Home INTRODUCTION OVERVIEW SITE NAVIGATION INTERLOCKING MACHINES

MARCH   1

I'll kick March off with an expose of PRR's  C&X Branch.

Xenia to CUT(Cincinnati Union Terminal) via Red Bank, Valley,Oakley and East Norwood was the PRR/PC C&X Branch while Rendcomb Jct. to Oasis was the PRR/PC Undercliff Secondary Track and Conrail's Oasis Branch.The 70.4 mile long C&X Branch left PRR's Pittsburgh to St. Louis line at Xenia. The line was downgraded under Penn Central when they moved the freight over to the NYC via Dayton line. The C&X Branch was abandoned south of Roxanna(MP 63.3) in April of 1976. The rest of the line was abandoned in the 1980s. I'll start at Xenia tower and move westward towards Cincinnati. Mileposts are reckoned from Columbus Ohio.

Map showing C&X Branch  PC ETT 1969

Xenia  MP 54.7      1    2    3    4    5              

Xenia was a train order office too.  In photo #4 you can see Greene tower barely visible to the right of the Pennsy signal. If the dates on the photos are correct, those coaches have been sitting there for a very long time !!

Greene MP 55.0   1    2    3

At Greene B&O's Wellston to Dayton line crossed the C&X Branch. By 1973 Greene was down to first and second shift, 7 days a week operation. Greene also remotely controlled West Greene MP56.1 In photo 2 you can see Xenia "hiding" behind the Pennsy signal on the left. Greene's call letters were "WX"

Middletown Jct. MP 89.2  No photo but this is where the Middletown Secondary Track started. It went from here to Middletown. The industries at Middletown were unhappy with NYC's service so PRR stepped in and built this line so they could have an alternative. At MP .8 stood Big Four Crossing known as M&C Jct on the NYC. The photo shows the PRR wobbling across the Central. This is where NYC's Burt to Cincinnati Line crossed.

Loveland  MP 96.7   1    2    3

B&O's  Cincinnati to Parkersburg line crossed here. In photo two you'll see the benchmark above the train order flag. This was how high the water rose during the Great Miami River flood in 1913. Loveland remotely controlled Foster MP 92.4

Clare  MP 111.0     1    2    3

N&W's Portsmouth OH to Cincinnati line crossed. There were two connecting tracks between N&W and PRR here as well.

Clare remotely controlled the following interlockings :
          East Clare  MP 108.6
          Red Bank   MP 112.2
          Valley         MP 112.7
          Oakley        MP 115.1

GK  1    2    MP116.4 East Norwood. The B&O crossed the Pennsy AGAIN. Cincinnati Union Terminal(CUT) was at MP 125.1 GK was a B&O tower. Note in photo 2 on the left is GM's huge assembly plant for Camaros and Firebirds. I believe nothing remains today, even the building has been razed.

Although its not technically part of the C&X Branch it gives me an excuse to show another tower. Tower A  at  CUT controlled this huge complex.

At Valley MP 112.2 the Undercliff Secondary Track started. It went from Rendcomb Jct to Oasis. As a side note Undercliff was Pennsy's primary yard in Cincinnati.

Map showing the Undercliff Secondary. I did a hack job on this map but it clearly shows what needs to be shown. Map was drawn by Tom DeWinter.

Rendcomb Jct  MP 113.7 (again from Columbus via the C&X Branch)   1    2

Rendcomb was at the north(east) end of Undercliff Yard. The line from Oasis to here split to allow movements to go north via Valley or east via Red Bank.

*Oasis MP 119.7   1    2    3

Oasis controlled the junction with the line off the L&N Bridge with the River Front Running Track. In addition to being an interlocking it was one time a yard office at the west end of PRR's Fulton Yard(Pennsy's coach yard) In 1983 the interlocking was removed an all switches became hand thrown.

Above comments were by Dave Oroszi and Steve Hipes. Tom DeWinter, and Mike Silvers contributed as well. Sorry if I left anyone out. I'm doing good just to cobble this thing together.

