Home INTRODUCTION OVERVIEW SITE NAVIGATION INTERLOCKING MACHINES

FEBRUARY   1

Illinois.............South Branch Bridge/Alton Jct   Chicago  1    2

The little shanty is really the interlocking tower called South Branch Bridge. It was a block station and train order office.  When I hired in 1968 first trick belonged to a Chicago Union Station employee, the rest of the shifts PC.  Originally all shifts belonged to Chicago Union Station operators. I donít know the year (early 1960s) but going further east some there was another shanty where the PRR operator threw hand throw switches to 4 and earlier, 3 main, as well as a cross-over between the two mains.  It was called 22nd street, call letters AJ.  It was a block station and train order office too. That job closed, the control of those switches went power controlled to 21st street, which as you know the PRR called Alton Jct.  Thatís when the PRR operators moved to South Branch Bridge.  When the first trick operator at South Branch Bridge Ted Kuntz retired, it was under Penn Central and we got the first trick job permanently;
George Marx 

Getting back to South Branch, you handled movements across the bridge.  I worked there a lot in the early 1970s. The bridge was low enough that you had to open for pleasure boats, barges and tugs.  Eventually it went to Amtrak as a remote controlled interlocking/bridge, Iím thinking mid-1980s.  

Here are a few more comments.  South Branch Bridge was the entry and end of the communication with the PRR/PC/CR train dispatcher.  The PRR territory started just past the CWI diamond at Alton Jct.  Moving east the operator at South Branch gave the dispatcher the locomotive numbers and number of coaches on all passenger trains for the PRR/PC/CR and recorded same for the GM&O.  So all trains that came out of the 12th St Coach Yard, such as Mail 8 and the intermodal train that ran to Indianapolis plus all the passenger trains out of CUS for the PRR/PC/CR passed South Branch Bridge. The PRR/PC/CR freight moves for Cicero ran via South Branch as well, at least until 20'02" high box cars and multi-levels began running.  The bridge at 17th St was only good for 19'02" ATR.  Once that changed, those trains moved via Ashland Ave.  Coal trains which of course were not high continued to move via South Branch and still do today.  The train order I wrote which you posted on your Supplemented Information page was issued there and I handed it up to an Office Car Special on that day.  I spent the summer of 1969 working South Branch a lot, listening to the Cubs.  I associate South Branch with the 1969 Cubs.....GM
 
The W you see hanging in front of the shanty was to advise incoming passenger train conductors which side of the platform at Chicago Union Station the passengers would get off.  It could only be E for east and W for west.  All you had to do to change direction is turn the sign around.  When an inbound was on the approach to South Branch, the operator would advise the Train Director at Harrison Street on the intercom and he would advise which side the passengers would detrain. This applied to the GM&O/IC trains as well as the PRR/PC/Amtraks.......GM

That is all the bandwidth I'm allowed for February......See you in
March


February   2

Delaware..................................Wilmington CTC panel   Amtrak

Attached is a picture of the panel board for Amtrakís Wilmington Tower, located in the Wilmington DE Amtrak station of the NEC. The tower is located on the 2nd floor, Track 1 (or river) side of the station. You could see parts of it from the platform thru old glass doors to the Station Masterís office. Got in there while railfaning the area in August 1975. The tower controlled trackage (south to north, right to left on the panel) starting at Ragan Interlocking where the Shellpot Branch came in to Landlith Interlocking where the tracks to the shops and Edgemoor Yard took off.....Fran Giacoma

The two pictures below were taken by Robert Anderson, an ex operator off the Milwaukee/BN. I have a few other Anderson photos on the site.

Indiana....................................Plymouth        PRR

This was where the Pennsylvania's Ft. Wayne Line crossed PRR's South Bend Branch, Van tower (Logansport) to South Bend. Nickel Plate's Indianapolis to Michigan City Line crossed here once upon a time too. It was at MP 383.9 (from Pittsburgh) or at MP 159.0(from Terre Haute IN) It had a USS IS&F machine with an S-8 add on., 84 levers, 39 used. It remotely controlled West Plymouth at MP 386.3. There was a long siding at this point. As a side note the signals at West Plymouth were GRS color searchlight signals. A rare deal as Pennsy almost exclusively relied on Union Switch and Signal Co.(USS) for their interlocking machines and signalling systems. The reason for the GRS was to correct sun-glare problems due to track alignment which with normal signals could result in a "phantom" signal indication. I was there in 1986 and got a picture of Plymouth. I was in the tower by the invitation of the operator but idiot me took no inside shots. Plymouth's call letter was "P"
Wally Mattes/Dave Oroszi/Dan Maners


Pennsylvania...........................Pitt    Pittsburgh      PRR

I had a write up about Pitt which consolidated four  towers at PRR's passenger station in Pittsburgh. The tower is barely visible in the upper part of the picture but this is very unique angle.

