Mileposts question.

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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:00 pm

Gordon,

Thanks for your timeline on the signaling and operating methods used. It is very interesting to see how things have changed up to the way things operate now.

We have covered the Saratoga Sub. pretty extensively, but I would like to know also when the TCS was installed on the Susquehanna Sub. I have read that the Penn was first. You layed it out how the Oneonta desk ran everything except the interlockings which were run out of FA.

I believe that by the time the dispatchers were moved to Colonie, they were down to two desks. Where was the dividing line then? Now it is the south end of the double iron in Esperance. I have heard that this plant was moved. It was just north of Schoharie Jct., but due to a wreck, was shortened to ending over the Rte. 30 bridge. The north end I know also had the NJ.

There is an engineer whose father-in-law was a dispatcher. He was old school, having risen from an operator. The story was that the operator in Delson had a very thick French accent. As a result, the orders were sent in Morse code, as the dispatcher could not understand the operator.

Did you have authority over the track forces on the NJ?
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby ChiefTroll » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:36 pm

<< We have covered the Saratoga Sub. pretty extensively, but I would like to know also when the TCS was installed on the Susquehanna Sub.

>> TCS on the A&S was incremental.

<< I have read that the Penn was first. You layed it out how the Oneonta desk ran everything except the interlockings which were run out of FA.

>> The Penn Division, including everything south of SW Cabin (Nineveh Jct), also including the Erie Jefferson Division, was originally under the jurisdiction of the Carbondale dispatchers.

JN (Jefferson Jct.) to DV Cabin (Doraville) was a single-track bottleneck that received an early TCS installation in the 1930's, with X and NE Cabins controlled from Windsor Station, and DV (and VI) cabins controlled from SW Cabin when it was an open office, under the authority of the Carbondale dispatcher.

When the D&H purchased the Jeff from the Erie, the D&H installed single-track TCS between WC (West Carbondale) and JN (Jefferson Jct.) and put all of that from WC to JN and SW under the direct control of the Oneonta dispatcher which had been combined with Carbondale. TCS was then extended south from WC to MO Cabin at Mineral Springs, north of Wilkes-Barre, and the WBC RR, under the direct control of SX Yard Office, Hudson, supervised by the Oneonta dispatcher.

FA controlled RA Cabin (Rose Ave., just two holding signals in each direction on each of two tracks); CM, a spring switch with interlocking signals at the end of the short Track 4 north of FA (I think CM represented the New York Central Catskilll Mountain Branch, but I’m not sure); FA itself - six crossovers to move in either direction between the northbound yard, Tracks 4, 2, 1, and the southbound yard; and OG, similar to RA on the south end (OG from the old office call for Otego).

At the time (my time in Oneonta, like 1966-1972) double track TCS extended from MU Cabin at what was Hemlock Road, about A-76.2 to RB Cabin, about A-86.4. MU had been the office call for Cooperstown (proper) and RB represented “Rhynesses (sic) Bridge.”

The A&S was always single-track from SA Cabin (Shay’s, the siding north of Bevier Street) to VI Cabin (Harpursville) and from DJ Cabin (Delanson Jct.) to KN Tower/Cabin (Kenwood Jct.) The A&S from Binghamton to KN (exclusive) and to QS (Cresecent, exclusive) was under the jurisdiction of the Oneonta dispatchers.

SA to VI was another single-track bottleneck that received an early TCS installation, with Dye’s Siding becoming Track 2 between FH and BL (Belden) Cabins.

Next (I think) was Howes Cave Hill, from CB Cabin north of Schoharie Jct. to WH Cabin, (White House) north of Cobleskill. That included retirement of Track 4 from JX (Schoharie Jct) to CB, and segments of old Tracks 1 and 2 between CB and DJ. CB to DJ thus became double-track TCS.

I remember riding 208 on Friday evenings ca. 1961, when we had to get a train order and back through the trailing-point crossover at Cobleskill to pass a southward freight climbing to Richmondville. That problem was soon eliminated (~1962) when Tracks 1 and 2 were reverse-signaled and KF cabin with its facing point crossover was installed. That allowed us to scoot right over to Track 2 and pass whatever was dragging up the hill.

I think the last part of the A&S to get TCS was from RB, south of Oneonta, to GR (Grovers) at Afton. That included double track at Unadilla (UN to UA) and south of Sidney (TP - “Tie Plant”: to LK - “Larkins”).

<< I believe that by the time the dispatchers were moved to Colonie, they were down to two desks. Where was the dividing line then?


>> They were down to two desks as soon as they moved to Albany. One desk from Whitehall handled the entire north end, including the NJ, and the one former Oneonta desk handled the entire south end - A&S and Penn Division. The boundaries didn’t change. The A&S still came to KN exclusive and QS exclusive.

