signal question

Discussion in 'Operations' started by geep07, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. geep07

    geep07 Member

    What type of signal was used at the Frisco & MoPac crossing at Sappington Rd. west of Webster Grove depot, circa late 50's to 60's through 70's
     
  2. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I have been thinking about this since I read the original post, and I am pretty sure the signals on the Frisco double-track line were dwarf signals.

    GS
     
  3. geep07

    geep07 Member

    dwarf signals, you mean the signal head is on the ground! I assume it would be a 2 position signal (red, green)?
     
  4. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I think Greg may be right. I recall riding in the vestibule with a carman on #4 when we crossed the MoP there (understand this was years ago - I'd guess 1962 or 1963). We did the kathunk-kathunk going across the MoP rails and I saw the tracks - I asked the trainman whose tracks are those, and he said MP. I do not recall seeing any tall signals.

    Ken
     
  5. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    The location is Fairlawn at Holmes Avenue. There is a diagram in the TRRA H&TS Summer 2008 book on Towers in St. Louis for its configuration in 1940 (p. 108). There is also a ca. 1940 photo (p. 109) that shows a double semaphore east of Holmes Avenue for westbound traffic. The diagram seems to indicate that as a tall, double-tab stick in that position. There is a companion for eastbound traffic facing the other way. There seemed to be semaphores in 1940.

    Current eastbound signalling on the BNSF is a fairly tall colored light visible from Big Bend and Geyer, about 1.5 miles west. My recollection is that has been there since before 1990.

    George
     
  6. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Dwarf signal means yes, the head was more or less at ground level, and I do not recall if there was a single lens or two. I can't think why there would be any need for an amber aspect since, once the train is in the crossing it will either hit something or it won't. I remember horsing around there when we were kids, and as I recall the lenses had screens over them for protection. I do not recall any tall signals, but again, that was 50 years ago. I don't know what's there now, since the MP track is long gone.

    GS
     
  7. SteveM

    SteveM Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Dave Roeder gave a clinic on the MOPAC Kirkwood Cutoff at the Mid-Con convention last year. I think he had some photos of the crossing from different dates. I don't remember what signals might have shown in them. He lives not far from there and is still researching the cutoff.
     
  8. WindsorSpring

    WindsorSpring Member

    To answer the question of how Holmes Avenue is signaled now, here are current (6/12/2012) photos of both, along with a photo of the box at the crossing to show BNSF's name for it.

    What type signals are they?

    George Nelson
     

    Attached Files:

  9. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Just another tidbit, Terry, as you already know, slang for that used to be called " a field signal" the key is the number plate. Track guys used to say " there's a yellow in the field". At that time the signal system went yellow when there was no trains lined up. Most systems today are approach lit, which means they are dark, when they are not lined up.
    William Jackson
     
  10. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Terry, the systems are much better now than they were back in 1970 when I started with the Frisco. Back in that time the foreman would work using the old field phone. On the Eastern Division, unless the dispacher requested the signals the indication or aspect was yellow. It ment nothing was lined up or in the block. In other words the signals were lit all the time. So the foreman basically would talk with the dispacher and get a lineup or location of any trains. As long as the signal stayed yellow he new nothing was lined up. Compared to today, the foreman would be fired for that. In that time we worked, with just a flagman. Of course that changed in the mid 70's and more in the 80's.
    I retired from FEC in 2010, they are completely set up with cab signals.
    For most of my career, Frisco, BN, BNSF, KCS and finally FEC the system works like you said.
    Much better today.
    William Jackson
     
  11. geep07

    geep07 Member

    I finally found my Frisco Track Chart dated November 1977 from St.Louis to Newburg. At the MoPac crossing it indicates an "A" signal being used there. Also, dwarf signals and "G" signals were used as you went west to Newburg. ( mile marker 119.10)
     
  12. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter


    Just a word of caution about the Frisco Track Charts... It would appear that the on its track charts, the Frisco called all signals, which were not A-Blocks or Grade Signals, dwarf signals. Here are two examples. The "dwarf" signal listed at MP C-158.78 was a tall signal with a number plate. From the 50's to the BN merger, that signal was never a dwarf. Secondly, the pair of "dwarf "signals at 234.58, which were just east of the US Hwy 65 Bypass were both tall signal and visible from the highway.

    When perusing the track charts, I was always puzzled by the nomenclature used.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Karl, the language on the railroad is really not specific. As you know, it varies almost from town to town. Certainly from railroad to railroad. I did not actually realize that until we merged with BN. Track Charts back then was only used by the engineering department, because they were almost never up to date. Even when it says revised, it may only mean that someone added an item. It does not mean the whole thing is accurate. The railroad did not want anyone to operate off the track chart. Of course the Timetable, General Orders and Bulletins was the current method. A clearance with the orders for the day was the most accurate. Even the timetable was only updated once a year, they used to ask the officers about July for the revisions for the new timetable. I don't think a new track chart was printed maybe once in ten years, and even then it wasn't accurate then.
    William Jackson
     
  14. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    I thought I would address this again, there seems to be a little confusion with the signals marked with an "A". When Frisco merged with BN we saw a rule change. Burlington Northern did not have signals with an "A" mark. The rule became: Absolute Signal is defined as a signal designated in the Timetable by an "A" marker or the absence of a number. Dwarf and "G" have separate meanings. Dwarf signals were used where clearance was an issue. They are at ground level and most all I have ever seen are Absolute Signals. The "G" came to use, because, trains used to have to stop for a signal with a number plate. Remember a number plate on a signal, means it is not an Absolute Signal. The "G" was used on heavy grades, so the train could keep moving instead of stoping on a hill and then not being able to start again.
    I hope that helps, it's been a while and rules change almost all the time. I am not current now, but I was a qualified rules examiner on most railroads I worked for. That is one thing, I am glad I don't need to keep up with.
    William Jackson
     
  15. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    William,

    Given the context of this entire thread, it seems that after viewing his Rolla Sub track chart, geep07 is operating with the impression that dwarf signals, that is, low signals, were used along the mainline between Lindenwood and Newburg. This is a reasonable assumption after all. That is the way the Book of Rules defines dwarf signals, and that is what the track chart shows. However, such was not the case. My intent was to show that in its track charts, the Frisco called any non A-block signal or non G-signal a dwarf signal. Regardless of the accuracy or the currency of the chart, the "dwarf nomenclature seems to be used through out the system track charts. That is the puzzle; why call them dwarf signals?

    I have attached a pdf file of the Ash Grove chart, and it's nomenclature is the same as the Rolla Sub. All the approach and intermediate signals are listed as dwarf signals. I'd wager the none of the depicted "dwarf" signals are low signals.

    You are correct about the accuracy of the track charts. For example, at Lockwood, the Hwy 97 crossing has been mis-placed a mile to the north.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Karl, it's kinda like I had said. The language of the railroad or slang has varied over the years. After I became a officer, I went to the general office, to get a set of track charts. If you traveled around, as I did, running tie and steel gangs, the charts were very useful. There was only two or three guys that handled all the maps. Those guys really just worked in the office. With work crews all over the railroad each day, the track charts were almost never correct. I used mine to find crossings, make notes and help locate some items shown.
    There may be any number of reasons why the term "Dwarf" was used. Could be that's what the boss wanted to call it, when they were first made, which I don't know, when they first came about. One thing is for sure, they were not totally accurate and there was not enough people to field varify what was in the field. There was a designation of "Sig" and as you point out "dwarf". If the term Dwarf, was used for all signals, it would have been way back there. Most anything is possible, in the language of the railroads.
    William Jackson
     

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