No "call for signals" at train order stations after 1931

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Jul 18 16:05:18 EDT 2020


This info may be of some use:

_N&W 1926 Annual Report_

Automatic train control between Roanoke and Shenandoah, Va., a distance 
of 132 miles, including
automatic signals, wayside train control apparatus, transmission line 
and engines operating with train
control device, was completed and placed in operation January 1st, 1927. 
Automatic train control
has now been installed on the entire Shenandoah Division of your 
Company's line, extending from
Roanoke, Va., to Hagerstown, Md., a distance of 239 miles.

_N&W 1927 Annual Report_

Automatic signals were installed between Roanoke, Va., and 
Winston-Salem, N. C., Bluefield,
W. Va., and Norton, Va., Tug Junction and Auville Yard and Dry Fork 
Junction and Auville
Yard, W. Va.

Gordon Hamilton

On 7/18/2020 1:22 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Now, that is a mite curious.
> IF the entire Division had been equipped with Automatic Block Signals 
> by that date in 1931, the notice probably implies that all open 
> offices have been equipped with electric block indicators worked off 
> the track circuit relays north and south of each office.  (Those block 
> indicators were still in service when I hired in 1964.)
> IF, on the other hand, however, some of the main tracks had NOT been 
> equipped with Automatic Block Signaling, then the station semaphores 
> would still be serving as both Block and Train Order signals, and the 
> longstanding rule of **whistle for the board and the engineman must 
> see the arm moved to clear**  would still apply.  And the four-blast  
> **call for signals** would be of vital importance.
> So, I think we can infer that the entire Shenandoah Division is 
> covered by Automatic Block Rules by the date of this notice, including 
> the Roanoke & Southern.
> It would be interesting to know what occasioned this instruction.  
> Decisions like that were generally not made at the Divisional level, 
> so this was probably a system instruction coming from the General 
> Office.  Some early iteration of the Corporate Bean Counter may have 
> read that 30 seconds (or whatever) at the pop valve equals one scoop 
> full of coal, and translated that into rubles, drachmas and pennies, 
> and concluded  **waste of steam.**
> It would be a nice project to work out a time-line for installation of 
> ABS on the Shenandoah Division, along with information on what types 
> of signals were used (PL's, UQ semaphores or LQ semaphores,) and what 
> type of track circuits (AC or DC, steady-energy or coded.)  Also 
> needed is research on the 440v AC which the N&W hung on its Shenandoah 
> Valley pole line, and the points from which fed.
> Good work, Doc Scheer.  Take tomorrow off with pay.   The Chief Train 
> Dispatcher will send Opr Thurston Graves up to Boyce to relieve you.  
> So get your fishin' pole and head to the river bank.
> ........... abram burnett, Turnipus Rex...........
> Advocate for the Instantiation of Predicates
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>          Must buy it back or go to pris'n."
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> /Cattleman, Hudson River Boatman, Railroad Tycoon and Crook/
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