Signals and 
Signal Maintenance on the 
Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad

Part 1:
Haulers and Crossing Signals


        The signal systems on the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad are a study in contrasts.  Most notable are the Union Signal Type B lower quadrant semaphores installed around 1912 and still in service on much of the line between Ashland and Creswell, Oregon.  Over the past decade, however, these ancient bastions of railroad safety have been falling to more modern color light signals.   And, in 1998, CORP installed two pairs of state of the art Electrocode signals mounted on top of their control bungalow and communicating with other signals not by the traditional pole line, but by pulses of electricity sent through the rails.
        The other set of signal systems, of course, protect the traveling public at grade crossings.  These signals also span a wide range of technology with a handful of "Wig Wags" along less traveled roads to brand new Safetran 3000 equipment controlling numerous flashing lights and gates on multi-lane thoroughfares.
        I was fortunate to be invited to ride with CORP Signal Maintainer Rick Perry as he made his rounds inspecting, testing, cleaning and repairing the various warning and control devices that keep the trains rolling  safely across the Oregon countryside.  Join us as he explains how each system works and just what it does.
 
 
Part 1
Haulers and
Crossing Signals
Part 2
Sempaphores 
and Hi-Railing
Part 3
Semaphore
Replacements
Part 4
Odds & Ends
Wig-wags
Part 5
Hugo to Glendale
Replacement Project
NEW  Three Pines Road Wig-Wag Replacement   NEW

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.
 

Eugene-Roseburg Hauler crossing N. Umpqua I arrived at Rick Perry's office in Roseburg at 7:00 AM on a drizzly Oregon winter morning and we promptly departed in a company hi-rail pickup.  The first order of business for the day would be to repair a crossing gate broken shortly after midnight just north of Winchester.  En route, Rick radioed train 501, the Eugene-Roseburg hauler, for their position.  He had wanted to flag the crossing for them so they would not have to stop. 
Slug on Eugne-Roseburg Hauler CORP's policy is that if a grade crossing safety signal is defective, all trains must stop and have a crew member flag traffic for the train.  But, since the 501 was already at that crossing and we were a few miles south, we stopped at the bridge over the North Umpqua River to inspect the train.  Shortly, the southbound came across the river.  The lead unit was a typical CORP GP-38, but trailing it was a slug made from a former N&W GP-9.
Broken Crossing Arm After the train passes we continue up highway 99 where Rick gets right to work lowering the wounded gate in preparation to replacing the middle section.
Crossing Arm Controls The control box for the crossing gate is left open while Rick works on the arm and I get to check out the motor, controls and contacts that make the installation work.
Inside Equipment & Relay Shed Inside the relay and equipment shed near the grade crossing, Rick shows off the Safetran 3000 gear that detects oncoming trains and directs the controls shown above.  This installation includes "predictors" that detect the presence and speed of a train 1100 feet from the grade crossing and then predict when to start the sequence of flashing lights, clanging bells and lowering gates that protect highway traffic.   Thanks to these devices, both slow and fast moving trains will start the flashing lights and ringing bells about 30 seconds from the grade crossing.  And, if a train should stop short of the grade crossing, the system will time-out and raise the gates automatically.  Also, this equipment includes an event recorder that plays back train speeds and safety equipment activation time before the train reaches the crossing.
Crossing & Signal terminals and relays This particular shed houses controls for both a highway grade crossing and a pair of tri-color signals.  Hence this rack of terminals and relays looks particularly busy.  The entire installation is new and is typical of the equipment CORP and other railroads are installing to protect movements of their trains and the traveling public.
Roseburg-Eugene Hauler and Tri-color signal Our crossing arm repair and equipment inspection completed, train 508, the Roseburg-Eugene hauler approaches our location.  Having swapped cars in Roseburg, this is the same crew and power we saw earlier.  The crew has been on duty since midnight and they stop just short of the crossing (and under Interstate 5) to await their relief.
CORP 4001 and Grade Crossing Equipment Crew change complete, CORP 4001 starts easing towards the grade crossing.  The predictor does its job and the  crossing signals activate a half minute before the lead truck of the locomotive starts across Oregon Highway 99.  Rick Perry positions himself to give the train a roll-by inspection while he checks each of "his" lights on the grade crossing installation.

All Photos Copyright 1999 by Larry Tuttle


Part 1
Haulers and
Crossing Signals
Part 2
Sempaphores 
and Hi-Railing
Part 3
Semaphore
Replacements
Part 4
Odds & Ends
Wig-wags
NEW Part 5 NEW
Hugo to Glendale
Replacement Project

Special thanks to Rick Perry and the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad

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This page first built on February 28, 1999
And last classified on December 2, 2000