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Date: 09/09/19 15:21
Union Station K Tower
Author: PhilBell4022

Hi All,

Can anyone give me some history on K Tower at Union Station in Washington, DC? A friend and I were debating about how old it was, and that made me realize I don't know!

Also, it appears to be PRR's architecture, so I'm gathering their influence had plenty to do with it's appearance. 

Thanks,

Phil



Date: 09/09/19 17:18
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: seaboardc30-7

It opened in 1907, according to Wikipedia.

Why don't you just go on-line and check, like I just did?



Date: 09/09/19 21:02
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: MojaveBill

What a concept!!!!
I suggested to someone that they Google something.
His reply: "What's a Google?"

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 09/10/19 06:08
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: mbrotzman

PhilBell4022 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hi All,
>
> Can anyone give me some history on K Tower at
> Union Station in Washington, DC? A friend and I
> were debating about how old it was, and that made
> me realize I don't know!
>
> Also, it appears to be PRR's architecture, so I'm
> gathering their influence had plenty to do with
> it's appearance. 
>
> Thanks,
>
> Phil

K Tower has more in common with other period terminal towers than any specific PRR style.  The long and thin layout mirrored Boston's Tower 1 and was built to accomidate an early model US&S Electro-Pneumatic interlocking machine.  K Tower was eventually upgraded to a US&S Model 14 electro-pneumatic machine that went along with better-than-restricted-speed modements and all-electric signals.  In the 1970's or 80's it was again upgraded with a relay based interlocking system still in use today.



Date: 09/10/19 06:52
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: PhilBell4022

Thank you for your very informative reply, mbrotzmann.

Phil
PhilBell4022



Date: 09/10/19 09:58
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: GenePoon

MojaveBill Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a concept!!!!
> I suggested to someone that they Google
> something.
> His reply: "What's a Google?"

==========================================

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj4Td6-AL8M



Date: 09/10/19 10:37
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: Cole42

seaboardc30-7 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It opened in 1907, according to Wikipedia.
>
> Why don't you just go on-line and check, like I
> just did?

Maybe because wikipedia is not always 100% accurate, and quite often members of TO have much more insight into specifics than one can find on a general internet search.



Date: 09/10/19 13:02
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: chakk

MojaveBill Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a concept!!!!
> I suggested to someone that they Google
> something.
> His reply: "What's a Google?"

Just respond, "Google is your friend."



Date: 09/10/19 15:02
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: PhilBell4022

Here are a couple of really good responses I might use:

"I pay and come here because you would think that people who know about railroads and like to talk about them can provide more detailed and accurate information that what you find on the Encyclopedia Britannica of today."

or

"Perhaps you have no clue and simply want to sound like you have one!"MojaveBill Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a concept!!!!
> I suggested to someone that they Google
> something.
> His reply: "What's a Google?"

Just respond, "Google is your friend."



Date: 09/10/19 15:07
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: Lackawanna484

Did the track plant around K tower see major changes in the 1960s or early 1970s?

I vaguely recall the whole sale train-offs of the era caused a lot of changes.



Date: 09/10/19 17:39
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: ProAmtrak

Is K Tower still in operation?



Date: 09/10/19 21:05
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: ironmtn

chakk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> MojaveBill Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > What a concept!!!!
> > I suggested to someone that they Google
> > something.
> > His reply: "What's a Google?"
>
> Just respond, "Google is your friend."

A response which I find obnoxious whenever I see it or hear it, on this board or elsewhere. The purpose of this board is, in part, to be a place to ask questions of those more knowledgeable about railroading. Some questions one may have might indeed be answerable from online sources. Others may not be. Yes, information of Tower K may be available online. But on its face, the question is sufficiently uncommon and of a specialist nature (and in fact pretty arcane, in the big picture of things) that asking about it on this board seems to me to be perfectly reasonable, appropriate, and in order.

