Posts Tagged ‘railroad interlocking towers’

When BE Tower Was Still Staffed

August 24, 2022

Berea Tower operator Dick Lacy uses binoculars to check for traffic on the Chicago Line east of the tower on Oct. 8, 1994. I was on the property with permission as part of information gathering for an article published later in Trains magazine. It would be my first byline in the magazine. The Tower would close in February 1997.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Magazine Features Tribute to Interlocking Towers

June 23, 2022

The July issue of Railfan & Railroad is devoted to interlocking towers, although none of the towers featured were in Ohio.

The issue contains six stories about towers, including an account telling stories from a towerman as he qualified at various towers on the New York Division of the Erie Lackawanna in the 1960s and 1970s.

Other stories feature towers along the former Baltimore & Ohio in West Virginia, active towers still manned by Chicago commuter train operator Metra, and Niles Tower in California at a crossing of the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific in the 1980s with photography by noted railroad photographer Ted Benson.

For a preview of the issue visit https://railfan.com/this-month/

Nova Tower Two for Tuesday

December 21, 2021

Nova Tower was razed in late 2013, but for many years it was a “must visit” site on any photo expedition on the western end of the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Shown above are a pair of trains that I caught passing the “leaning tower of Nova” on Aug. 7, 2009. I must have spent some time there because both trains are eastbound on Track 2.

It was not my first visit to Nova. I was there a year earlier and perhaps even that had not been my first sighting of Nova Tower. I have a hazy recollection that my first visit to Nova Tower occurred on an outing with Marty Surdyk in which we drove past the tower but no train was coming so we continued on.

At one time Nova tower controlled signals and a crossover here when the rails were the Baltimore & Ohio. Going back even further the Lorain, Ashland & Southern crossed the B&O in Nova at grade.

Nova can still be a good place to photograph trains, but without a former interlocking tower as a photo prop.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

CSX Razes Fostoria’s Jackson Street Tower

December 9, 2021

Jackson Street Tower in Fostoria (Photo courtesy of Fostoria Rail Preservation Society)

The former New York Central tower in Fostoria that once held the nation’s first centralized traffic control panel has been razed.

Trains magazine reported on its website that Jackson Street Tower was demolished as part of a program to remove old and unused structures.

The first CTC operation was installed in 1927 and controlled 40 miles of the former Toledo & Ohio Central eastern branch between Stanley Yard in Toledo and Berwick Most of the line is now abandoned.

The operator in the tower also controlled the CTC panel, which has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

The tower was located on the north side of Fostoria and is not to be confused with F Tower.

Tower Night Set by Marion Railfan Society

October 13, 2021

The Marion Railfan Society will hold its annual tower night meeting on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at Marion Union Station.

Presenters will include Dan Maners and Wally Mattes, who will be making their annual visit to share selections from their vast collection of interlocking tower photos.

Rich Behrendt will be showing tower photographs made by Gary Salzgaber.

If there is time, audience members will be invited to show digital tower images from their own collection.

The tower might is typically the society’s best attended show of the year.

Face masks are strongly encouraged to protect your fellow attendees while in the station. All railfans are welcome at MRS meetings.

Nova Tower 2 for Tuesday

August 3, 2021

Many if not most Northeast Ohio railroad photographers have in their collection somewhere an image of Nova Tower.

Located in its namesake town on the CSX New Castle Subdivision, Nova Tower continued to stand for many years after it was closed. It became a landmark for photographers for its decrepit condition, which included a noticeable lean.

How that tower managed to survive for so long is a mystery except to some supervisor at CSX who finally gave the approval to raze the structure in December 2013.

My hazy memory is that the railroad was amenable for a railroad museum saving if if the museum moved it off the site. That never happened although a tourist railroad operation in the West salvaged some components of Nova Tower to use in recreating an interlocking tower on its property.

Shown above are two views of the tower in its latter years. In the top image, an eastbound auto rack train passes by on June 21, 2010. At that time, Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals were still in use as were block signs. Both have since been removed.

The bottom image was made May 26, 2013, and also features an eastbound. The tower already was looking rough in 2010 and looked rougher three years later.

