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Canadian Railroads > Signal Saturday on the Bedford Sub

Date: 09/05/20 08:54
Signal Saturday on the Bedford Sub
Author: cn6218

Until late 2000, the double track from Windsor Jct. to the VIA station in Halifax was protected by ABS searchlight signals.  The two tracks had been designated eastward (north track) and westward (south), but with the end of timetable operation, trains began running in both directions on both tracks.  In general, freights stayed on the north, and passenger trains were on the south track.  Trains still needed OCS clearances to operate there, but the lights provided an extra layer of safety, if the trains were operating in the correct direction.  I hadn't thought too much about that until one day the RTC gave a proceed clearance to one train to go west on the north track, and then a few minutes later gave a work clearance to another, before the first had canceled.  The ABS signals would keep the second train from running into the rear of the first, even though they both had permission to be there.

At mile 6.69 there was a crossover that permitted eastbound freights on the south track to enter Rockingham Yard, by briefly crossing over to the north track and then entering the yard at what is known as the "Birch Cove Switch" (all hand operated).  I remember the lower head being added to signal 68 in the '70s.  Once the crossover switches were lined, the signal would show red-over-yellow, and the train would enter the yard.  That is a restricting signal, and no different than a single red light with the "R" plate, so it seems redundant now.  Maybe the rules were different then.

By the '90s, freights were almost always on just the north track, and the crossover was very rarely used (note the rusty rails).  In the images below, taken October 25, 2000, 137 is making up their train in Rockingham, and pulling past the unused crossover.  They would have entered the north track at mile 6.05 from the G-yard in Rockingham.  In the second frame, the train is making a reverse move to pick up another track in the yard.  In the background of both pictures is Bedford Basin, the A. Murray MacKay Bridge (the "new" bridge), and Tufts Cove power plant in Dartmouth.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/20 08:55 by cn6218.

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