And look what the question brought forth? Some very interesting information about the interlocking plant and its history, and the different types of technologies and interlocking machines that were utilized through the years. Available for us all to read, as well as a nice amplification of information in relation to the original base response. And even if this info is available elsewhere, none of us had to go looking for it,  It was right here, as a result of the asking of the original question. If the question had never been asked, that information probably would not have been posted. That kind of added and expanded information is really what makes this board so great. So many threads on TO end up having additional or related content that adds so much to the original query or presentation.

Large corporations spend a lot of time and money training their people to additively develop new information and understanding by keying off ideas and information presented in meetings or through other discussions and communications. The value add that can develop may ultimately be very important. But apparently, we're not supposed to do that here on TO.

As for me, I have more than 20 years in secondary education, research librarianship, and high-level corporate systems implementation and IT training work, plus a goodly stint as a mid-level manager, all roles that were successfully done. Questions were never "illegal" in my high school classes, in my library, nor in my corporate training sessions, or with my direct reports. Never. I cannot even conceive of ever saying to one of my students, my researchers, my trainees, or my employees, in effect, "Don't bother me with that question. Remember, Google is your friend." Or in pre-Google times, the functional equivalent, such as, "the encyclopedia is your friend"

Your results may vary, of course. For me, that's my 99 cents worth. Stated with feeling. No wait....stated with passion.

MC



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/19 21:35 by ironmtn.



Date: 09/11/19 07:16
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: mbrotzman

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Did the track plant around K tower see major
> changes in the 1960s or early 1970s?
>
> I vaguely recall the whole sale train-offs of the
> era caused a lot of changes.

The tower is still in service and the terminal interlocking area was not substantially changed in the 60's or 70's.  The signal bridges are still in the same locations they were before that time along with most of the platforms (note the structure of the canopies).  Changing the layout would come with a complete rebuild of the terminal platforms in the same manner as Boston South Station.  



Date: 09/11/19 08:34
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: Dcmcrider

When were tracks 1-6 removed? I gather it was sometime prior to the construction of Metro's Red Line. The "B&O side" of the terminal underwent substantive changes, and Metro's Brentwood facility claimed the B&O's coach yard. I would expect there were some changes in the throat layout at the same time.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 09/12/19 04:47
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: puddlejumper

There were some track layout changes when the Metro was built, someone else will have to give specifics.

Union Station was run by Washington Terminal Company, owned by PRR and B&O. B&O spec'd out the signal system, PRR spec'd the track infrastructure. WT is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Amtrak. Get your photos of K Tower. The whole area is scheduled to be built over. Amtrak is selling air rights, K Tower is slated to be saved but I do not know if it will be moved or if it will stay where it is. My understanding is that most train movement is now controlled from the Admin building on 2nd St. NE.

Corrections or additional info welcomed.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/12/19 07:50
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: Lackawanna484

Dcmcrider Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When were tracks 1-6 removed? I gather it was
> sometime prior to the construction of Metro's Red
> Line. The "B&O side" of the terminal underwent
> substantive changes, and Metro's Brentwood
> facility claimed the B&O's coach yard. I would
> expect there were some changes in the throat
> layout at the same time.

That is along the lines of what I was thinking.

The Pennsy Triumph book may have substantive maps on the changes, I'll look later.



Date: 09/12/19 08:36
Re: Union Station K Tower
Author: Dcmcrider

puddlejumper Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The whole area is scheduled to be built over.
> Amtrak is selling air rights, K Tower is slated to
> be saved but I do not know if it will be moved or
> if it will stay where it is. 

Alas, those air rights are not Amtrak's to sell. The non-rail assets of the Washington Terminal Co. were transferred to the federal government in the 1980s and 90s.

If you really want to get into the weeds, this document explains the history of the air rights development above the platforms (essentially everything south of K St not currently covered by the parking garage). Akridge currently owns the property, but things are moving pretty slowly.

https://planning.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/op/publication/attachments/WARD6%20ZC%20Case%2009-21.pdf
 

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/19 09:02 by Dcmcrider.



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