CPL history lesson

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Jan 5 14:49:44 EST 2007

The N&W changed to color CPL's because of the accident on Easter Sunday in
Sardinia, Ohio where #99 missed obeying the approach signal and the
STOP-and-STAY signal at the siding switch and rammed the engines on #94
which was taking the siding there. Some of the crew of 94 died in the
wreck and the resulting fire. The investigation centered on the crew of 99
stating that they saw proceed signals approaching Sardinia and at the
siding. The N&W and the ICC could only determine that dispatching did set
the signals for the stop properly and that the signal relays appeared to
have operated properly.

This night (the accident happened around 2 am) during stormy weather with
lightning. Previous to this accident the N&W experienced an incorrect
signal display on the Shenandoah Valley due to a freak lightening strike.
Based on this incident, there was some speculation that lightning may have
caused the signals to mis-display this night. However, the Shenandoah
incident did not display a PROCEED type signal due to the lightening strike
but a less dangerous aspect. The ICC did investigate and test to see if a
voltage spike could set the signals to such a dangerous aspect as that which
occurred in Sardinia. They did not find any reason or evidence to support
this dangerous outcome in the signal system then in use.

Due to the uncertainty around the reasons for the accident, the N&W agreed
with the ICC and changed to color position signals.

I am currently preparing an article for the ARROW covering this accident
and the results caused by this unfortunate incident.

Gary Rolih



From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 9:30 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: CPL history lesson

"WHY did the N&W change the position lights to Color?

Ben Blevins"

Who knows the real reason the N&W's changed over to CPLs? I will assume
that "Safety" was behind it somewhere. I am sure I will get an arguement
from some,but, I think the CPLs are safer.

You read what I posted. With PL signals, the only color the crews were
seeing was YELLOW. And that was my point! If the signal indication was
obscured in some way, all you saw was YELLOW. If some of the lights were
burnt out, all you saw was YELLOW.

Now, introduce color into the signal system and what do you get? Now
(with CPLs) when you look through the fog or smoke or steam or tree branches
and you see a fuzzy green light you knew what you had, etc. etc.

I have also been told that the wreck between #95 and #2 at the South End
of Cloverdale was related to the PL signal at the North End of Cloverdale
being worked on that same day. I have yet to find an accident report on that

Jimmy Lisle

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