MARCH   2

Virginia...................................*Arthur  Christiansburg    N&W

Thanks to Dave White who identified the location and railroad. Arthur was east of  Christiansburg approximately 25 west of Roanoke.

Another shot of Greene tower added. See Greene photo #3 above.

MARCH     3

Here is my monthly "Wilhelm Allotment" Four are new.

Maryland..............................*A  Aberdeen       B&O

                                              *Bengies       PRR

                                              *BR  Polar       B&O

                                                Edgewood        PRR

                                               *GO  Oakington      PRR

Edgewood was at MP 75.6 (from Philly) on PRR's  Philadelphia to Washington DC Line. As of 1969 it remotely controlled :
                                         Bush (movable bridge)   MP 71.6
                                         Magnolia                         MP 77.0
                                         Gunpow                          MP  79.3

Sometime down the line the above tower was replaced with this one. photo


MARCH      3

Pennsylvania..............................MK  Versailles  1    2      B&O

I could say something really funny and profound about the French town Versailles and way Germany was treated in the wake of WWI.........but I won't.

When I took the picture of MK Tower in March 1978, it was located in the passenger station at Versailles, PA on the B&O line between Connellsville and Pittsburgh. The operator used to be in MK Tower in McKeesport (controlling the connecting tracks between the B&O and the P&LE) until it was demolished in late 1967 during a P&LE CTC project. The operator and MK call letters were relocated to the B&O Versailles passenger station to handle train orders, messages, and to OS the B&O dispatcher of the freight trains going to and from the P&LE. While working for Conrail for a week at the Regional Engineerís office in downtown Pittsburgh, I took one of the evening PAT (Port Authority Transit) commuter trains from the downtown former B&O station at Grant St. to the end of the current service, which was Versailles. I spent some time with the woman operator (just over 30 years of service with the B&O) who pleasantly answered all my questions and even posed for me. I missed the last train back to the Grant St. station, but she convinced the crew of the deadhead passenger train to let me ride with them to Glenwood Yard, where the train tied up. I took a cab back to my hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.......Fran Giacoma

MARCH      4

Although most of us think of a tower as nice two story structure, there is something interesting and intriguing about interlockings that were tucked away in a small town depot. I can imagine the operator on a warm evening leaving the confines of his "tower" and sitting outside and maybe enjoying a nice smoke of his pipe(when smoking was hip) but having the block line and radio turned up loud enough to hear the dispatcher. Mitchell IN and Gibsonburg OH are two more good examples of this type of  depot/interlocking. Here is another and it is a new-to-the-site entry too.

Photos by Dave Oroszi, diagram came via Geoff Hubbs.

Illinois......................*Lawrenceville   1    2    3    4    5   diagram

At Lawrenceville NYC's Cairo line (Danville to Cairo) crossed B&O's Cincinnati to St. Louis Line. On the NYC Lawrenceville was at MP 102 (from Danville); on the B&O it was MP 198.5 from Cincinnati. It served as a train order office for both railroads and its call letters were "WC". It was a B&O tower. I worked the Cairo line in December of 1973 and went by here many times but I remember nothing about it. I probably was asleep. 

MARCH       6

These photos were taken by Craig Sanders. This is his first time on here. When he reads my BS comments, it may be his last.

Illinois...............................Charleston   1    2    3    4    5   NKP

Charleston, call letters "CO" was where NYC's Indy to St. Louis main crossed NKP's Toledo via Frankfort IN to St. Louis Line. This was commonly referred to as the Clover Leaf. On the Central side it was at MP 117.6 (from Indianapolis) It was at MP 316 from Toledo on the NKP side. It had a 46 lever machine. Conrail abandoned the old Central line through here in March of 1982. I'm guessing that the tower closed shortly after. Charleston was a NYC tower but staffed by the Nickel Plate.

Added track diagram to Lawrenceville. Sent via Geoff Hubbs.

MARCH     8

All the following were drawn, painted, and photographed by Wally Mattes. The only exceptions are the map and the illustration that shows how a train order signal works.

