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PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010

Last June I was blessed with a surprise work related trip to Pittsburgh to attend the 2009 Trusted Infrastructure Workshoppe at Carnegie Mellon University. With an entire week at my disposal and no friend in tow I was able to roam around the steel city taking pictures of some of the sites I had missed on my two prior visits.

Specifically I was able to take some pictures at Laughlin Junction which was where the old B&O line to the downtown Pittsburgh station branched off of the overland main line to Chicago. This was rebuilt in the early 1980's to support the PATrain commuter service and for a while supported the only B&O CPL with a full central target and all 6 orbitals. Later I was able to make a walking circuit of the former PRR Pennsylvania Station complex in downtown Pittsburgh.

Anyway, enough with the jibber jabber. You can view the entire set of photos by clocking here and I would encourage you to do so.

I won't bother you all with another slew of photos from EAST SCHENLEY, but the grid patterned building in the background of this pic of the westbound CPL bracket signal shows CMU's Collaborative Innovation Center where my workshoppe was hosted. As you can see it was railfan adjacent.



Laughlin Junction is located on the banks of the Monongahela River at the point where the former CSX P&W sub cuts inland from the line to the old downtown station. Here I am standing in the former right of way of the downtown line which has since been converted into a parking lot. Behind me the line is now a popular rail trail used by cycle commuters to get downtown.



Visible through the trees is the Laughlin Jct bracket signal that used to support the complete CPL.



At this point is might be worthwhile to link to a before and after shot of Laughlin Jct showing the old single track PATrain line downtown and the complete B&O CPL on the bracket mast. Laughlin Jct was located adjacent to GLENNWOOD interlocking which contained a slow speed route. This and a connection to unsignaled track at Laughlin Jct required the track 2 signal on the eastbound to be able to display both the Restricting \ and the Medium Approach Slow, which generally are the two hardest bits a CPL can collect to get complete status.

When GLENNWOOD tower was closed in 2005 the interlocking it controlled went with it as traffic in and out of Glennwood yard had long ago ceased justifying the need for any sort of power operated signaling. This then made all of the extra orbitals at LAUGHLIN JCT unnecessary and they were removed. This change coincided with CSX's lease of the P&W Sub to the Allegheny Valley Railroad, which ripped out all of the signaling between Pittsburgh and New Castle. This small segment remained signaled for the benefit of Amtrak's Capitol Limted which makes use of track 1 when leaving and entering Pittsburgh.

I was extremely fortunate to catch an AVR movement through Laughlin Jct coming west out of the Glennwood Yard lead. Here we see AVR #2007 (a GP7 or GP9) passing me by on #2 track.



There were more engines than cars today as #2005 followed #2007 pulling a single empty flatcar around the curve that leads into the valley that cuts across the Pittsburgh peninsula.



As the signals are approach lit the passing train gave me the opportunity to get a picture of the signals displaying twin Stop indications.



While the orbitals may have been removed from the bracket signals, CSX has not been exactly fastidious in removing all of the surplus signaling kit from the interlocking. Here amongst Trees of Heaven we find a ghost signal governing movements off of the long removed track to downtown Pittsburgh.



This gave me a chance to get up close and personal with some CPL orbitals.



The colored CPL lenses look might brighter when not covered by the outer focusing lenses.


Watch out for stingy things!



Relay hut at Laughlin Jnuction. The pole line is in use to the east, but CTC control for this and the adjacent interlockings are delivered via satellite link.



Laughlin Junction was exactly 325 miles from the B&O Railroad museum in Baltimore.



The Junction used to support a full crossover, but this was reduced to a trailing crossover before that too was removed.



This leaves only one interlocking appliance in service at Laughlin Junction, a single switch between #2 track and the Glennwood Yard lead. The old GRS point machine has been replaced by a new US&S M3, but the electrical junction box was left intact.



Of course that switch does move much as what used to be #2 track is now the Glennwood Running track and as you can see by the rust that it doesn't see much use.



Probably the coolest thing left at Laughlin Junction is a "new style" B&O CPL gantry installed in the 1980's probably assuming that the PATrain had a long life ahead of it (it died in 1989).



The new style gantry is just like the old ones, only much more OSHA compliant.



Taking the walk down the Glennwood Yard lead I found the last CPL hiding out in front of a trestle.



I am not sure what all these tracks are used for as most of the industry that used to inhabit the area has somehow magically turned into empty fields.



Moving from B&O to PRR I head downtown to check out the old Pennsylvania Station complex. The original 1900's headhouse has been turned into into Condos, but at least it's been preserved.



The barrel value over the entryway is hella cool.



Each of the supports represents one of of foundational cities of the PRR.



Even the paving under the dome was classy. And yes that is the disused Penn Station light rail platform in the background.



The 1900 arch trainshed was replaced in the 1950's by a more austere structure. This in turn was defaced when I-579 was cut through part of it.



The PRR Keystone logo was still shining bright on the east end of the new station.





Even the platform spaces still contain hints of that 1950's styling.



