End of the year quiz #3

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Dec 24 15:05:01 EST 2014

Thanks for your confidence. The signal in the photo was so different from Roanoke's that I didn't want to confuse things. I have also found that different locations may have different nomenclature for similar things.
Roanoke had what we called "Hump/Trim signals" in the receiving yard. These were used to signal engines that were ready to hump a track. If I remember correctly, there was Green for "Shove" (to the hump), Yellow for "Hump" (speed), Red for "Stop" and Blinking Red for "Back-up". With the newer hump system, some of the engines could be "hooked-up" to the computer control machine which was operated by the Conductor. Once hook-up was established, the Conductor could stop the movement by touching "Stop" on the touch screen. After the Conductor reset the computer and went to Green, the Engineer had to open the throttle and reset the "Hump Control" on the engine.
There were two, or three, signals for cuts being humped out of tracks 1-10, which signals were on the south side of track #1. Cuts being humped out of tracks 11-20 were controlled by signals located between tracks 10 & 11.
Before any "Trimming" could be done (shoving over into the class yard), the Hump Signals had to be set at Red. The computer had to be placed in "Trim" mode. All switches were lined by the Conductor, after which the Engineer was told he was lined up for #(whatever) track, retarders were open (or down). At this point the Brakeman on the crew would direct the movement, by radio, until the movement was complete. The Conductor would then reset the computer and prepare to hump again.
Several other places in the Terminal had "Switching Signals" where the engineer couldn't see hand signals. As best as I remember, the signals operated somewhat similarly to the hump signals, as far as their aspects were concerned (i.e.; Green-shove fast; Blinking Green-Shove slow; Blinking Red Back-up; Red-stop). I don't remember there being a Yellow on the Switching Signals, but I could be wrong about that. There were signals on the West End of the yard, on both the Empty Side Yard and the Pull-in tracks. There was also signals on the east end of the Empty Side Yard (24th Street and East), and on both ends of South Yard. The controls were operated by the Conductor.
These were still in use when I went to the yard in '81. But, as radios became more prevalent, they slowly stopped using the Switching Signals. Don't know about the Switching Signals, but the Hump Signals (on the hump apex) were physically removed in October 2008.
Hope this helps a little.
Jeff Sanders


     From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
 To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> 
 Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 8:29 AM
 Subject: Re: End of the year quiz #3
I was hoping that Jeff Sanders would chime in on this one. I know that 
he could explain their use. There were trimmer signals here in Roanoke 
in several places. I know that they were on the hump and east end of the 
empty side yard.

Jimmy Lisle
NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org
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