Vintage Scene in Alliance

It is July 9, 1972. Penn Central GP 40 No. 3221 is eastbound in Alliance on the Fort Wayne Line.

Much of what you see here is gone although the track layout remains largely the same.

The bridge in the background carries Main Street in Alliance over the maze of former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

The rear of No. 3221 is over the diamond of the Fort Wayne Line and what is today the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern that goes to Bayard and Yellow Creek on the Ohio River. The PRR called it the Mahoning Secondary Track.

One of the more interesting elements of this scene involves the signals on the bridge, which in Pennsy days was known as Bridge 83.23.

As explained by author Robert J. Yanosey in volume 12 of his Pennsylvania Railroad Facilities series, this was not an interlocked crossing although it almost was.

By law, railroads in Ohio were required to place a target signal on mainline tracks at non-interlocked crossings.

The position of the target controlled the signal circuits so that signal indications could not be displayed unless the target was lined correctly for the route of travel.

When the target was in the vertical position, Fort Wayne Line trains could move with the flow of traffic if they received a signal indication of better than stop.

The signal heads mounted on the bridge are for Tracks 2 and 3 while the signal for Track 1 was on the ground.

Just to the right of the nose of the 3221 is the Alliance block station, from which the signals for the crossing of the Cleveland Line and Fort Wayne Line were operated.

It was a block station only for Cleveland Line trains.

Today all of these signals are gone and the Fort Wayne Line here is a single track. Most traffic uses a double-track connection between the Cleveland Line and Fort Wayne Line.

But back in 1972 that connection was a single track

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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