Ohio.....................................Malinta     1   inside   TO levers



At Malinta the NKP Toledo to St. Louis Line(Clover Leaf) crossed DT&I's Detroit to Springfield Line. It was a NKP tower. Ex operator Mr. Silvers and I have discussed this tower in past conversations so I hope you'll enjoy this update Mike.

Second picture of GK(East Norwood) added to March 1 C&X update. It shows part of the now-long-gone GM plant where Firebirds and Camaros were assembled.

Bil Haines sent me this. I'm just going to post and let the chips fall where they may. I'm too computer dumb to do the link up with the site but....oh well.

Union City, IN has raised $44,020 of the $50,000 needed to move and preserve the former NYC interlocking tower.   There's only 15 days left to raise the remaining $5,980.   I hope you'll support this project!  Here's the details about the project and how you can donate.

https://www.patronicity.com/project/save_the_rail_tower

MARCH     9

Five pictures of Port Tower from the camera of Steve Salamon.

Pennsylvania..........Port  Newport   1    2    3    4    5    6    PRR

Here are six shots of Port Tower at Newport, PA.  The operator at Port controlled a set of main line crossovers, and also the access to a short industrial spur that was the remnant of the original PRR main line, bypassed in a line relocation closer to the Juniata River.  In later years, that industrial spur seemed to be used mostly for storing M/W equipment.  Port Tower was eliminated in Conrail's TCS project on the old PRR Middle Division during the mid to late 1980's.........Steve Salamon

#1 and #2 were taken on November 4, 1979.  Looking west..SS 

#3, #4 and #5 were taken on August 3, 1985.  The tower has been repainted in standard Conrail light gray with dark gray trim.  The board shows a full set of crossovers between all the main tracks.  It also shows evidence of the removal of one of four main tracks, which I believe was done in Penn Central days.  The Conrail TCS project would reduce the former Middle Division main to double track.  Board also shows the track on the right of way of the original main line, at the lower right corner........SS 

#6 was taken September 28, 1985, looking west at the westbound home signals.  The track on the original right-of-way is to the left.....SS

Port was at MP 133.4(from Philly) on Pennsy's Philadelphia to Pittsburgh Main. Its call letters were "MS"......MS; obviously another "liberated" tower !!!!!!

MARCH     10

Here some more shots of VO in Butler PA. I don't like showing just train pics but photo 5 was shot in the vicinity of VO. Who could resist this shot....look at the diverse lash up. "Geeps" have virtually disappeared  from Class one railroads. All were taken by Ross Jack. I posted some pics and comments about VO months ago so I going to re post Mr. Jack's comments.

Pennsylvania........................VO   Butler              PRR

                 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11

I'm told VO was the telegraph call for Vogleyville very near Butler.  VO was at the end of a branch built by the West Penn RR in Butler.  There the two RR's that crossed there were the West Penn RR (PRR) and Pittsburgh & Western (B&O). Factor in BR&P trains that had trackage rights to Pittsburgh and New Castle over the P&W.  In 1932 B&O absorbed P&W/BR&P.  VO was on a branch that ran from the Conemaugh Line near Freeport (Kiski Jct) to Butler to connect with Bessemer & Lake Erie and the previous mentioned RR's.  In 1956 a new leg connection was built over the B&O to a interchange with the Bessemer.  This resulted in there being two diamond crossings of the B&O.. Its purpose was to bring raw iron ore trains from Philadelphia  directly to the BLE who transported the ore to the USS Saxonburg Sintering Plant for processing.  Around 1986 after some labor problems USS grudgingly pulled the plug on the Sintering Plant.  This pretty much left the Butler Branch from Kiski without a purpose.  Most of what little local business was gone By the early 90's the branch was removed.  VO closed July 18 1988 same day regional RR Buffalo & Pittsburgh took over operations of the old B&O from CSXT. VO was the last tower open on the Conemaugh Division. VO was an air plant and controlled signals and switches of the two crossings of the B&O.  The branch, the tower and everything associated with VO are now gone........Ross Jack


MARCH   11

Two new and obscure towers on NYC's Indy to St. Louis Line.
They were sent by Jim Arnett another brother railroader. His comments on the towers and a brief profile on Jim follows.

