by Noel Weaver
When the signals at Woodlawn were first put in to service way back when they were timesavers at the very least. Remember that all signals of the period in the northeast were speed signals and not route signals. In other words they would tell you how fast you could go but it was up to you to know where you were going. Take a standard equipment en-route from Grand Central to Brewster with an electric motor. You get a medium clear signal at Woodlawn from track one but instead of crossing over to track three you are routed to track three then to New Haven track two. The third rail did not go too far and once you left that third rail you were out of business and that happened more than once in the PM rush and really tied the railroad up. Under today's operation you no longer have that possibility with the third rail all the way past Mt. Vernon and the MU equipment being able to stop faster and having third rail shoes throughout the train but back in the 60's and 70's it was a real problem. Even with today's operation these signals can save a huge delay.