I was in Pittsburgh(Conway) for six weeks attending locomotive training classes in the Spring of 86. I made a few trips to the station in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area to photograph trains. I saw Pitt but never put two and two together that it was connected with the railroad let alone a tower. I thought it was just an office building. Thinking like this and they let ME run 10,000 ton grain trains ?????. Another missed opportunity to photograph a tower. But there was this cute girl that worked at the local gas station. When she saw the camera around my neck....Oh never mind!!!!!........Dan Maners


FEBRUARY   3

Pennsylvania.....................Pitt inside

 I could of just added the Pitt inside shot to the above but I was too lazy. Besides it was emailed to me today.

FEBRUARY     6

I have 25 shots of Paoli for you today. The photos and comments are from Mike Brotzman.

Pennsylvania...........................Paoli     PRR

    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15

           16    17    18    19    20    21    22    23    24    25


While today the Main Line is synonymous with wealth and privilege, it started out as just a line of typical agrarian communities that the Pennsylvania Railroad had chosen to build its Main Line through in the first half of the 19th Century. In the second half of said century growing urbanization made the downtown area less desirable as a place to live and as a response the railroad began to encourage development along its main line to help grow the then nascent commuter business. The upper tiers of railroad management were encouraged to live in Main Line communities and the railroad directly financed some development and local infrastructure. By the 1890's the Main Line was growing nicely and the PRR responded with infrastructure upgrades that included ornate station buildings with manicured grounds, closely spaced automatic block signaling to enable a high throughput of trains and finally two new interlockings on the 4-track line, one at BRYN MAWR and the other at PAOLI.........Mike Brotzman

While BRYN MAWR was constructed as a 4-track crossover and intermediate local train turnback, PAOLI was designed as the terminal point for the commuter service along the line. Just about 20 miles from Broad Street Station in Philadelphia PAOLI fist managed the swarm of steam hauled commuter trains and their various combinations of local, limited and express service. Later, in 1915, the busy line was chosen to be host to an experimental 11kv, 25Hz overhead electrification scheme that would rid the upper class area of much of the soot and smoke generated by the steam commuter trains. Paoli would remain as the terminus for the service and would also host the storage yard and shop facility for the new fleet of  MP-54 MU cars.....MB

PAOLI tower was built as a mechanical interlocking, even though power frame technology was available and even installed in nearby BRYN MAWR tower. Originally a 4-track crossover with various connections to the MU yard (including a duck-under to allow MUs to avoid tying up the main with crossing moves), in 1923 the East End was added on a separate electric machine. The East End allowed trains on the center express tracks to access the side platforms without having to platform across tracks 1 or 4. Later the interlocking was completely rebuilt in 1929 with a then state of the art US&S Model 14 Electro-Pneumatic machine replacing both mechanical and supplementary electric frame (probably a table interlocker)...MB

More on Paoli. It stood at MP 19.9 miles from Philadelphia's Suburban Station. Bryn Mawr was at MP 10.1 My 1969 PC ETT shows Bryn Mawr as a still open interlocking but only part time.
Dan Maners


FEBRUARY    7

The following five are/is? my monthly Wilhelm allotment.

Deleware....................................Davis  Newark     PRR

Maryland..................................*Minnick  Frenchtown    PRR

                                                  *SY    Singerly     B&O

New York..................................*Elmira   DL&W

       *SI(Staten Island) JF(Jefferson Ave) Dongan Hills    SIRT
The above is listed under Electric and Transit towers. SIRT means Staten Island Rapid Transit.


The two below are shots of the dispatchers panel inside the Pittsburgh PA passenger station and offices.

                                            1      2

The upper set of tracks is the Conemaugh Line between Conpit and Penn (Pittsburgh)

The middle set of tracks is the Pittsburgh Line between Conpit and Home (Homewood)

The lower set of tracks is the Mon Line between Wing and Esplen............Fran Giacoma

I've posted some additional information about the Lima update dated Jan 29. It mainly concerns Belt Jct but there is a blurb about SJ too. It is very informative and I implore you to go there and read it. The comments were provided by Phil Albano ex EL/CR operator. It may be a few days before I update. I'm TRYING to pass ANOTHER kidney stone...HONEST.......There are decidedly more pleasant ways to spend a day !!!!!!!!!!!!! One bright point.....The distance the stone has to travel from my bladder to the outside will be a very very very short trip !!!!!!!!!
LOL.....*blush*

 11:45 PM  I'm taking advantage of this respite from the pain an unpleasantness to post yet another photo of Pitt. Sent via Geoff Hubbs.