Illinois....................................*Joan   1    2    3

 Joan was a block Station at MP 205.1 on the St Louis Line of the Big 4. The Tower was on the north side of the main and on the east side of the CB&Q overhead bridge. The operator controlled the west switch from the westward siding to the main and the east switch of the Eastward siding to the main besides a double crossover inside  this interlocking. Hand throw switches were at the East End of the westward and west end of the eastward.  The call letters for the Morse code was "JA"  If you look carefully you can see these letters below the window the two guys are looking out.  When they took up the double track they took up both sidings moved  to MP 207 and made the eastbound main a controlled siding. Now days the BNSF has a connection track about a mile west of this location called Walsh..........Jim Arnett

A per Penn Central ETT 1973 Joan was just a place name in the timetable at MP 210. At MP 211.4 there was a dispatcher controlled interlocking called CP 211.

                                               *Tower Hill   1    2    3   

The tower was in the southeast quadrant of the B&O / Big 4 Crossing. The B&O crossed at a 45 degree angle because both railroads ran parallel to each other both sides of the crossing. The operator was a NYC man and he controlled the diamond as well as 2 sidings on the west side of the crossing south of the NYC Main. He controlled both ends of the sidings as well.The south track was called the "Back Track" the only time it was used is when two trains were in the clear for a passenger train.  There is also a picture of the Depot where my Grandmother's Uncle was the agent. The depot was about 2 blocks east of the tower on the north side of the track....Jim Arnett

Again, as per PC ETT 1973 it shows Tower Hill as "place" at MP 160.5 At MP 160.7 was a dispatcher controlled interlocker called CP 160. It still shows the B&O crossing here.

Now, in his own words, about Mr. Arnett (for what it is worth !!)

I hired on the NYC 3/29/62 got furloughed in the fall of 62 and worked at A&P Grocery in the Produce Department  and was promoted to Produce Manager. I was called back in spring of 63 and the Store manager would let me off to make a trip a week and I would come in on Sunday and my regular day off and make up for lost time. In Oct. 1963 I was laid off on the NYC and the IC hired me for the Grain season; worked everyday. Had  to quit A&P, the Manager begged me to stay because I was selling the hell out of Produce.  I worked on the IC all over the state of Illinois and finally had to quit when the PC merger took place. I moved to Indy 1/09/69. Got forced to East St Louis 1/10/69 on the 6pm Traveling Switcher from East St Louis to East Alton 7 days a week 16 hours a day. My wife was ready to divorce me. I would drive up to Pana from East St Louis every 10 days and she would come over to Pana to her parents and she would wash my clothes and visit with me then I would take a nap and go back to East St Louis for 10 more days and then the same thing again. After 4 months I finally got back to Indy and then got forced back down there two more weeks as a brakeman. When I returned home I never had to go back.  I have worked on the IC from Clinton to Centralia & Bluford, Clinton to St Louis, Clinton to Havana. Peoria to Evansville, Champaign to Centralia and Bluford. Got qualified to Cario but never got called to go down there. 43 years 9 months later I retired all worn out. A lot of miles on this old body......Jim Arnett

Typical railroader, more was written about him than about the towers !!!!!!

About the above photos  :

I didn't take any of these they were given to me by an old operator who worked at Tower Hill tower until they put in CTC in the 50's then he came to Pana and finished his career at there. I still keep in touch with his two sons as we all went to school together. His name was M.O.Wilber. Everybody  called him "MO".  

MARCH    12

Indiana...................................Elwood    1    2        PRR

Elwood is where NKP's Sandusky to Peoria Line(LE&W) Lake Erie and Western crossed the Pennsy's Cincinnati to Logansport Line(The Panhandle) It was at MP 137.8 (from Cincy) My PC ETT 1973 still shows it open. To the best of my knowledge it is still standing. It had an electric USS Unit machine, 6 levers, 6 used. The photos show the removed Pennsy.

MARCH   13

Lets take a break from PRR and NYC. I have five towers today with one of them new. All are from the Lehigh Valley Historical Society. They came via Kenneth May who is one of its archivists. He provided the information about them as well. Thanks Kenny for this change of pace.