<< Now it is the south end of the double iron in Esperance. I have heard that this plant was moved. It was just north of Schoharie Jct., but due to a wreck, was shortened to ending over the Rte. 30 bridge.

>> That was CB Cabin. It was moved north after my time.

<< The north end I know also had the NJ. There is an engineer whose father-in-law was a dispatcher. He was old school, having risen from an operator. The story was that the operator in Delson had a very thick French accent. As a result, the orders were sent in Morse code, as the dispatcher could not understand the operator.

>> Not surprising, eh? The Plattsburgh Dispatchers had a telegraph wire available until the office was closed and moved to Whitehall, IIRC. Many dispatchers and operators preferred to use the telegraph for train orders, etc, as long as they were both good at it. Telegraph is much faster and more precise than telephone.

<< Did you have authority over the track forces on the NJ?

>> On the books, the Assistant to the President and General Manager of the Napierville Junction Railway, Ray Beaumier, supervised all of the employees of the NJ. I worked closely with Ray to watch over the track, including riding trains and plowing snow. Sometimes I rode No. 9 to Montreal and came back on 34. Other times I rode NJ 105 to St. Luc and returned with the same engine and crew, and that’s where I got my throttle time. Actually, once I got up to 45 mph, the greatest effort was blowing for all the crossings and hoping none of the habitants would try to prove their masculinity by out-racing the train to the crossing.

We made a few trips to some very good French Canadian restaurants where English was not spoken.

The NJ track gang was one foreman and three trackmen at Lacolle. The foreman was Adelor LaValle, if I remember how to spell his name. They did not need a heavy hand of supervision as long as they got the stuff they needed.

In 1967 we reduced the maximum speed on the Saratoga and Champlain Subdivisions from 70 to 60 mph, after we determined that it only amounted to less than five minutes in the train schedules. We left the NJ at 70, because it was good for it and the time difference was more like ten minutes between Rouses Point and Delson. The entire NJ main track was laid with jointed 127 lb Dudley rail, a New York Central standard not found elsewhere on the D&H, and it was in pretty good condition. The NJ also had an Automatic Block Signal System, which I understand has been retained by CP, but with half of the signals removed and block lengths doubled. That information might not be current.

By the way, the President and General Manager to whom Ray was the assistant was John P. Hiltz, who held the same position on the D&H. He was a civil engineer who had come to the D&H from the New York Central with Wm. White. White was President, and Hiltz was Vice President and General Manager. White went to the Erie Lackawanna while he retained the position of Chairman of the Board of the D&H. Hiltz became President while retaining his position as General Manager. The Operating Department (Engineering, Transportation, Mechanical and Signal) never took a back seat to anyone else on The D&H.

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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:08 am

The NJ is now all dark. Pool crews out of Saratoga used to operate directly into St. Luc. Now the crew district has been cut back to Rouses Point. There is a retired northbound signal near the north end of the Farm tracks. The foundations are still where the home signals were for the interlocking south of LaColle. The first operating signal is now the stagger block signal in advance of Delson.

The NJ is now considered part of the CP, not the D&H. The NJ guys are about gone, but they got screwed, since they had to become CP employees. I believe one said that he lost out on his Railroad Retirement. Additionally, when the exchange rate strongly favored the US Dollar, the pay was less. Many of these guys were Americans. They did get onto the CP crew rosters.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:35 pm

Getting back to the post.about the mileposts being on the east side, 142 at Willsboro is one, but another is mp A63.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby ChiefTroll » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:33 pm

<< Getting back to the post.about the mileposts being on the east side, 142 at Willsboro is one, but another is mp A63.

>> I never had that territory, so the mileposts around Fort Ann don't stick in my mind.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:24 pm

I didn't mean to one-up you on the last comment, but was just saying that it was another odd example. There is a old tool house at mp 63, which has been steadily falling in on itself in that location. That may be the reason for the odd location.

Rouses Point MP 191 is just about a car length north of the passenger station, but the last whole mile is 192. It is just a few car lengths south of the border. A the border is NJ mp 0. None of the NJ mileposts are the old D&H style. They are all reflective sheet metal ones.

The NJ is very well kept up. It is better than the D&H. The R.O.W. is mowed back to the ditches, and the track is in perfect shape. An Accela could likely run at full speed without any worries. Since the line is so straight, the old timers used to say that they could really make up time on the passenger trains. I have been told that the PAs had some unofficial speed trials there, with speeds over 100 mph.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:12 pm

MPA 79 comes into my head for being on the west side of he track. This one has a interesting history. The original MPA79 was on the west due to the road paralleling the track. This post was painted out, and a new metal road sign style was placed in the middle of the crossing. The little dirt road at the elbow crosses the track, then turns north at 90° next to the track.

