Signal Maintenance on the
Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad
Part 1: Up To August
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Click on thumbnails for larger images
The first step in an Electrocode installation is setting the steel 4' x 4' x 4' foundation for the case. Next the case (large silvery object in this picture) is mounted on the foundation. Then, the power company connects 110V electric service at a nearby meter. Here Rick Perry (right) and Tom Hunt prepare to connect the case to the commercial power supply.
|With power connected to the case, Rick goes to work connecting the
batteries to the charger. The batteries (barely visible on the floor)
are charged as long as there is 110v current but take over to power the
circuitry and lights in a power failure. That's the battery charger
to the right of Rick's helmet. The Electrocode boards are in the
oblong rack above the charger.
Note the steel legs and platform under the case. Those legs go 4' into the ground.
|This pair of semaphores have only days left in their life on the
Siskiyou Line. Rick and his hi-rail pose between them with the south
portal of Tunnel 8 in the background. These blades are in one of
the most inaccessible (and beautiful) sections of CORP's line and there
is no power nearby to supply an electrocode installation. Therefore
the new signals will be further south of this location.
Note: Matt Robbins of Northwest Rails hiked down to this location photograph the passing of Amtrak's Talgo.
|In any location where a new Electrocode does not replace a semaphore, gaps in the rails must be cut and fitted with insulated joints. Here a drilling machine is boring holes in the rail for the bolts that will hold the joint bars. The blue bars in the lower left corner are the insulators. Prior to this drilling operation, the rail had been cut with an abrasive disk attached to a chain saw motor.|
|This is the newly completed insulated joint. The blue bars and light gray spacer barely visible between the clamps prevent electricity from passing between the rails. However, since this insulated joint will prevent the existing semaphores from showing a clear indication, a bond wire must be attached between the two rails until the Electrocode installations are cut over. Signal Maintainer Tim Marshall has set the stranded copper bond wire between the clamps.|
|A small thermite charge is place in cups in each clamp and, as shown here, lit off. In two seconds this flashy little reaction has produced a button of liquid metal which flows through the bottom of the clamp and welds the bond wire to the rail. Once the Electrocode installations are cut in this bond wire will be cut. Any unneeded insulated joints at old semaphore sites will then be bonded like this joint has been. Incidentally, this bonding process must be used at each rail joint where electrical continuity must be maintained.|
|Not all signals between Hugo and Glendale are semaphores. These Tri Color lights were installed on Semaphore bases with shortened masts by the Southern Pacific in the early 90's. These particular signals will come out when the Electrocodes are fired up, but the heads will be used elsewhere on the system.|
|Rick and Tom have arrived in their hi-rails to dig in the track wires for the new installation at the north end of the Hugo siding. The masts and signal heads will soon be mounted on the Electrocode case and these blades will become history.|
|New wires must be run between the new E-code cases and the rails. These four wires (one to each side of the insulated joint for each rail) are laid in trenches and spliced to the wires going into the case in white PVC pipes sticking out of the ground. Here Rick is stuffing the splices into the case. The wires to the rail run off to the left of his foot.|
|Work continuted on the installation with the final case pictured above receiving 110V wiring. Every thing is ready for the masts to be installed tomorrow, Friday.|
||Pictures of mounting the masts continue in Part 2.|
All photos and descriptions Copyright 1999 by Larry Tuttle
Special Thanks to Rick Perry, Rich Gollen, Tom Hunt, Tim Marshall and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad
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This consist built on August 17, 1999
And last switched on December 3, 2000