New York................................Cortland  Jct.

Cortland Jct. - crossing of LV Elmira & Cortland branch and DL&W Binghamton to Syracuse branch.

                                                *Geneva   1    2

Geneva Jct. - intersection of LV mainline and LV Ithaca branch.

                                                 Niagara Jct.

Niagara Jct. - intersection of LV mainline and LV Niagara Falls branch.

                                                  P&L Jct.(JN)  1    2

Pittsburgh and Lehigh Jct. - crossing of LV mainline and Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh (Baltimore & Ohio).

                                                  Rochester Jct.   1    2

Rochester Jct. - intersection of LV mainline and LV Rochester branch.

                                                 VW Van Etten    1    2   

Van Etten (VW) - intersection of LV mainline and LV Elmira & Cortland branch.

Heaven is where the French are the cooks, The GERMAN's are the engineers and the English are the police.

Hell is where the English are the cooks, the French do the engineering and the GERMAN's are the police !!!!

MARCH       14

I found these in a file and could have sworn they had been posted.

Ohio........................VY Valley St.  1    2     Youngstown    Erie

ERIE owned and maintained.  The ERIE Main crossed the NYC Youngstown Branch at a shallow angle.....Geoff Hubbs



MARCH   17   St  Patrick's  Day    2:30 am  another sleepless and pain ridden night.

Do you know why GOD invented whiskey? So the Irish wouldn't take over the world !!!!!

Sorry I have not updated in a few days. I can't put it into words. I'll be posting a mish mash in a few days. Please don't give up on me yet.

MARCH    18

Nine towers, four of them new. All came via Geoff Hubbs. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Canada..............................Bayview  Jct      CN

                                          North Edmonton    Alberta    CP?

Massachusetts...................East Deerfield    B&M

                                         *Hoosac Tunnel  East Portal     LV

New Jersey.........................G  Belvedere   PRR

New York........................... Chicago St.  Buffalo     LV

Pennsylvania.......................Easton       LV

Wisconsin..........................*MX  Madison    CNW

West Virginia.....................*AD       B&O

B&O's AD tower is almost certainly located at what today is known as Orleans Road (WV).  The interlocking was put under CTC control to FN tower at Paterson Creek at some time in the 1950's........Mike Brotzman

MARCH   19    3:42  ante meridiem

This should have been added to the C&X Branch update on March 1....but it wasn't. It may have answered several questions that Mike Silvers, me and possibly others had in the wake of that update. Like they say, "better late than never"  Xenia Map
Map was drawn by Rick Acton Jr.

MARCH    20

Michigan.................................Penford   1    2     Taylor    PRR

This should have been included in the Toledo Branch update but for some reason it was not. With that being said.........

Detroit's growing automobile industry prompted PRR to extend its route from Toledo to Detroit with the construction of the P-D (Pennsylvania to Detroit) in 1917.

Penford was at MP 129.4 from Mansfield and this is where the PRR crossed DT&I's Dearborn Branch. The brick tower in the above photos replaced the original wood structure in 1927. It was torn down in 1985 after the interlocking went semi-automatic and was placed in control of GTW's dispatcher in Pontiac. Maintenance and operation COSTS were split 50-50 between the Pennsy and the DT&I but it was staffed and maintained by the Pennsylvania. It had an electro-mechanical 12 lever machine. Penford was so named because of PENsylvania and henry FORD.....Dave Oroszi/Steve Hipes

This came in at the last minute so I'll going to run it now.

Ohio...................................*Napoleon  Wabash x DT&I   WAB

MARCH    24

Again; sorry for not posting too much. I'm in a bit of a slump (whatever the H that means) and not because of a lack of material. Here are a few juicy tid bits.

Illinois....................................WR  Granite City     TRRA ?

                     NYC x Wabash x GM&O x TRRA 

I'm not certain of those railroads I listed. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Indiana................................Argos  NKP x NKP      NKP

Here is a rare inside shot of a relatively obscure "tower" As in Mitchell In and Effingham IL the interlocker was in the depot.
Yeah, Yeah, I know......Effingham was once a stand along tower.
Argos had a USS unit machine, 2 levers, 2 used.