FEBRUARY   9      2:30 AM

Whew, I'm glad that is over !!! Sunday evening I passed three stones, one at a time. I couldn't just passed all three at once and had it over and done. They had to be spaced out to prolong the agony. The last time I remember being in such pain was the 20th of January when you-know-who was sworn in !!!! OK; enough about my sad tale of woe.

Another jewel from Steve Salamon. The diagram was provided by Rob Mandeville. Model board pics are from Fran Giacoma.

Pennsylvania..................Cork  Lancaster  photo  diagram   PRR

                                    Cork  model board    1    2  

Here is a shot of an eastbound Amtrak(#263) passing Cork Tower at Lancaster, PA, on the former Pennsylvania Railroad.  The tower is at the west end of the Lancaster passenger station and was named for the Armstrong Cork Company, which had a large plant west of the tower which was once a major PRR customer.  The operator at Cork Tower controlled the interlockings at each end of the station, and the junction of the Philadelphia-Harrisburg main line with the Columbia Branch about a half mile to the west.  The double-track Columbia Branch was used by freight trains to and from Enola Yard.  Passenger trains were known to use the Columbia Branch on occasional detour moves, if the main line to Harrisburg was blocked by a derailment.  The Reading Railroad's Lancaster Branch was also part of the interlocking.  To the west of the junction with the Columbia Branch, the Reading utilized a set of crossovers to get across the main line to Harrisburg.  To the south of those crossovers, the Reading crossed the Columbia Branch on a pair of diamonds.  Cork Tower was built in 1929, during the era when the PRR was electrifying its lines between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.  The operations of several older interlocking towers were consolidated into Cork, which had a 67-lever electro-pneumatic interlocking machine.  Cork remained in operation until 2013.  The remaining trackage is now controlled by Amtrak's operation center in Wilmington DE.  The tower still stands today, I'm not sure of future plans for the structure.....Steve Salamon 

As a general rule I don't like to use multiple photographer's for an update, preferring to showcase just one photographer. I'm going to break with tradition even though there is only one picture for this update. To give you the general "lay of the land" here is another shot of Cork. Photographer unknown 


My 1969 PC ETT shows the New Holland Secondary Track figuring into all this too. Cork was at MP 68.1 from Philly's Suburban Station. I have a whole slew of pictures of Cork taken by Mike Brotzman. I'll do a huge Cork update sometime down the line.

"Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going"

This came in at the last minute. A 1940's? shot of  BY(Erie Jct) in Ohio. This shot is from Phil Albano's collection.


FEBRUARY      10

Two pictures and one diagram, all by Wally Mattes. Even the hand-drawn diagram.

Illinois...............................Vienna  Jct   1    2    diagram   C&EI

FEBRUARY     11

Ohio....................................Deshler    1    2     3        B&O

 I know the tower and depot still stand with the tower serving as an MOW facility ? The depot is in pretty bad shape. Deshler's call letters were "DR" Here is an inside shot of Deshler.

The following three paragraphs are from Eric Kretz.

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 intelocking 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.

The operator in the photo is Don Volk, he was okay with being photographed (and was, quite a bit). There was even a guest book in the tower for visitors. On the wall was a train order, one of the last issued before the machine was put in.
 
In 1995, I was at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, MD. and asked if they possessed the machine-I had heard that's where it went-and they said it was on the property, in storage. The fellow I talked to stated they really didn't know if they would display the machine, stating that "most people wouldn't know what it was" (kind of would have to agree, but still!), and subsequent visits it still was not where the public could see it. I've not been there in about 15 years, so I don't know if there's been a change.



Added two pictures of Cork Tower's model board. See above (Feb 9)

FEBRUARY       13

Five black and whites from Dave Oroszi.

Ohio..................................Ansonia    1    2    3    4    5     NYC

Ansonia was the point where NYC's Cleveland to Indianapolis Line (B Line) crossed the Cincinnati Northern's(NYC) Jackson MI to Cincinnati Line. It was at MP 189.7 (from Cleveland) or at MP 151.3 (from Jackson MI) When Union City IN(MP 198.8) closed it was made remoted from Ansonia. The operator also controlled :                      Ansonia West       MP 191.2
                                         Union City East    MP 197.7

Tower still stands at Union City IN. A project is underway to move and restore the tower. Bill Haines sent me an article about this. If I can find it; I'll post the link.