Note the railfan standing on the tower steps to get a photograph. Given the condition of the tower at that time, that is not something I would have done for fear the steps might collapse.

Top Photo by Robert Farkas

Moving Day in Union City

July 28, 2021

Years of planning and fundraising paid off in Union City, Indiana, on Tuesday when a moving company moved the town’s railroad interlocking tower about a block west to a park.

The brick tower, which closed in 1968, once controlled the crossing of the New York Central”s (Big Four) Cleveland-Indianapolis line with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s (Panhandle) Columbus-Logansport, Indiana, line.

Local interests raised more than $56,000 which was matched by a $50,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Agency.

Union City, located on the Indiana-Ohio border, had faced a late March deadline to commit to moving the tower or else it would be razed by CSX.

The former Pennsy line through Union City is gone, but the former NYC line is today the Indianapolis Line of CSX.

Three city streets were closed so the tower could be move on dollies by Wolfe House & Building Movers.

The tower is slated to be restored with the lower level being used as a visitor center with restrooms, and the upper level returned to its appearance when the tower was still open.

It is located in the southwest corner of Artisan Crossing park and faces the CSX tracks in the same manner that it did before it was moved. The park is adjacent to the CSX Indianapolis Line and across the street from the restored former PRR passenger station.

In the top image, the tower is being wheeled west on Pearl Street. The bottom image shows the tower in its final resting place.

Union City Tower to Move July 27

June 10, 2021

The former railroad interlocking tower in Union City, Indiana, is scheduled to be moved to a new location on July 27.

The tower was saved after a lengthy fundraising drive. It will be moved one block west to a city park.

The city plans to have a festival on the moving day that will include food trucks and other activities.

Now located adjacent to the CSX Indianapolis Line, the tower once guarded the crossing of the former New York Central (Big Four) and Pennsylvania (Panhandle) railroads.

The former Pennsy route from Columbus to Logansport, Indiana, is abandoned through Union City.

Union City, located on the Indiana-Ohio border, still has its PRR passenger station, which has been restored and is now used as an arts center.

Indiana Town Raises Enough Money to Save Tower

March 14, 2021

An Indiana city has reached its funding goal to save a former railroad interlocking tower.

Union City reported on its website that with eight days left in its fundraising campaign it has raised $53,630, which exceeds its goal of $50.

The project involves moving the tower, which currently stands next to the CSX Indianapolis Line.

The tower once controlled a crossing of a the former New York Central (Big Four) line between Cleveland and Indianapolis with a former Pennsylvania Railroad line (Panhandle) between Columbus and Logansport, Indiana.

Having met its initial goal, Union City has now expanded its goal to $60,000.

The money will be used to move the tower 525 feet to a new location a short distance from the tracks in an existing park.

Money raised by the Union City fundraising drive will be matched by the Indiana Housing Community Development Agency.

More information about the fundraising drive and plans to move the tower is available at https://www.patronicity.com/project/save_the_rail_tower

Delray Tower in Detroit is Closing

November 18, 2020

CSX is closing Delray Tower in Detroit and transferring its duties to a dispatcher located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Delray is one of the few remaining manned interlocking towers still operating in the United States, and one of just two remaining in Michigan.

It is thought to be the last tower to use strong-arm levers.

The busiest interlocking in Michigan is located on the south side of Detroit.

Work had been underway for some time to switch its interlocking plant to remote operation and involved CSX, Norfolk Southern and Conrail Shared Assets.

Trains of Canadian Pacific and Canadian National also operate through the interlocking on trackage rights.

The Michigan Department of Transportation had awarded a $10.5 million grant as part of its Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal project to rebuild the Delray interlocking.

The work included removing two diamonds and adding a third track along Conrail’s Detroit Line between CP Delray and CP Waterman.

Delray Tower was build in 1945 by the Pere Marquette Railroad.

The tower at one time saw more than 200 moves a day, but that has since fallen to an average of 32 to 38 a day.

An operator is remains on duty for a few days in case of malfunctions during remote operation.

The tower is expected to eventually be razed.