                                            North Judson      PRR

A shot of the levers inside this one very busy place. I was there a few years ago and its almost impossible to see where the tower once stood. I did a small write up of North Judson a few months ago so I'll spare you all that stuff again, but the railroads that crossed here do bear repeating. PRR x NYC x C&O x Erie
North Judson's call letters were "AH"

MARCH   25

Five "singles" from Dave Oroszi. All B&O and all from Ohio.


Ohio...................................*Black Fork


This was on B&O's Portsmouth Branch.  The 2-mile branch into Black Fork diverged at the Jct.....Shel Lustig


                                           *Chillicothe

This was the crossing of the N&W Columbus / Portsmouth mainline with the B&O mainline Cumberland to Cincinnati / St. Louis. The N&W is still there; B&O just an industrial track.
Shel Lustig


                                             CH (Haselton)   Youngstown

CH Haselton appears on the B&O Akron Mainline at MP 73.9 (from Pittsburgh).  TT 84 says it was a junction with the NYC-PRR-EL.......Geoff Hubbs


                                             F  Fostoria

                                             Storrs   Cincinnati

With the exception of F tower, I need information on the above.  I'm especially keen on Storrs. There was a Storrs on the NYC in Cincy. Was this the same place? Also according to my Chessie System ETT 1980 it shows a Storrs as a train order office and then shows a Storrs Jct about a mile away. I'm too dumb to decipher one of "their" timetables, so I'm in the dark as to whether Storrs was an interlocking or whatever. Any help will be greatly appreciated.  I'll copy and paste your answer(s).

Nissan 14 5781(March 27 2021)

At sunset today the Festival of Liberation starts(Passover) Pesach in Hebrew. After the Death Angel killed the firstborn in Egypt, Moses and his followers bid the Pharaoh a not-at-all fond adieu. 

Indiana....................................*Roachdale       B&O

Roachdale was at MP 159.8 (from Cincinnati) on B&O's Indianapolis to Sangamon Jct.(Springfield IL). It was approx. 40 miles west of Indianapolis. Most if not all trains terminated at Decatur, approximately 40 miles short of Sangamon. The Monon crossed here. My Chessie ETT shows it as an interlocking only with no train orders being issued although it may have handled orders of the Monon. It used a GRS pistol grip machine,4 levers, 4 used. Roachdale's call letters were RD.

Wally Mattes/Chessie ETT


MARCH     28

Ohio...........................Burt  Galion   1    2    3    4    5    6   NYC

Burt stood at MP 80.3 on NYC's Cleveland to Indianapolis main.
Mileposts are from Cleveland. The Burt to Cincinnati line started here. The Erie came in here as well. I know about the Erie and NYC deal between Marion and here but I don't see a need to retype ALL that stuff again. It was a NYC tower but was staffed by the Erie and its call letters were BU.

MARCH  29

Ohio.....................................Nasby  Toledo   1    2    3     NYC

Mike Silvers; I hope these photos of this familiar tower will brighten your day.

Nasby was at MP 292.1 on NYC's Buffalo to Chicago Main. Mileposts are from Buffalo, naturally. The Toledo Terminal (TT) crossed here. Without boring you with all the details; back in 2001, two friends and I were inside of Nasby. As usual I photographed the tower but not the inside...idiot me !!!! Nasby was an electric "plant" and its call letters were "AV"

AV had a GRS Pistol grip machine with 79 levers...Mike Silvers

MARCH    31

Comment added about AD tower.......March 18


Ohio.....................................King  Cincinnati   1    2    3    NYC

King was at MP 2.2 (from Cincy) on NYC's once hot Cincinnati to Kankakee Main. My 1969 PC ETT shows it as a dispatcher controlled interlocking at MP 2.9 and renamed CP 2. My 1973 PC ETT shows it renamed back to CP King. King was at the East end of Riverside Yard. Wade was at the West End. King's call letters were "SI". Here is King in better days.







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