On the CN Line Ansonia controlled remote interlocking "CN" at MP 161.2 where the main line between Columbus and New Paris crossed. To give you a point of reference the depot/tower at Greenville was at MP 159.3  Ansonia's call letter was "A". Seeing how it is in "tower rich" Ohio; I'm hoping to get other comments on Ansonia as well. Almost forgot.....It was a train order office for the CN line too.

The Second Amendment makes more women equal than the entire feminist movement.


FEBRUARY     13

This is the last of the Mattes stuff, until the next batch arrives.

Illinois....................MJ(Pence)  Momence    1    2    3    C&EI

Known by all three of the above names; MJ is where NYC's Kankakee Br. crossed C&EI's  Chicago to Evansville IN line. It was at MP 89.6 from South Bend IN. The Milwaukee figured into here once upon a time. Yet another tower I was in but was too stupid to take an inside shot.

FEBRUARY     15

For reasons that are too boring to mention......I removed Wally Mattes picture of the inside of XN, Leipsic Ohio. Here it is again
Note that it had two S-8 machines. Some have argued it was one big S-8 with a gap in the middle but this was not the case. Wally Mattes after doing some research confirms this to be true. Mike Silvers ex operator confirms this as well. Although Mr Silvers never worked XN he did work Alexis Ohio which had the same double S-8 machine deal in it too.

Ohio........................................XN  Leipsic Jct.   NKP x B&O

Attached an inside shot of Leipsic Junction. This was near the end of production of new S&F machines. Most new installations were electric or relay though not all. A complex arrangement as both crossing railroads had or were about to have CTC systems that worked with this operation. See article in RS&C 1932-v25-pg096 CTC Deshler , OH sent a while ago. They state the plant was new and in service December 8, 1931. Notice the manipulation chart behind glass in between the two S-8 units.
Wally Mattes

The B&O called it "RO". That's how it appears on Deshler Dispatcher sheets. The NKP/N&W called it "Leipsic Junction". "XN" tower, in Leipsic, was at the South End of town, where the DT&I crossed the B&O, later a switch was put in. The GTW would read their RCBS clearances (Remote Controlled Block System, their version of Radio train control, like a Conrail Form D) mentioning XN, the switch at the south end of town. I have no idea when, or why, the Leipsic Junction tower got XN signs put on it, on the NKP sides, but it is now known as XN, not RO, or Leipsic Junction. I don't know if the NKP/N&W called it anything other than Leipsic Junction before the signs got put on it, but I have a hard time believing it was also called XN, originally.......Eric Kretz

Imagine the confusion to an unfamiliar railfan hearing a GT RCBS clearance to XN, thinking the B&O/NKP diamond was XN, knowing the Grand Trunk never got near it. Had to explain this a lot in my railfanning days!....Eric Kretz


FEBRUARY       17

I have seven towers, three new ones, and one diagram. These came via Geoff Hubbs. He said he wanted a break from all the Pennsy stuff. All the photos and the diagram are NYC. This update should brighten Shel Lustig's day too.

Indiana.......................................Porter (PO)      MC(NYC)

I did a write up about Porter a few months ago. NYC's New York to Chicago, the Michigan Central(NYC) (this was their "old road" before the Waterlevel route was built) and the Pere Marquette(PM, later C&O) all figured in here. Porter had a National Style A machine with 52 levers.

Ohio.............................M&C Jct  Middletown   photo  diagram

New York.....................SS#1  Troy   

                                      SS#31  Utica  1    2  

                                      SS#42   Sullivan

                                      SS#47  Buffalo    old   new

                                       SS B  High Bridge  Bronx

                                       SS JS  Van Cortland Park

Forgot the * to indicate new towers. The new ones are SS#42 ;
SS B and SS JS.

