"Roanoke Jct" as an Official Nomenclature?
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Thu Oct 25 16:45:16 EDT 2012
Well Ron, I, for one, vote for your term "Roanoke Jct" as a superb choice to denominate all of the trackage and signals as they existed from the east end of the Punkin' Vine Wye at Roanoke to, say, Park Street.
"Randolph Street" was designated by the Time Table as an interlocking, but there was never any specification of the east and west limits of "Randolph Street Interlocking." The whole thing was ambiguous.
West of the station platforms, extending all the way to Park Street, were a number of non-automatic signals. Were they part of Randolph Street Interlocking? Who knows. For these signals to display a proceed signal, the operation of a lever >>at<< Randolph Street Tower was required, but were they part >>of<< Randolph Street Interlocking? The signals were definitely interlocked with switches and crossovers, but did they constitute the "home signals of an interlocking"? Were they remotely controlled, un-named interlockings? Were Interlocking Rules in effect between opposing signals? And what rules were in effect on the short pieces of main track between these "positive" [for lack of a better term] signals at Henry Street, Commerce Street and Park Street, Automatic Block Rules or Interlocking Rules? To say nothing of the existence of at least one hand-operated crossover east of Park Street within one of these little "islands" protected by what were probably construed as home signals.
No one I ever worked with knew the answers. I don't think there were any answers. The whole situation was ambiguous. As a matter of fact, it was a mess. It certainly did not conform to standard signal/interlocking practices as understood by most major roads.
So, what's the big deal about this? It wasn't a big deal because traffic was light, speeds were slow, and the moves were almost exclusively through-moves. But if an arrangement like this had been implemented in a place which had twice the traffic and some reverse moves, and possibly with some trailing-release switch circuits thrown it, there would definitely have been problems.
Complex matters are seldom understood without reference to their developmental history, so I would love to know what was going on in the heads of the people who designed this arrangement. (I think it's safe to conclude that the arrangement was home-brew, as Union Switch & Signal would have never designed anything like this.) Hopefully, some day, correspondence from the planning phase will be unearthed, which might help us determine just what in the world these people were thinking !
-- abram burnett
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