After walking down along the Chineese Wall I was treated to a mixed freight train on the Pittsburgh Line headed by NS SD60 #6702.



I continued my trek along the rear of some commercial buildings to CP-EAST PITT where the freight train was crossing over.



CP-EAST PITT is known for its PRR position light mast signal placed in the middle of a parking lot. EAST PITT is the end of Cab Signal territory on the Pittsburgh Line and due to the Slow Sleed curve at what used to be CP-WEST PITT, the signals at EAST PITT can give at best Approach Medium for movements on Track 2 and Approach Slow on track 1.





While hanging out at CP-EAST PITT a high rail truck trundled by doing some work in the area.



The Pittsburgh area was re-signaled in the early 1980's and they chose to use the then new Safetran model position lights. These differ from the currenty offered models have having a straight instead of curved mounting bracket. I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the first major purchases of Safetran PL equipment, which completely displaced US&S from the market.



CP-PITT is in service on track 1 only and marks the east end of what is left of the Penn Station complex. It allows trains to reach the three stub station tracks (although until recently one of those tracks was a short controlled siding).



The other cool feature of CP-PITT is this cool tubular steel cantilever mast which was popular in the Penn Central and early Conrail era.





View looking down the Pennsylvanian's storage track from its origin at CP-PITT. The outside stub track is used by a variety of private cars and lite helper sets.



PITT tower contained the largest US&S Model 14 machines ever installed with something around 340 levers. Built in 1953 it was also one of the large large electro-mechanical interlocking machines installed. Closed in the 1980 re-signaling the tower survives as a Port Authority police sub-station. Unfortunately I was trying to reach the sidewalk in front of the tower by having to travel a short distance on the side of the Busway and inevitably some busy body stopped to give me a hard time and of course a cop at PITT tower came over and ran my ID. Nobody said anything about taking pictures who which was a plus, but I decided it was probably best to not linger so these were the best photo I could get of the tower.





The best pic of the set belongs to this sunset photo of CMU's Hamerschlag Hall with steam from the Pitt steam plant in the foreground.



Ok, a friend is bugging me to go kick a soccer ball around so I'll end things here. Please check out the full gallery there are a lot of good photos that didn't get posted.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by George Foelschow on Sat Jun 5 15:49:38 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Excellent. I especially enjoyed the photos of the Pennsylvania station complex.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sat Jun 5 15:53:54 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Very nice photo essay and narrative!! :-)

With all your focuses on signals, thinking you are best suited as a signal mainatiner!! :-D

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(G00GLE)

Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH


(940987)

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by arnine on Sat Jun 5 16:16:11 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Cool pic :)

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by monorail on Sat Jun 5 16:27:45 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

great photos!!!

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by (3) Livonia Ave. Local on Sat Jun 5 17:44:11 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Fantastic photos! I really enjoyed them.

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(941074)

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by ebtmikado on Sat Jun 5 22:07:17 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Nice photos. Thanks.

Lee




squeak

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(941091)

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Mr Mabstoa on Sat Jun 5 23:36:15 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Nice work!
Pittsburgh is really deserted on weekends, like a ghost town.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Jersey Mike on Sun Jun 6 00:30:02 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Mr Mabstoa on Sat Jun 5 23:36:15 2010.

Some parts were ok. Like near CMU and Pitt.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sun Jun 6 12:39:34 2010, in response to PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sat Jun 5 15:35:35 2010.

Just of note, the Allegheny Valley Railroad GPs are neither GP9s or GP7s, but actually GP11s.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Jersey Mike on Sun Jun 6 14:22:58 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sun Jun 6 12:39:34 2010.

Which are IC rebuilt GP9's.

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(941234)

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sun Jun 6 14:46:46 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Jersey Mike on Sun Jun 6 14:22:58 2010.

In rebuilding they look much better with low noses than high noses.

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Dutchrailnut on Sun Jun 6 14:50:59 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sat Jun 5 15:53:54 2010.

Personaly I believe someone should arrest his dumb ass for trespassing as usual

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sun Jun 6 14:55:15 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Dutchrailnut on Sun Jun 6 14:50:59 2010.

Well, I am not gonna make derogatory comments, but everyone whose anyone knows my feelings on trespassing for photos!! I do admit some of those shots are indeed suspect, and I have recommended in the past he be careful doing that, but people are gonna do their own things, and people end up ALWAYS paying the price!!

I do give respect that it was a well put together photo essay, but you know my policy and feelings on railfans who trespass!!

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Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH

Posted by Jersey Mike on Sun Jun 6 18:27:17 2010, in response to Re: PHOTOS: A WALK AROUND PITTSBURGH, posted by Train Man Paul : Metro-North's Best Conductor FOR ALL 3 LINES!!! on Sat Jun 5 15:53:54 2010.

I'm interested in documenting the twilight of non-solid state technologies because I work with computers in my day job. If I actually had to maintain the things I might lose interest XD Of course in the future signaling hardware won't be maintained so much as swapped out with a new component from China.

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