FEBRUARY    18   2:30 am

Ohio..............................Colsan(UR)  Bucyrus   1    2    PRR

Colsan also known as Bucyrus and sometimes by its call letters UR", was built in 1893.  Pennsyvania's Ft Wayne Line, NYC's T&OC and PRR's  Sandusky Line(Columbus to Sandusky) all crossed in a triangle fashion here. Before somebody writes; yes Virginia, as part of the Wabash/NKP/N&W merger, Pennsy sold (or gave) The Sandusky Line to the Norfolk and Western in 1964.. The tower was at MP 200.5 from Pittsburgh; MP 68.2 from Columbus Ohio by N&W reckoning. After WWII a Crestline Improvement Project was implemented with Colsan being on the west end of said project. Although not included in that deal Colsan added some traffic levers so that moves could be synchronized with the CTC machine installed at Crestline Tower. The T&OC diamond was removed in 75 or 76. A connection track between the two PRR lines enabled the Pennsy to abandoned a portion of the Toledo Branch west of Mansfileld.

Now this brings me to the two Oroszi shots of Colsan. On April 16 1971 a derailment destroyed the tower and, naturally, blocked all three lines. The interlocking was moved into the tool shed at Colsan which was totally spared any kind of damage. This was supposed to be a temporary arrangement but it lasted until Colsan was remoted from Crestline in March of 1974.

There was an  interlocking called East Colsan at MP 198.6 but even though it was not very far from Colsan it was remotely controlled from Crestline. Colsan also controlled two remote interlockings on the now N&W Sandsusky Line; Benson MP 65.8 and Holmes MP 63.8 (from Columbus OH) It should go without saying but Colsan received its name because of PRR's COLumbus to SANdusky Line. I hope the above was readable, I never was much of a wordsmith and there are a few other factors in my life that are in play here.
Dave Oroszi/Dan Maners/PRR ETT 1967


FEBRUARY      20

A very small mish mash of stuff

Canada...................................WX  Welland  Ontario     NYC

NYC's Buffalo to Chicago via Canada Line crossed the CN. WX was at MP 16.9 from Buffalo. Tower Out Of Service effective April 1 1973 per Penn Central  Northern Region General Order # 612...Shel Lustig

Iowa........................................Mills  Iowa Falls   1    2    CRIP

Pennsylvania...........................Landis(NV)  Landisville   PRR

PRR's Philadelphia to Harrisburg line crossed Reading's Reading to Columbia Line.

I stood in line for the stardust train but the man takin' tickets didn't know my name.

FEBRUARY     21

Two towers both new and one of them in a new state too.

North Dakota.................*Soo  Minot  1   2   3   GN x Soo   Soo

Texas..............................*Tower 121  San Antonio    SP

It only led from the main to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio(GH&SA) yard but it was an interlocking. It was an electric plant. Opened on April 10 1925 and closed on February 27 2001. Control at this point was transferred to the UP dispatch center in Spring Texas.  It burned to the ground (as opposed to burning upwards) in 2003. The GH&SH went through all kinds of changes but the bottom line was it became part of the Southern Pacific in 1961.....txrrhistory.com/towers/index.htm

Sorry about not being able not to link the above web addy to the site. I'm too stupid and at this point too out of it to care.


FEBRUARY     23       1:30 am

One more from our Northern neighbors. This one and WX above were taken by Ken Arnett. I believe (oh brother how I believe) that these shots are his first contributions to the site. They came via Charles Geletzke.

Canada.................................E&O  Attercliffe  Ontario   NYC

E&O is where NYC's Buffalo to Chicago, via Canada, Line crossed the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo(TH&B) Penn Central guys called it To Hell and Back. The TH&B was merged into the Canadian Pacific on Jan 1 1987. E&O stood at MP 30.5 from what the PC ETT says "Suspension Bridge", wherever the Hell that is.

Nancy Piglosi and her cohorts are selling the impeachment pens at a very good bargain. They have been used only twice and both times they failed to work.


Dan Maners... [email protected]

Home
INTRODUCTION
OVERVIEW
SITE NAVIGATION
INTERLOCKING MACHINES
TOWER NAMES AND CALL LETTERS
SUPPLEMENTAL TOWER MATERIAL
STATES  A-W and  CANADA
ILLINOIS
INDIANA
NEW JERSEY
NEW YORK
OHIO
PENNSYLVANIA
ABBREVIATIONS & GLOSSARY
LINKS
LOCK & BLOCK TOWERS
MY FIRST TOWER ASSIGNMENT
DECEMBER UPDATES
JANUARY  UPDATES
FEBRUARY  UPDATES
OPERATORS HALL OF FAME
RAILROAD MAPS
RESTORATIONS
TALES FROM THE TOWER
TRANSIT & ELECTRIC LINE TOWERS
UNKNOWNS
 If you have any feedback on how we can make our new website better please do contact us. We would like to hear from you.
 
Site Map