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Western Railroad Discussion > The dead signals of the Second District


Date: 07/07/19 16:42
The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

Santa Fe's Los Angeles Division Second District, later the Pasadena Subdivision, was sold to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority in 1992 and severed as a through route in 1994.  Today the Metro Gold Line light rail uses the right of way from LA to Azusa with plans to extend east to Montclair.  Metrolink's locomotive-hauled, heavy rail San Bernardino Line uses the upgraded right-of-way between San Berdoo and Pomona.  The stretch between Pomona and Irwindale is, for now, used only by a BNSF local job that switches the remaining industries along the way, including a Miller brewery at the current end-of-track in Irwindale.  Until recently, this bit had been something of a time-capsule signal-wise, with the old US&S H5 searchlights and R2 three-lamp colorlights remaining in place.  Some recent TO threads reported that the old signals were on short time, about to be replaced by more modern colorlights:

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4764555
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4775324
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4781514,4781523#4781523
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?4,4804250

Ever the procrastinator, I hadn't bothered to get out and survey the remaining hardware until this weekend.  I was almost too late.  The photos below don’t show every old signal, but are a representative sample of the ones that were easier to get to.

1) At the west end of the abandoned and disconnected Glendora, CA siding, the old colorlight signals were turned to the side and the new ones were lit up and in service.

2) The two-story US&S base and the severed stump of a previous ladder in the concrete foundation of former signal 1141 are mute testimony that this “old” colorlight wasn’t the first signal here, either.  Most likely it started out as a Style S upper quadrant semaphore with the mechanism in that base.  When the time came for replacement, the R2 head would have been grafted on halfway up the mast and semaphore decapitated…no doubt to the great consternation of railfans of the day.
 
3) Eastbound signal 1142 has a third anachronistic feature besides its huge cast-iron colorlight head and semaphore-legacy base: a servicing platform with no railings.  Compare to its westbound counterpart in the first photo, which has a more typical Santa Fe "basket" at the top of the ladder.  I’ve seen other examples of signals with just a simple platform below the head in steam-era photos on the Santa Fe in Southern California, but I’m surprised one lasted this long.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/19 17:19 by Evan_Werkema.








Date: 07/07/19 16:44
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

4) At the east end of Glendora, the cantilever that once extended across the end of the siding to place its signal head to the right of the main line no longer has an active siding and soon won’t have a head.  No new intermediate signal has been installed here.
 
5) The only old signal I found that appeared to still be in service was the “four aces,” westbound signal 1111 at Lone Hill Ave. near the boundary between Glendora and San Dimas.  With that oversized R2 head, the whole assembly looks a bit top-heavy, and close examination showed it was indeed leaning forward a degree or two.
 
6) Also with a bit of a lean was former signal 1101, part of a staggered (staggering?) pair of H5 searchlight intermediates near Eucla Ave. on the west side of San Dimas, CA.  Both are now staring off into the wilderness, replaced by a Janus-faced colorlight. 
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/19 17:10 by Evan_Werkema.








Date: 07/07/19 16:46
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

7) Like most of the signals along this stretch, the eastbound intermediate once known as 1092 in La Verne, CA has screens protecting its Fresnel lenses from all but the most determined rock-throwers.
 
8) The old westbound intermediate 1081 at La Verne frames its modern replacement, a product of L&W Industries. 
 
http://www.lwind.com/color_light_signal_heads_incandescent_and_led.html
 
 
9) If H5 searchlight 1061 ever yearned to get a better look at the boxcars spotted at Warehouse Specialists Inc. near the Pomona, CA Metrolink station, it has its chance now.  If only they hadn’t turned off its power!
 
Thanks for looking.
 








Date: 07/07/19 17:17
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: halfmoonharold

The "screens" you mentioned may be phan-kill devices to prevent sun reflection from causing phantom aspects.



Date: 07/07/19 17:46
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

halfmoonharold Wrote:

> The "screens" you mentioned may be phan-kill
> devices to prevent sun reflection from causing
> phantom aspects.

Could be, but I was under the impression that colorlights didn't have reflectors behind the lamps for just this reason:

http://www.trainweb.org/wnyrhs/us&sr2.htm

Here's a closer look at the screens, which look to be thin wire mesh rather than the deeper honeycomb I'd expect from a phankill (see http://www.trainweb.org/signals/usssls_phan.htm ).  As you can see from the shadows on the shield, they don't do a particularly good job of blocking the sun even at a very oblique angle:
 




Date: 07/07/19 18:16
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: PasadenaSub

Funny I just got pictures of those signals at the west end of the Glendora siding a few days ago when visiting my Dad.

