NJT's Speed Enforcement System: A Thing That Existed
The Position Light Blog
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1w ago
You might have heard me reference the Northeast's preferred transponder based PTC system ACSES, or the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System. In most cases when something called itself "Advanced" its usually a bit of marketing speak, but in this case the basic Speed Enforcement System was a thing that actually existed for a brief period of time on New Jersey Transit's Pascack Valley Line. However because of the rapid pivot to more "Advanced" systems and the 2008 PTC mandate, information on the SES pilot is remarkably hard to come by, however I have been able to piece together a few bits of i ..read more
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Livonia, Avon and Lakeville's Captive Signals
The Position Light Blog
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1w ago
There's a concept in preservation that's analogous to the world of wildlife conservation. In the ideal scenario animals are present in and fully engaged with their natural ecosystem. Far less ideal is when they are in simulated ecosystems in zoos or similar managed preserves. The least desirable state is where the creature is stuffed and mounted in an exhibit, fixed in place and time. For vintage railroad signaling technology the ideal is when equipment is in active everyday service. Next best is when it is still functioning, but used mainly for display instead of operations. The least desirab ..read more
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Toronto Terminal Railway Update
The Position Light Blog
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1w ago
The long running project by multiple parties to re-signal the Toronto Terminal Railway, aka Union Station Rail Corridor in Canada is showing progress in the form of new signal bridges going up between SCOTT ST and CHERRY ST interlocking towers. Those, along with JOHN ST comprised the signaling control infrastructure that went in with Toronto Union Station in 1927. The large GRS supplied plant made use of Model 5B pistol grip type interlocking machines in the style of Buffalo Central Station.  SCOTT ST Tower JOHN ST Tower  While the 1927 dwarf searchlights are still ..read more
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2024 NEC Reference Video
The Position Light Blog
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1w ago
 A side effect of Allan Fisher's recent "Festival Express" style journey from New York to Saint Louis in a private car full of transit Youtubers was a 3 hour and 22 minute long high definition rear facing railfan video of the entire Amtrak Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington. The video was filmed from the PV's position behind Amtrak's westbound Cardinal Train 51 with no observable delays and a top speed of 110mph. This video is an important historical artifact as it captures certain NEC elements that are under imminent threat of replacement including the PORTAL bridge and ..read more
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Vermonter Route Signal Update
The Position Light Blog
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1w ago
About 3 years ago I wrote a fairly positive report on the state of signaling on Amtrak's Vermonter route between New Haven and White River Junction. Unfortunately the recent spike in infrastructure spending has had major negative impacts on the New England Central portion of the route within just the past six months. The only good news is that some of the vintage searchlit signaling might hang on for a little while longer, but much of it is already on the way out. First a quick overview of the old NECR signaling. Originally part of the Canadian National family under the Central Vermont bran ..read more
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THE Source for LIRR Tower Information
The Position Light Blog
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2M ago
The rather secretive nature of the LIRR has always made it somewhat difficult to find information about its signaling infrastructure and interlocking towers. However over the past past 26 years Steven Lynch's decidedly web 1.0 LIRR Archive on trainsarefun.com has ballooned into an absolute juggernaut of quality information. In particular the page devoted to interlocking towers covers not only the current stuff, not only the recently closed stuff, but the towers that were displaced by the modernizations of the 1950's, 60's and 70's as well as the old block stations that were displaced by automa ..read more
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Reading Viaduct Signaling Remains
The Position Light Blog
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2M ago
On November 6th, 1984 the last train departed the historic Reading Terminal in center city Philadelphia 4 days after the completion of the Center City Commuter Connection tunnel that allowed through running between the former Pennsylvania and Reading electrified commuter rail systems. Immediately after crews began to rip up the tracks as the tunnel had rendered both Reading Terminal and about 2 miles of elevated main line redundant. This also marked the end of RACE STREET as an active interlocking station and its task of signaling trains in and out of the 13 track station complex from the 4-tr ..read more
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The NS Bridge Line PTC Adventure
The Position Light Blog
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2M ago
For years concerns of PTC interoperability drove all manner of decision making at freight and passenger railroads. For example's CSX decision to isolate itself from SEPTA's Regional Rail network, NICTD choosing not using the cab signal codes present on its line because Metra Electric wanted to use the freight-centric ETMS and MARC dumping ACSES for reasons. However one common thread is that when push comes to shove, equipping locomotives with multiple PTC systems is not a big deal (although it certainly isn't free). Case in point are the SD60E locomotives that are always leading certain Norfo ..read more
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Harrisburg Power Office Gets Up and Running
The Position Light Blog
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3M ago
Since my last update on the status of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Harrisburg Power Director's Office a surprising amount of progress has been made to get the equipment functioning in its 1943 configuration. For those of you who might not be aware, the Harrisburg Power Office used a relay based SCADA system to remote control all of the 1937-39 westward extension of the 12kv 25hz electrification network that first began operation in 1915.  The second phase of the PRR's electrification from New York to Boston had largely relied on tower operators to directly control the substation equip ..read more
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METRA Confronts Sticky Speeds
The Position Light Blog
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3M ago
METRA recently announced that they were looking to raise speeds on its electric division from the current 65mph to 80 or even 90mph. Typically this is the sort of project that justified a 8 or 9 figure capital spend with concrete ties and brand new signaling. However this announcement explained that management simply looked at the facts on the ground and concluded there wasn't actually anything precluding those faster speeds. Apparently the entire operational management of METRA has assumed that the 65mph figure was a fundamental limitation of the current ABS/CTC block signaling distances that ..read more
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