• Interlocking Tower, East Brookfield, Ma

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by trvgor
 
I am looking for information and/or photos regarding an interlocking tower that once stood west of the East Brookfield, MA station on the south side of the tracks. The foundation is still in place but the tower has been LONG removed...probably during NYC time. My father has been looking for ANY photos taken of this tower but nobody has been able to come up with one (even people in town).
  by Jack Shufelt
 
While I do not have a photograph I can provide a little detail. East Brookfield was Tower 33 with an office call of "RD". Tower 33 was another casualty of the depression as It was closed in 1938, between ETT No. 135 of June 15, 1938 and No. 136 of Sept. 25, 1938. The switches were remoted to Tower 31 at Webster Junction. The early date of closing is likely why you are not finding photographs readily available. Looks like 33's reason for being was that Track 4 extended between Tower 33 and Charlton, which was likely Tower 32, although in the ETT it just shows as "HN". The B&A did not always list the tower number in the ETT. Appears that Tower 32 was closed at the same time as Tower 33.
  by QB 52.32
 
Very interesting information. A couple of questions come to mind: any idea what technology was used to remote E. Brookfield's interlocking to the tower at Webster Jct? Also, wondering about the tower numbering sequence: If the west end of Worcester's Union Station was controlled by Tower 28 and Webster Jct. was Tower 31, besides, I'd guess, an interlocking tower at Jamesville where else was there a tower between Tower 28 and Webster Jct.? Thanks.
  by Jack Shufelt
 
I do not know which specific machine was used at Tower 31 to control the East Brookfield interlocking but, it was manufactured by GRS. Someone else will have to comment on the technical details. My speculation is that the tower at Jamesville was Tower 30 but, I cannot confirm the number at this time. The tower was there to handle the switches and signals associated with track 3, which ran between Jamesville and Tower 31 at Webster Junction. My cursory review of the territory between Jamesville and Worcester does not disclose a Tower 29 but, there certainly could have been one at one time. I believe that the B&A may have left some gaps in the numbering intentionally.
  by QB 52.32
 
Thanks very much for your reply. Impressive that the B&A was employing what I'd have to think was relatively new technology for efficiency gains, even during challenging economic times.

I wonder if at one point there was a third track that ran west from Tower 28 out toward the old Webster Square coal-fired power plant. While it's not shown in the 1950 B&A track charts available on-line, there is room in the right-of-way that's now occupied by a ~ mile-long flatcar storage track which I believe could continue out toward Webster Street. Just guessing, but perhaps that's where a second tower was located between Tower 28 and Webster Jct. but gone by the 1930's?
  by trvgor
 
Thanks Jack for the information. This will give me a little more information in my search for a photograph. It's very interesting that nobody seems to have taken a picture of this tower. I'm thinking that in someones basement is an old shoe box waiting to be found with great pictures inside.