MORE SIGNAL QUESTIONS
- I was hoping to pinpoint the location of some of the signals on the Chicago to Wheaton portion of the CA&E. I reviewed the track maps in my CA&E references, but did not see symbols corresponding to track signals, only grade crossing gates and lights. Does a map showing signal locations exist in any of the published CA&E material?
Also, does anyone have any details regarding control of train movements over the IC crossing in Elmhurst and through Bellwood, specifically with respect to the Chicago Rapid Transit, Chicago Great Western interchange and Indiana Harbor Belt interchange?
- In Elmhurst where the IC crossed both the CA&E and the CGW, there was a manned interlocking tower as typical of railroad crossings in the days before remote control of signal systems. For movements in the normal direction of traffic (right-hand) on the CA&E, one block signal on each track also served as the home signal stopping any CA&E trains when the towerman wished to authorize an IC move. This signal had a permanent red light below the normal three-color aspects, thus indicating it was a positive signal: Red over red meant stop and stay (not restricting: stop and proceed as with the single red aspect of a block signal). The signal which CA&E trains reached before the home signal had a permanent purple light below the three-color aspects, indicating it was a distant signal for the interlocking: Yellow over purple meant proceed prepared to stop at the home signal depending on its indication. At least, it looked purple to me; the rule book did not use a word to define what the color was called, and I never asked a motorman or dispatcher, but I don't think it would be part of railroad culture to call it lilac or lavender! The purple aspect may have been peculiar to the CA&E; at least, I do not remember seeing it (or anything else specially marking a distant signal in approach to a railroad crossing) in the days of color light signals on any other railroad. For moves against traffic (left-hand) on the CA&E, I believe there was a dwarf signal indicating there was no conflicting IC train but not guaranteeing that the CA&E track was clear of oncoming trains.
In Bellwood where the "L" trains diverged, there was a CA&E interlocking tower. Here too there were home signals in the era when the Westchester branch was in place (until 1951). The westbound home signal had two multi-color heads so that it could display, for example, green over red indicating clear on the main route (CA&E), or red over yellow indicating approach on the diverging route (to Westchester). The towerman controlled the power switches routing trains at the junction. These aspects were (and are) more-or-less standard on many railroads.
The interchange tracks (and also spurs to online industries, etc.) had hand-throw switches operated by the freight train conductor or brakemen. Before opening a switch, the trainman must ascertain that no other trains were approaching on the main tracks. A switch indicator on a short mast near the switch had a push button, and when he pushed the button a yellow light was displayed if the main track was clear. If he did not get the yellow aspect, he must not open the switch, unless of course his own train or any of its cars were what was occupying the main. If his train was entirely in the clear on the interchange track and wanted to enter the main, he also must know from the operating timetable that no scheduled trains were due. He had hard-wired telephone communication with the train dispatcher at Wheaton if he did not already have a train order authorizing the movement of his train. This procedure for entering the main track at a non-interlocked point was standard on most railroads although the form of the switch indicator varied. Some railroads whose block signals were older than the CA&E's used a switch indicator with a tiny semaphore blade behind a glass window, instead of a yellow light. The South Shore Line right up to the present installation of Centralized Traffic Control used a dwarf signal for a similar purpose. It had three aspects. Red indicated remain in the siding. Red over white letter "S" meant open the switch and wait until a time lag to guard against an approaching train on the main. Yellow meant proceed through the open switch onto the main.
ROY G. BENEDICT
From: "fje63@..." <fje63@...>
Subject: [thegreatthirdrail] MORE SIGNAL QUESTIONS
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 2010 23:21:59 -0000
. . . does anyone have any details regarding control of train movements over the IC crossing in Elmhurst and through Bellwood, specifically with respect to the Chicago Rapid Transit, Chicago Great Western interchange and Indiana Harbor Belt interchange?