960 about Durand MI. This came from Erick Facknitz, ex GTW operator. Durand, like Gibsonburg Ohio, has sparked some delayed interest, judging from emails, comments and bits of information that have been rolling my way since the original post. One of my greatest satisfactions comes from these kind of reactions to something I've posted.