Monday, January 27, 2020

Bring on the rolling stock!

The final tracks have been laid in the west end staging yard. All of the Tortoise switch machines are in and hooked up and feeders have been run to all of the tracks. The photo below shows the results.

There are twelve tracks capable of holding trains and a shorter track that can be used to store protection power. The LV 628 and EL SD45-2 in the background are sitting on track 13.

Changes have also been made to the east end staging yard in anticipation of future expansion out into the crew lounge. The biggest change was removing a section of the upper staging yard that was over the ladder for the lower yard. The picture below shows the results.

It occurred to me that I would never be able to get to those turnouts when they need some tweaking with the upper staging yard built over them. And they will need some attention at some point- I've already learned that lesson. The expansion plan calls for the upper staging yard to be approached from the other end, so there will be plenty of room to make up for the lost section above. The upper yard could also have the ladder start at the west end above as there is room along the far wall to extend the shelving.

Another addition to the east end staging yard can be seen above- an LED strip. During the last op session, Randy Seiler suggested adding some LED's in order to improve visibility. He was kind enough to give me a 4' section and the results can be seen below.

Given the intensity of the light, it's almost impossible to get a good shot with a cell phone camera. But suffice it to say that the strip will provide more than enough light for the crews to see their trains. Thanks again for the tip and the strip, Randy.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

US&S T-21 Switch and Lock Movement

At the end of last month, Mike Burgett posted pictures of a switch stand he recently added to his beautiful C&O's Alleghany and James River Subdivision. But this wasn't just any switch stand- it's a model of a specific Union Switch & Signal hand throw switch mechanism for an electrically locked, hand operated switch used by the C&O in CTC territory from the mid-1940's right up through CSX. As Mike describes it "a US&S style T-21 switch and lock movement equipped with a SL-21a force drop electric switch." It's available from Shapeways and is exactly what I need for a number of locations so, of course, I had to order a bunch.

These switch stands are used in locations where the dispatcher controls the locking mechanism but the turnout must be thrown in the field. Turnout 361 to the spur at Logan is one such location and the photo below shows the lock on the dispatcher's panel.

The photo below shows the mechanism installed at the turnout.

Crews working BC-10/11, the local to Big Chimney and back from North Pierce, have to call the dispatcher to unlock the turnout to the spur at Logan. Once their work is complete, they need to inform the dispatcher that the turnout is lined for the main and ready to be locked back up. If they leave without lining the turnout for the main, the dispatcher won't be able to lock it up. And when the turnout is unlocked, the dispatcher can't line a route into Logan from either direction.

The photo below shows the mechanism installed at the west end of the short passing siding at Summit Springs. Both ends of the passing siding are electronically locked, and the crews working either mine at Summit Springs must call to get them unlocked.

The last example is the crossover at North Pierce from the main into the yard. 

Crews will now be able to distinguish between dual control turnouts and electronically locked, hand operated turnouts simply by looking the switch stand. A big thanks to Mike Burgett for the heads up on these.