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Western Railroad Discussion > 3/4 of Tower 55


Date: 12/08/08 15:36
3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

No, I'm not referring to Tower 41 1/4.

I thought some here might be interested in varying views of Tower 55 in Ft. Worth, TX from three of the four directions approaching the diamonds. I'd have included the last quadrant, but I can't find anywhere to take photos that isn't trespassing with a capital T. So if you want to see T55 from UP's Dallas Sub looking west, you'll just have to come out to Texas and shoot it yourself. Or maybe we can get Steve Schmollinger to pull a couple from his box of magic - if anyone has that angle, Steve will.

First, the worst view of the tower, which is north looking south. With recent security crackdowns, there aren't many great views in this direction.

1) From just east of UP's Choctaw Sub looking south. The freeway drawfs the BNSF train heading north on the Ft. Worth Sub. The tower is to the left side of the picture beneath the communication tower.

2) A grab shot from my car as I'm driving east on Stevenson St., going under the north -south lines of both UP and BNSF. The BNSF train is taking the north to west connection, coming from the Ft. Worth Sub and heading west on UP's Dallas Sub. The train will go thru Lancaster/Centennial/Davidson Yard on the way towards Sweetwater, via the ATSF trackage rights. Just in case anyone was wondering, my registration was up to date - this picture was taken in late 2006.






Date: 12/08/08 15:46
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: mustraline

The 'best' views are from the south. Good effort.



Date: 12/08/08 15:50
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

A bit more interesting is the view from west of the tower looking east. Two of these were taken from the parking structure of a new condiminium development that was constructed adjacent to the UP's Dallas Sub. Great view, but you better like idling locos, because a ton of trains wait here until getting the clear through the tower.

1. Case in point - a UP southbound manifest waits for the signal to go to the south onto UP's Ft. Worth Sub, and will likely connect onto UP's Midlothian Sub. From left bottom to top right, you have 1) TRE main into T&P Station (directly to my right out of picture). 2) Second TRE track into T&P Station. 3) Crossover between UP North to West Wye to TRE T&P Station track. 4) Connection to UP Main Track 1. 5) Crossover between north to west wye track and Main Track 2. 6, 7 and 8) Main track 2, 3 and 4. Mains 2 and 3 go through Tower 55 diamonds - Main 1 becomes the north to west leg of the wye, and Main 4 become the south to west leg of the wye.

2. Looking through the freeway supports towards T55. The train is a UP northbound, moving from the Ft. Worth Sub to UP's Choctaw Sub. You can see all four main lines here - Main 1 bends to the left (north), Mains 2 & 3 bend east to the diamonds and Main 4 bends to the south.

3. From the south side of the Dallas Sub looking east. This BNSF train was waiting for a crew to get on to take the train south on UP's Midlothian Sub to the BNSF connection at Waxahatchie. As you can see, not a lot of room under the freeway to construct a lot of new tracks or to change the existing connections.









Date: 12/08/08 15:54
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

Lastly from the south looking north. As Mustraline said, this is by far the best view (man, he's quick!). At least there is still public access that you can photograph the tower without too much concern about being busted for trespassing.

1. UP westbound about to cross the diamonds. Shot from Broadway St., which used to be a crossing but is now closed.

2. BNSF northbound, same location.






Date: 12/08/08 16:04
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

And finally, some of the moves you see at Tower 55. All taken from Pennsylvania Ave., which is an overpass about a 1/4 mile south of T55. You want multiple routes? Tower 55 will give you multiple routes.

1. The simplist move - a northbound waits while a westbound crosses the diamonds.

2. A bit more fun - a BNSF south bound coal train, coming from the UP's Choctaw Sub (track 1 - formerly BNSF's Wichita Falls Sub), passes through Tower 55 and then is crossed over to UP's Ft. Worth Sub track 1. This train will stay on UP for about 2 miles until it is past Ney Yard, then will make the connection to UP's Midlothian Sub. The train will rejoin BNSF tracks at Waxahatchie, where it will go south towards Teague, TX.

3. Coal going north and south, simultaneously? No, just the helpers of the Midlothian train being overtaken by another BNSF southbound coal train going towards Temple, TX. The second coal train came down BNSF's Ft. Worth Sub while the first train was moving on the Choctaw. The connections at the Tower allow for BNSF to stay to the west while a UP train (or in this case, a BNSF train with trackage rights) moves north -south. Parallel moves are made frequently because of the volume of trains that have to use the tower.








Date: 12/08/08 16:16
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

And finally....

1. A UP train (sporting CSX power) coming from Davidson Yard (yeah, I know, Centennial or Lancaster), takes the south to west leg of the wye at the Tower. This train will make the connection at Ney Yard to the Midlothian Sub to head to central and south Texas. UP uses the Midlothian sub in a directional manner - southbound. The UP Ft. Worth Sub through Waco is primarily the northbound route for south or central Texas trains, but there are some coal and manifest trains that move "against the current". Note in the background, while this train is turning west to south, a BNSF train is turning to the north off UP's Dallas Sub (towards BNSF's Ft. Worth Sub).

2. Things getting a little busy at the tower. A northbound yard transfer snakes around another northbound as it heads to the Duncan Sub (which also connects at Tower 55), and past two waiting southbounds. The second northbound is making the move from UP's Ft. Worth Sub to their Dallas Sub, turning east at the tower.

