Friday, March 22, 2013

Major Step Forward

I'm happy to provide some of the most significant news to date regarding the Onondaga Cutoff:  on Wednesday, March 20, the home signals at CP277 were cut in, and are now fully under computerized dispatcher control.  Here's a telephoto view of the new eastbound home signals:

And, enjoy this video of the first test run, an eastbound manifest freight, knocking down the eastbound 'clear' aspect on Track 2:

These are the first of many beautiful, custom signals I have ordered from Integrated Signal Systems in Florida.  ISS builds signals to your specifications, and I have found they are much more to scale than others on the market.  CP277 is the first of 6 interlockings and 3 intermediate signal locations to be cut in.  As the budget progresses and allows more signals to arrive, more cut-ins will follow.  It's a long term project - I am working to have the full railroad under computerized control, with manual options, by the end of 2013.

This project would simply not be possible if not for the help and guidance of those assisting me.  Like Rick helped so much with bench work 4 and 5 years ago, Alex, Jack, and Nick have been instrumental in operation and signal system design, and Nick deserves special mention for signals, as he has stepped in with this new layer of signal construction and installation.  There is plenty of work to come, and their help and enthusiasm is invaluable.

In a society that increasingly is obsessed with immediate satisfaction and quick rewards, I believe there is something to be said for grand visions and for the continual progress required to accomplish all that the vision defines.  Smaller steps over time perhaps call back to 'old hobbies' or a more simple society, but there is something natural about that:  Long-term projects involving numerous people working together over years, like the construction of the Onondaga Cutoff or that of a real railroad, hold a special energy.  Further, operating a railroad builds even more upon that same chord.  There is a sense of community that is only developed when people come together, working towards a common goal in construction, or in an efficient operation. In reflection, that energy is one of many reasons why I have always loved the railroad.  It's a journey.

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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