This was moved due to a labor dispute on the Champlain Div. M.O.W. The way it was, they would have to set off at the Elbow, MPA 78.9. This is 1/10th. of a mile on the Saratoga Div. The first crossing on the Champlain Div. Was Lakeside, at about MPA 82.6. This crossing just goes to a camp. The first public crossing would be Clemmons, MP A84.5. With the passenger trains, there is no way the dispatcher would let them back up all that way to set off.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby ChiefTroll » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:42 pm

I don't recall any jurisdictional problems between the Champlain and Saratoga Division track men when I was there. The actual division post, and limit of the seniority districts at the time, was MP 79.3, and that has never moved. My track inspector (Morris Alphonse, from Willsboro) just inspected track to 79.3, and then continued to Whitehall to set off at a crossing in the wye, if I remember correctly. The Saratoga Division inspector went north of SC Cabin for less than a mile, and then reversed right back to home.

There never was an issue about just moving over someone else's territory. In fact, the Champlain Division once had a track gang at Whitehall, sharing the tool house with the Saratoga Division gang. They set on with the motor car in the morning and went north, starting their work at 79.3 or wherever north of it.

As for speed on PA's. I was there, and I never saw or heard of someone violating the 70 mph on the NJ. The engines had speed recorders, and they were monitored. But . . . Hank Weber soon realized that the D&H had a 70 mph limit on the 4000's but not on the PA's. We had taken the D&H down to 60 early in 1967, because it only affected the times by a few minutes, but we left the NJ at 70, and 45 for freight. So Hank read up on the CP time table and soon figured out that he could legally run 89 mph on the Adirondack and Farnham Subs. That's were the fast running started, until they got the first "birdcaged" traction motor. I don't have to give a graphic explanation of that term - it explains itself.

Hank was an adventurous sort. He found the control for the "oscillating headlight" on Engine 17, the first one to go north on 35 on the day following Christmas in 1967. He told me that he had it figured out, although the D&H had no rules on its use. He would run the white headlight when he was standing in the station, and the red one when he was moving on the main. He told me the story after his first trip to Windsor Station with the 17. He met a CP freight north of Delson, and he wondered why the CP train had gone into emergency. The CP trainmaster met him at Windsor Station and politely explained to him the proper use of the oscillating headlight on Canadian Pacific Railway, eh?

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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:33 pm

It must be a recent dispute between the two divisions' M.O.W. crews.

I'm surprised that the windings birdcaged on the PA. I know that the Santa Fe had 90 mph territory, so I'm sure that they were geared for a higher speed than that, as a margin of safety. I'll have to ask Gus Negus if they ever geared them down, due the the hills on the D&H. The high gears would have given the PAs a high minimum continuous speed. Gus was a roadforman, and also was a mechanical dept. official. He was a diesel expert in the navy, and later worked at Alco's test facility, before hiring out on the D&H. He ended his career as an engineer.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Atomsk » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:57 pm

Speaking of CTC installations on the D&H, I recently uploaded a file to http://www.scribd.com/doc/106496695/Gen ... ntrol-1938

This is a GRS marketing brochure, with several examples of 1930s era CTC installations.

On page 2, you can see a D&H dispatcher running the area from Albany to Watervliet Junction. The panel shows the wye, the old R&S line toward Green Island, Colonie Yard, the tracks around Albany Station, The Plaza, and Kenwood.

On page 46 (to illustrate the "expandability" of the system) they show the panel for the section from Watervliet to Mechanicville.

There's a picture of the D&H tracks at "North Gate" (was that the north end of Colonie yard?) on page 31, and another on page 26 that shows what looks like a Consolidation with a Wootten firebox. Both pictures illustrate GSC's lineside signals. Note how much of the signal mast they painted black. I've never seen modern pictures of railroad signals painted like that.

Thought people would find these interesting.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:15 pm

That was an interesting link! I liked the picture of NG Cabin. The bracket mast was still in use when I started. Now the Route 155 bridge is behind it, and in my time it was a 3 light home signal. The left hand track is gone, the middle one is the present main track. The track on the right is called the Third Rail. It was recently renamed a controlled siding. About 3-4 years ago NG was moved north. It is now just south of 14th. St., Watervliet.
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Atomsk » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:27 am

Engineer Spike wrote:That was an interesting link! I liked the picture of NG Cabin. The bracket mast was still in use when I started. Now the Route 155 bridge is behind it, and in my time it was a 3 light home signal. The left hand track is gone, the middle one is the present main track. The track on the right is called the Third Rail. It was recently renamed a controlled siding. About 3-4 years ago NG was moved north. It is now just south of 14th. St., Watervliet.


I can see on Google Earth that the second track extends north of the 155 overpass, which it did not, in 2007.