Thanks Evan for the coverage, and getting the word out about these endangered signals.

Rich



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/07/19 18:17 by PasadenaSub.



Date: 07/07/19 20:04
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: mundo

You struck again Evan.



Date: 07/07/19 20:37
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: ln844south

Seen those sceens before. Rock guards to help keep rock throwing kids of all ages from breaking the lens.

Steve Panzik
Chiloquin, Or



Date: 07/08/19 01:36
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

PasadenaSub Wrote:

> Funny I just got pictures of those signals at the
> west end of the Glendora siding a few days ago
> when visiting my Dad.

Were the old signals still in service then?



Date: 07/08/19 04:16
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the pics...



Date: 07/08/19 07:13
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: PasadenaSub

No, I think the heads have been turned since at least June 28 at that location - when I first saw the new signal up close.

I did notice the flashing yellow indication on the new signal there, having to time it to get it to show up in my pictures.

Rich


Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> PasadenaSub Wrote:
>
> > Funny I just got pictures of those signals at
> the
> > west end of the Glendora siding a few days ago
> > when visiting my Dad.
>
> Were the old signals still in service then?



Date: 07/08/19 10:52
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: phthithu

Great pictures. Thanks for sharing and documenting. 

Here's a picture of a signal on the NWP at Burdell weigh-in-motion scale siding. One of the lenses has a screen other seems to have lost it. Ironically the one with the screen also seems to have lost it's lens. http://nwprr.net/photo/south-switch-burdell-dwarf-signal?context=user 



Date: 07/08/19 15:57
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: BCHellman

The original installation between North Pomona and Arcadia was completed in 1916. The 17 miles of track had 36, three-position, Style-S, A.C. powered system. Alternate current powered systems and signals,  on non-electrified territory, and especially semaphores, was an oddity, but the Santa Fe Coast Lines (Grand Division) seems to have embraced the A.C. philosophy. I have no information when the Santa Fe replaced the semaphores with color lights, but photographic evidence seems to point before the 50s.  Los Angeles Division No. 50, July 22, 1917, shows North Pomona as Mile 106.7

The stretch between North Pomona and San Bernardino as completed in 1917 and featured 40 3-position A.C. Style-S.

When Signal 1141 was semaphore equipped, it did not have a platform whatsoever. When the Santa Fe converted it to color light and installed a platform cage from which the mainatiner could perform maintenance, the platform cage required the old ladder to be removed (evidence in the field-mixed base) and a new one positioned for the platform cage. But 1142 had only a platform installed, and they were able to use the old ladder. An interesting contrast. Also, it's not evident in the phot of cantilever 1132, but the vertical superstructure was cemented in place. Later cantilever installations had lag bolts cemented into the base and the cantilver was secured to the lag bolts with heavy nuts. 

Signal 111, 1101, 1081, and 1061 are not original installations.  



Date: 07/08/19 20:46
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: CPRR

I would guess that there is no way the searchlight could be donated to a museum 



Date: 07/08/19 22:06
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: WP805A

Like the San Dimas CA PRS museum would be nice .

Dave Dodds
San Dimas, CA



Date: 07/08/19 22:52
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Evan_Werkema

BCHellman Wrote:

> The original installation between North Pomona and
> Arcadia was completed in 1916. The 17 miles of
> track had 36, three-position, Style-S, A.C.
> powered system.

Thanks for the lowdown on the orignal signaling.  I hunted through my lobrary for photos of semaphores along this bit, but the only thing I came up with was the westbound home signal at Arcadia Tower, which doesn't even appear to be a US&S product, let alone a Style S:

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,3958694
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,3897359,3897844#3897844

> Also, it's not
> evident in the phot of cantilever 1132, but the
> vertical superstructure was cemented in place.
> Later cantilever installations had lag bolts
> cemented into the base and the cantilver was
> secured to the lag bolts with heavy nuts. 

There's another concrete foundation just to the west of the cantilever's foundation.  Did the cantilever replace something else, or was this just a relay box or somesuch?

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,3198684,3198685#3198685

Also, am I correct in assuming that the box below the R2 head on the cantilever is another leftover Style-S motor box?  I don't recall seeing other cantilevered colorlights on Santa Fe set up that way.

> Signal 111, 1101, 1081, and 1061 are not original
> installations.  

...meaning they didn't replace semaphores at the same locations?



