Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:08 am

500 or 50? 500 ft is a long walk.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby TomNelligan » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:23 am

Quoting the B&M employee timetable dated June 25, 1978, special instruction 696a, "Ball Signals-- Whitefield":

One ball or one red light will allow trains of the Boston and Maine to pass over Maine Central Railroad track. Two balls or two red lights will allow trains of the Maine Central Railroad to pass over Boston and Maine track. All trains and engine will stop 500 feet from Maine Central track.

Does seem to be a bit of a walk... not sure how strictly that 500 feet was enforced.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby Mikejf » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:29 am

I have seen photos of the MEC eastbound stopped at the shanty. Rule must have been loosely interpreted
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:01 pm

I wonder whether the rule was interpreted to require a safety stop at 500 ft., and then advance at walking speed to the diamond. (It doesn't specifically say that the train can't proceed as far as the diamond after stopping and before crossing the other railroad.)
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:34 pm

TomNelligan wrote:Does seem to be a bit of a walk... not sure how strictly that 500 feet was enforced.


Especially when your blocking multiple grade crossings heading east on MEC or North on the B&M.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:41 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:I assume the ball signal is out of service, not listed in the timetable, and just preserved for historical purposes, right?

Photos by Mike Foley/Yonkers Rails:

http://yonkersrails.zenfolio.com/mainec ... #h2493089c

http://yonkersrails.zenfolio.com/mainec ... c#h7c1d122

-otto


I believe it's still used by NHC to run around the cars they drop off for storage.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby Mikejf » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:22 am

I don't believe they use it. The trackage is all controlled by the same railroad, with only one train operating at a time
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby b&m 1566 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:27 am

I should've clarified myself better… I believe they operate over the diamond (B&M side only) to run the engine around the string of cars they drop off for storage but I don't believe the ball signal is used for that.
Back when both lines were in their prime, was someone stationed at the ball signal or was the shanty just for storing the log book?
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:24 pm

In ancient times the ball signals at busy places like Bellows Falls and White River Junction had dedicated operators assigned to set them. I don't know whether that was the case at Whitefield.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:22 pm

During hours when Whitefield was an open train-order office, would the operator be responsible for the ball signal, or would the distance from the station require a separate operator in the shanty or else have the train crews operate the signal? An employee TT from that period might have the answer, if anybody has one.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby TomNelligan » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:56 pm

ExCon90 wrote:During hours when Whitefield was an open train-order office, would the operator be responsible for the ball signal, or would the distance from the station require a separate operator in the shanty or else have the train crews operate the signal? An employee TT from that period might have the answer, if anybody has one.


I had a chance today to dig out a B&M employee timetable dated October 28, 1956, at which time Whitefield was still an active agency. Unfortunately it doesn't answer your question. Whitefield (the station and operator's office) and Whitefield Junction (the diamond) were listed as separate timetable points a half mile apart and my guess is that the operator was likely busy enough that he didn't make the trip every time a train showed up, but the ETT doesn't specify yes or no. The instructions for operating the ball signal are identical to those in the 1978 timetable I referenced earlier. In 1956 there was also a lengthy special instruction about B&M and MEC trains using each other's tracks for switching moves within yard limits, including setting an "electrically operated" (probably a semaphore?) signal south of the diamond.

I noticed that in 1956 ball signals were also still in use at Waumbeck Junction (that one lasted into the 1970s), White River Junction, Nashua, and Concord. The latter two controlled movements at various junctions and switches within yard limits rather than diamonds. I didn't realize they lasted that long.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby BM50 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:34 pm

The Maine Central ETT from April 1952 states the Home Signal was located about 2600 feet south of the crossing on the B&M line. The switch and repeater indicator were located in the cabin. After the signal is set to stop, the trainman will wait 3 minutes and then proceed if there is no evidence of opposing train movement. During hours telegraphers are on duty at the station, the MC crews will obtain an "all right" motion from station employee before setting the signal to avoid delays to approaching B&M trains.

Duane Goodman.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby b&m 1566 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:50 pm

So, was the ball signal under control/ownership of the B&M?
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby S1f3432 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:26 pm

I used to be a Maine Central signal maintainer and I got to repair it several times when the cable came off the
pulley, so it apparently belonged to MEC. I'm not aware of anyone but the train crews operating it even during the
short time MEC moved the freight agent / operator from Gilman to the old section house in Whitefield.
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Re: Whitefield, NH Ball Signal Restortion?

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:36 pm

I haven't looked it up, but was the B&M line built before the MEC? The usual practice was that the railroad that arrived second had to assume all costs associated with the crossing.
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