I've also uploaded a scan of GRS Handbook 15. You can see the upload at:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109314961/Gen ... cuits-1937

It has even more pictures of the 1937 incarnation of the D&H Albany CTC (or, to be more accurate cTc) machine, including a detailed picture of the Waterveliet Junction area.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109314961/Gen ... 37#page=38

I was particularly interested in the photo of the inside of a signal cabin, at:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109314961/Gen ... 37#page=69
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:52 pm

The Third Rail supposedly once ran to 19th. St. In my time it went to just past the Arsenal switch. It was a pain because we had to keep getting headroom at NG to switch Colonie Yard. When I started, the signal was a dwarf mounted on the relay case. When they took the high main home signal off of the bracket, they put in a short single light mast in for the Third Rail.

Gordon,

How was single tracking accomplished on this segment? I am unsure of the area between LA and TS. I do know that SG to WX remained later. Was it single iron from WX to XO? How about BK? In my time it has always been a holding signal for XO. Did it have crossovers at one time?
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby lstone19 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:18 am

Interesting topic, glad I found it. My mother grew up in Ballston Spa and many summers were spent at Lake George so the D&H between Albany and Whitehall has always been of interest.

A few questions that I'm sure some people here can answer:
1) I have 4/29/73 ETT #3. Can someone confirm that I have these cabin locations correct:
QS - D&H/B&M split south of Ballston Lake
QG - Geographic east end of the wye (Mechanicville - Schenectady - Saratoga Springs)
BW - North end of the wye

2) Am I correct in assuming that the northeast leg of the wye (QG to BW) was new construction at the same time the Mechanicville - Ballston Spa main via Round Lake was abandoned?

3) I know immediately prior to A-Day in 1971, the passenger trains operated via Schenectady. Did they start going via Schenectady when the line via Round Lake was abandoned or did that routing come later? Maybe when Albany closed and passenger operations moved to Rensselaer since as I recall from how the Adirondack went in the 70's, Rensselaer to Mechanicville required a backup move. I assume that even though they were on NYC/PC east of Schenectady, that the trains had D&H crews operating on trackage rights (maybe PC had to throw in D&H trackage rights in order to abandon Albany?).
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Re: Mileposts question.

Postby ChiefTroll » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:58 am

1) I have 4/29/73 ETT #3. Can someone confirm that I have these cabin locations correct:
QS - D&H/B&M split south of Ballston Lake
QG - Geographic east end of the wye (Mechanicville - Schenectady - Saratoga Springs)
BW - North end of the wye

Yes, that is correct.

2) Am I correct in assuming that the northeast leg of the wye (QG to BW) was new construction at the same time the Mechanicville - Ballston Spa main via Round Lake was abandoned?

Yes. It was all part of the same project.

3) I know immediately prior to A-Day in 1971, the passenger trains operated via Schenectady. Did they start going via Schenectady when the line via Round Lake was abandoned or did that routing come later?

Operation via Schenectady came later. The "New Connection," QG to BW, was opened in 1965. From then until 1969 the passenger trains operated from Albany Union Station via Mechanicville and QG. IIRC, Albany Union Station was closed in 1969, the D&H tracks through Albany were relocated to the "Concrete Canyon," the connection for a northward move from the D&H to westward on Penn Central was built by the D&H, and PC and D&H built SS Cabin in Schenectady. SS allowed D&H trains to move from westward PC to northward D&H and vice versa, and it allowed PC trains to cross the D&H to the Troy and Schenectady Branch, or what remained of it.

PC had already abandoned the Schenectady passenger station, and had built a "shack" station at Karner Road called "Albany - Schenectady." They were using that before Albany proper was abandoned. Then PC built the "Albany - Rensselaer" station in Rensselaer before abandoning Albany. When the D&H trains ran from Rensselaer via Mechanicville, the crews and equipment, as before, started at Colonie with a back-up to Albany. Then they pulled up to PC on the connecting track, and backed across the Livingston Ave Bridge into Rensselaer. Leaving Rensselaer, they crossed Livingston Ave Bridge, backed onto the D&H and then went north via Colonie, Mechanicville and QG to Rouses Point and points north.

Maybe when Albany closed and passenger operations moved to Rensselaer since as I recall from how the Adirondack went in the 70's, Rensselaer to Mechanicville required a backup move.

I think my date of 1969 is correct, because I was working in the old D&H building, in the fourth floor Engineering Department offices, in the first half of 1970. I watched the demolition of the Maiden Lane Bridge. I also worked on the design of track in the Concrete Canyon, but the connection to Livingston Ave. had already been placed in service.

I assume that even though they were on NYC/PC east of Schenectady, that the trains had D&H crews operating on trackage rights (maybe PC had to throw in D&H trackage rights in order to abandon Albany?).

The trackage rights to Schenectady was part of the deal. PC also abandoned the main line from Schenectady to Hoffmans, and ran their passenger trains via their old Tower 7 at Carmen, South Schenectady, Rotterdam Jct. and Hoffmans. At that time, the D&H ran the only passenger trains through Schenectady proper but they did not stop there.

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