3. And then all hell breaks loose. A UP northbound waits on track 1 while a train from Davidson crosses over to the south to head towards the Midlothian on track 2. At the same time, a westbound on the Dallas Sub heads for Davidson. Simultaneously, a train from Davidson is turning to the north on the northwest leg of the wye. There are two more southbound trains waiting for traffic to clear so they can have their shot at the junction.

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for following along - lots of fun to hang around when there's this much action.









Date: 12/08/08 16:57
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: California_railfan

This tower used to be one of the absolute best places to railfan!

Back in 90's I would often go to the tower on Sundays and watch the parade of trains roll by the tower with my grandfather "Dutch" Shultz. We would usually park and sit in the North West quadrant and spend the whole day there with quite a few other regulars. At one point they started an official, un-official group called the T55TS&BS Society. This was the very first place where I was introduced to watching and photographing trains! At that time there was the SP, UP, BN, and SF and remnants of other roads could still be found around the area. It was not unusual for us to see 20 to 35 trains move through there in an 8 hour period.

Now that they have stopped people from being in the area, and the highways are towering above casting shadows on the diamonds, I just don't see it as a fun place to be or watch trains.

Unfortunately, I have since lost the photos from those days, but the memories will last a life time.

I miss those days! Thanks for bringing back the memories!

Ryan Dadgari
Fort Worth, TX
Dadgari Photography



Date: 12/08/08 17:01
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: WrongWayMurphy

That last shot makes me just want to slam down another Lone Star Longneck



Date: 12/09/08 01:00
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: ats90mph

Does anyone else see something wrong with pic 8, as a train is in the plant and crossing the diamond, they are still getting a lunar (restricting). I mean that's good enough, but I would think an "A" "STOP" would be in order.

EDIT:

Never mind I see a stop pot signal a little further down.



Date: 12/09/08 13:09
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Wildebeest

> EDIT:
>
> Never mind I see a stop pot signal a little
> further down.

And there's a switch lined for the diverging route before you reach the crossing.

D F W



Date: 12/09/08 15:46
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: abandoned_track

This is a great set of photos. Good job explaining all the movements. I did a Train Dispatcher simulation for the Fort Worth area circa 2006. It's a monster simulation to run with train dying and conflicting movements.

A recommended view from the elusive "4th side": From E. Lancaster you can turn right on Cypress and it goes to the tracks. From there you can see the westbound signals. I strongly recommend dressing like a bum, going with another man, looking like you're poor, and hiding all valuables. There's a large homeless shelter on Cypress street.


I've always tried to figure out why UP put two, double-headed, 4-aspect signals caddy-cornered (sp?) from each other at the main diamond. It seems obvious that the red-red signal is guarding the diamond for Main 3. But what about the 2 headed signal for Main 2? It's on the opposite side of the diamond. There is not a matching set of signals for westbound trains.


alan



Date: 12/09/08 16:35
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: Railfool03

abandoned_track Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A recommended view from the elusive "4th side":
> From E. Lancaster you can turn right on Cypress
> and it goes to the tracks. From there you can see
> the westbound signals. I strongly recommend
> dressing like a bum, going with another man,
> looking like you're poor, and hiding all
> valuables. There's a large homeless shelter on
> Cypress street.
>
Alan, you are correct about Cypress - but I don't want a picture from that angle THAT bad! That is not a good neighborhood - especially if you are carrying a camera or a scanner and are driving anything with a model year later than say 1988 <lol>.

>
> I've always tried to figure out why UP put two,
> double-headed, 4-aspect signals caddy-cornered
> (sp?) from each other at the main diamond. It
> seems obvious that the red-red signal is guarding
> the diamond for Main 3. But what about the 2
> headed signal for Main 2? It's on the opposite
> side of the diamond. There is not a matching set
> of signals for westbound trains.
>
I can only supposition here, but there is a double crossover (East Tower 55) just beyond where the northeast leg of the wye joins the Dallas Sub. I wonder if the double headed signal displays route info (ie, diverging route through the crossovers)? Seems kinda strange, because if you got a double red, you could actually foul Tower 55 while waiting for the signal. Maybe you have to have verbal permission to cross the diamonds and approach those signals (with all the "UP Terminal Dispatcher" conversations, this isn't out of the question!), so there is no real chance to be allowed over the diamonds unless a route is already set up.

By the way, thanks for the comments on the photos! The dispatch sim you did - for a work project or were you just punishing yourself during periods you were bored?



Date: 12/09/08 19:34
Re: 3/4 of Tower 55
Author: abandoned_track

Railfool03 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> abandoned_track Wrote:
> Alan, you are correct about Cypress - but I don't
> want a picture from that angle THAT bad!

I don't blame you. I work in that neighborhood often.



> I wonder if the double headed signal displays route
> info (ie, diverging route through the crossovers)?
> Seems kinda strange, because if you got a double

I've wondered that too. Plus there's the exit for the Everman Spur (old IGN line to Waco).
However UP signal rules have no need for a lunar on the top head. Only the bottom. Unless maybe lunar-dark is used for a certain routing and yellow-lunar is used for something different.


>
> By the way, thanks for the comments on the photos!
> The dispatch sim you did - for a work project or
> were you just punishing yourself during periods
> you were bored?

I'm just that obsessed with FW Terminal operations :) I love the challenge of having to watch Tower 55, Tower 60, and Saginaw at the same time.



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