Setting Expectations/Need to Know - That is how I'll summarize what I am thinking about the Marion Branch today.
We have seen the installation of new signals at Milford Jct and Warsaw where traffic is not controlled by NS CTC. Milford Jct is controlled by CSX's CTC system (via satellite) and Warsaw is controlled by Rule 290 automatic signals. With the new signal installations antennas have been installed ... which gives us hope that status will be available from these two sites.
Unless it is converted to CTC I do not expect to see any control packets for Warsaw. So I am expecting status only. Seeing if there is a train in the approach blocks on CFER and the Marion Branch and which of the four directional signals are "clear". The Rule 290 signs are southbound just south of CP 21 and northbound just north of 30N. I expect to see advance occupancy as a Marion Branch train passes those points and a separate occupancy once the train passes 23S or 28N. From a programming standpoint a train passing the Rule 290 sign locations should request a clear signal in that train's direction from the interlocking at Warsaw and if that request is successful the signal at 23S or 28N would reflect a clear signal at Warsaw (Clear instead of Approach unless there is other occupancy). Once the train is past 23S or 28N the signal at Warsaw should not be changed to a more restrictive aspect. So setting expectations for the Marion Branch at Warsaw, I expect similar status to CTC controlled interlockings (just no control packets). I expect at least the approach occupancy on the CFER track. Should I expect an advance occupancy or signal status? At what point on CFER is Wabash cleared for an eastbound or westbound train? (There appears to be an approach signal for westbound trains on the track east of Warsaw, but the eastbound approach signal is out of service.)
As for Milford Jct that is in CSX's hands. Before conversion to satellite we could see full status from CSX's CTC system. If we see status through the new NS antennas at Milford Jct how much should we expect to see? From a "need to know" standpoint, NS does not need to know anything beyond whether the signal on their track is clear or not. NS does not need to know if a CSX train is present or approaching, which CSX tracks are in use or if trains are crossing over. All of that is in CSX's hands. So I expect minimal information from Milford Junction. I expect to see which signal is clear (northbound or southbound) and possibly the approach block occupancy (9S to Milford and Milford to 14N). If we see anything from the control side, I expect that will be limited to "request southbound", "request northbound" and "clear request" signals sent to CSX. And status for when the "request southbound" or "request northbound" have been accepted.
So setting expectations for these two locations ... does this make sense? Are there locations where CSX controls an interlocking and NS transmits status? Are there automatic interlockings such as Warsaw transmitting status? What should we expect?