Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Next Cut-In

Tuesday of this week, thanks again to Nick and this time, Jack as well, we have another major step forward on the Onondaga Cutoff - the second of 6 interlockings is cut-in and fully computer controlled!  Tuesday, May 21, just before midnight, manual signals were removed from service and new, fully functional interlocking signals were placed in service at CP274, the easternmost interlocking on the railroad.

Here, we see the eastbound home signals for CP274, looking east with the Island East Lead coming in from the left, then Track 1, then Track 2 to the right.   The LEDs are nice and bright, and when seen in person, they appear considerably more red than these photos would suggest.  The brightness will be important, since as you can see, this is the lower level and will be covered by scenery above in the future.  Crews will be able to view their trains on the lower level from the side at this spot. 

Next, we move to the westbound home signals for CP274, all of which are visible in this image looking west out of staging.  Tracks here are S5 in the immediate foreground to the left, then S4, S3, S2, and finally S1 all the way to the far right.  

Single-head dwarfs guard the entrances to CP274 off S5, S4, and S3, due to the fact that the best aspect a crew can get out of staging is a slow clear (green) from these tracks.  Since all three of those tracks must pass through the #5 switch, which is a diverging move, that is the best aspect.

However, since on S2 and S1 trains do not necessarily need to diverge, a better signal aspect can be displayed, which requires another head on the dwarf signals.  Green over Green allows for a 'clear' aspect.  Seen here, S2 west is displaying green over flashing red, 'Medium Clear' for a westbound move from S2 to Track 1 west.

While we were able to get CP274 cut in in just one night, just like CP277, this belies the amount of work that was completed - CP274 is significantly larger than CP277, and so required much more work with both signals and switches.  While I worked to wire signals and Nick entered data into the CATS software and JMRI in the computer, Jack worked on the other side simultaneously, and wired switches to the SE8c.  This extra effort was absolutely essential to finish the work in one night.

As you can see, another major step forward was to receive the final LCP's from the print shop - now that we are doing cut-ins for the real interlockings and signals, it is time to begin to install the LCPs to compliment that effort!  The only work remaining for me to do is to finish up the wiring in the local control panel (LCP) for CP274 as well as the first cut-in, CP277.  That said, Nick's design worked perfectly for the panels!  A blog post on this process is coming soon, but I wanted to show you what they look like - I'm very happy with how these are turning out.

Summer is slow to arrive this year in New Jersey, but progress on the Onondaga Cutoff is benefiting from that!

~RGDave

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