middle siding signals

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 20 07:45:34 EDT 2017

Once again you have my thanks for sharing from your wealth of operational
knowledge.  Allow me to confirm my understanding of your statements.  In
cases where both the dispatcher and the engineer knew exactly why a
movement would be entering an occupied block (to pick up a previously set
off cut of loads or to get behind a drag to help shove it), the dispatcher
could "override" the Stop and Stay that would normally be set automatically
by the occupancy detection, with a Restricting/Call On to facilitate the
movement.  This makes good sense and since the preponderance of such
movements would have been from the East-bound main in the case of
Villamont, it also stands to reason that the extra expense of allowing for
such movements from the West-bound main may not have been justified.  Did
all/most middle track storage sidings have this arrangement?  You mentioned
that "The Pocahontas Division was littered with these where pushers would
routinely get on."  I assume that Farm would have been one such location
where pushers were routinely added for the climb into Bluefield, so they
would have to enter occupied track to get behind the caboose for shoving.
What were some of the other locations for regular pushing?  And now to
expose more of my ignorance, I believe the dispatcher could establish a
route through a control point by "throwing levers" on his machine to set
the turnouts and signals.  I assume that occupancy detection would try to
prevent him from setting a route for the pusher into the occupied track, so
how was able to 1) set the appropriate turnout and 2) cause the appropriate
signal to show the Restricting aspect?  My assumption would be that there
were special controls on the board for these locations that would allow the
dispatcher to set the signal to Restricting overriding the occupancy
signal.  If this is the case does anyone have/know of photos/diagrams of
boards showing this facility?  I would further assume that the signals
governing movements for pushers out of Boaz siding would have needed this
same capability for the same reasons and I will track down my photos of
these signals to have a look.
Thanks again,
Jim Cochran

On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:39 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>

> Jim,
> I would suggest that the Restricting aspect is for a call-on signal.
> One would be looking downgrade when looking east at Villamont, so grade
> signals would not apply, plus grade signals are automatics, these are
> controlled (but note lack of "S" plate). They have a full compliment of
> diverging aspects at point-of-switch to govern middle track pull-in, so the
> middle track is bonded and signaled. A dark middle track would rate
> hand-thrown turnouts and no signals.
> Actually, note that the track layout is not exactly symmetrical, but
> favors an easier alignment/higher speed pull-in off of the eastbound and
> standard crossover for pull-out to the westbound. One exception to above is
> if a spring switch is on the pull-out, it must be installed using the
> easier alignment and the signal would lack diverging aspects.
> Before the Virginian merger, I believe a train's worth of eastbound loads
> were set off here (and further east?) to fill tonnage for subsequent
> eastbounds. That is a whole lot of back and forth thru controlled signals
> displaying Stop and Stay into occupied blocks of the middle track and EB
> Main, so to cut down on phone traffic and expedite matters, the dispatcher
> can override the Stop and Stay indication with Restricting, called a
> "call-on" signal. The Pocahontas Division was littered with these where
> pushers would routinely get on.
> Grant Carpenter
> On 4/19/2017 10:44 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Mr. Powers,
> Thank you for your response.  I understand your comments on geography.  My
> remaining question is why would it be advantageous to allow an Eastbound
> movement to proceed at restricted speed on the East-bound main and not be
> advantageous to do so for an Eastbound movement on the West-bound main?
> The layout of the middle siding appears to by symmetrical with respect to
> both mains and I am trying to understand why the signalling should be
> different.
> Thanks for your help,
> Jim Cochran
> On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 8:26 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
> > wrote:
>> Jim,
>>     A restricting signal indicates the right to proceed at a restricting
>> speed. That aspect does not deal with geography, it deals with trains ahead
>> and track circuit continuity. It sits one position above "stop and
>> proceed", which only deals with trains ahead - you must stop and then
>> proceed at a restricting speed. Below that is "stop and stay". If there is
>> a yellow plate with the letter "G" on it below the signal head displaying
>> "Stop and stay" on the mast, a train on an ascending grade can pass the
>> signal without the stop, ready to stop short of a train ahead. All the
>> above very fine delineations of keeping your speed safely in check.
>>     From the photo, I cannot tell what track the furthest EB signal
>> controls. If it has a dummy mast to one side of it, it may control the
>> center siding, and most likely be like an interlocking home signal and not
>> have any aspect allowing a stop and proceed.
>>     Wm J Powers
>> On 4/19/2017 6:54 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:
>> I believe the attached photo may show the West end of the middle siding
>> at Villamont (confirmation would be appreciated).  My question concerns the
>> East-bound signals that are visible.  The signal for the East-bound main is
>> capable of displaying the RESTRICTING aspect while the one for the
>> West-bound main is not.  In my understanding, one reason for the
>> RESTRICTING aspect was to allow a train to proceed without coming to a
>> complete stop on  a grade where it might have been very hard to start
>> again.  Since this stretch is signalled for bi-directional running, why
>> would the signal for the West bound main not also be capable of showing
>> RESTRICTING?  It seems like the grade would have been the same for
>> East-bound movements regardless of which main they were using.  Any
>> thoughts?
>> Thanks, Jim Cochran
>> Moderator:
>> http://www.nwhs.org/mailinglist/2017/20170419.midpasside.jpg
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