Date: 07/09/19 17:13
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: BCHellman

Evan_Werkema Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The only thing I
> came up with was the westbound home signal at
> Arcadia Tower, which doesn't even appear to be a
> US&S product, let alone a Style S:
>
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11
> ,3958694
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11
> ,3897359,3897844#3897844

That's because it's a GRS interlock and a top-post GRS 2A signal.

We know the Santa Fe as primarily a US&S railroad, but not its non-mechanical interlocks, which were exclusively GRS (at least I have not encountered a counter example). I don't have the reasoning behind this, except that US&S specialized in pneumatic interlocking and GRS in electro-mechanical (think the pistol-grip). For example, West Yard Tower in San Bernardino, Stockton Tower, Dagget Tower and Mission Tower were all GRS installations. Most of the time the signals were US&S, but the switch machines and the interlock were GRS (though sometimes US&S switch machines were substituted). In the case of rebuilt Mission Tower, it was GRS throughout, including the signals, both searchlights and semaphores. 

A discussion a couple days ago on the Steam Board showed a ATSF freight on the Oakland District about to cross the SP and Key. The Santa Fe interlock was a GRS machine installed in 1915.

The Arcadia interlock protecting the crossing of the PE was installed in 1918.  


> There's another concrete foundation just to the
> west of the cantilever's foundation.  Did the
> cantilever replace something else, or was this
> just a relay box or somesuch?
>
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,
> 3198684,3198685#3198685

The cantilever is definitely original. The additional foundation must have been for a relay cabinet.

> Also, am I correct in assuming that the box below
> the R2 head on the cantilever is another leftover
> Style-S motor box?  I don't recall seeing other
> cantilevered colorlights on Santa Fe set up that
> way.

Yes. It housed the Style-S mechanism just like the ones on the 4th District of the Valley Division. Of course when the ATSF converted the cantilever signals to searchlights, they removed the entire signal altogether (see pic). I rode No. 4 from LAUPT to San Bernardino in a dome before the conversion to Superliners; unfortunately vision was impaired due to poor visibility and it was dark, and a long time ago, so I don't remember if others had this modification. 
>
> > Signal 111, 1101, 1081, and 1061 are not
> original
> > installations.  
>
> ...meaning they didn't replace semaphores at the
> same locations?

They may have been a semaphore, but it's an entirely different signal (no reuse). My guess they were re-spacing replacements. 




Date: 07/12/19 01:27
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: Wildebeest

BCHellman wrote:
> We know the Santa Fe as primarily a US&S railroad,
> but not its non-mechanical interlocks, which were
> exclusively GRS (at least I have not encountered a
> counter example). I don't have the reasoning
> behind this, except that US&S specialized in
> pneumatic interlocking and GRS in
> electro-mechanical (think the pistol-grip). For
> example, West Yard Tower in San Bernardino,
> Stockton Tower, Dagget Tower and Mission Tower
> were all GRS installations. Most of the time the
> signals were US&S, but the switch machines and the
> interlock were GRS (though sometimes US&S switch
> machines were substituted). In the case of rebuilt
> Mission Tower, it was GRS throughout, including
> the signals, both searchlights and semaphores. 

In the '60s, be\fopre the new yard was bilt, East Barstow and West Barstow towers had US&S "flip lever" machines.  And Colton Tower had a US&S code (CTC) machine installed to work the signals at the single track bridge over the Santa Ana river, which was later expanded to cover the crossing when the mechanical plant was finally removed.  I suspect the US&S electric "flip lever" machines were installed later than the GRS Model 2 pistol grip machnes.

I'll attach a couple of pix.  The first one, with second-trick operator Frank Eckler, shows the installation before the Armstrong part of the plant was removed.  The color shot was taken later, around 1968.  Those are the feet of antique dolls along the top of the machine.  Frank restored them for doll collectors in his spare time.  One evening, I worked the levers on the US&S machine while Frank spray-painted doll parts with a hand-pump insect sprayer.  The last picture shows Frank OSing trains at Colton Tower not long before it was closed.

D F W








Date: 07/13/19 20:02
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: SP2541

> The last
> picture shows Frank OSing trains at Colton Tower
> not long before it was closed.


Frank was a wonderful person. Thank you for sharing those images of him.

SP 2541 Wrecked & Retired



Date: 07/16/19 08:45
Re: The dead signals of the Second District
Author: SilverPeakRail

Take note of the small "hatch" at the top of the signal case ends in some of the photos.  That is the indication that the case formerly housed a Style S Semaphore motor.  There, terminal strips for the contacts on the mechanism are accessed though that hatch, which was opened from inside of the case by the maintainer.



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