Woodbury PM Searchlights

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Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby kd_1014 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:19 am

Are the searchlights in Woodbury, MI always green or something? Every time I drive past them they always have a clear indication. One time I waited for something to come but nothing ever came. Are they always green or am I just really lucky?
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby SD80MAC » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:45 am

The Woodbury signals are in ABS territory. Those particular intermediates will always default to green when there isn't a train lined up.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby Jetlink » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:46 am

I live near woodbury and understand them quite well.

First, the signals at Woodbury are continuously lit. They are not approach lit. So they are always on. I have never seen them dark.

Second, They are block signals. So they don't give authority. They just respond to the conditions or occupancy of the block and the adjacent blocks.

So to over simplify it, Green means that There are no trains in any of the blocks between Sunfield and Lake O.
Yellow means there are no trains in the block but the next block is occupied. and Red means something is in the block. You can't really tell if it's moving toward the signals or away though. The blocks are about 2 miles long each give or take a few tenths of a mile.

So green means nothing coming, yellow or red means something is coming or you just missed it.

That is an oversimplification because the next signal to the West is a CTC signal and the west bound signal at woodbury is somewhat tied into the logic. I've noticed as soon as the dispatcher lines a movement against the block eastbound from the last CTC signal at Lake O the Woodbury west bound signal drops to red regardless of occupancy but this is a "one of" unusual kind of thing in the territory. So the Westward Woodbury signal can hang at red for a long time sometimes with an unoccupied block, and it usually means something is coming, but often takes a long time to get there.

Hope this was helpfull. I can answer any follow up questions you might have.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby kd_1014 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:04 am

Jetlink wrote:I live near woodbury and understand them quite well.

First, the signals at Woodbury are continuously lit. They are not approach lit. So they are always on. I have never seen them dark.

Second, They are block signals. So they don't give authority. They just respond to the conditions or occupancy of the block and the adjacent blocks.

So to over simplify it, Green means that There are no trains in any of the blocks between Sunfield and Lake O.
Yellow means there are no trains in the block but the next block is occupied. and Red means something is in the block. You can't really tell if it's moving toward the signals or away though. The blocks are about 2 miles long each give or take a few tenths of a mile.

So green means nothing coming, yellow or red means something is coming or you just missed it.

That is an oversimplification because the next signal to the West is a CTC signal and the west bound signal at woodbury is somewhat tied into the logic. I've noticed as soon as the dispatcher lines a movement against the block eastbound from the last CTC signal at Lake O the Woodbury west bound signal drops to red regardless of occupancy but this is a "one of" unusual kind of thing in the territory. So the Westward Woodbury signal can hang at red for a long time sometimes with an unoccupied block, and it usually means something is coming, but often takes a long time to get there.

Hope this was helpfull. I can answer any follow up questions you might have.


Thanks for the clarifications, Are there any plans to replace these searchlights or will they continue to be lit for a few more years?
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby Jetlink » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:25 am

The 25 miles of the old PM track between Lake O and Ensel (Lansing) seems to have somehow been forgotten by time and modernization efforts. The rest of the subdivision is CTC controlled but this small segment is not. I would imagine the ABS searchlights will continue on indefinitely until the segment finally gets CTC or is abandoned. I suppose there is an off chance an FRA petition to turn the territory dark gets approved but its been denied at least once recently that I know of so that's not likely. I'd say they have a few years minimum to burn yet for sure.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:22 am

Jetlink wrote:Yellow means there are no trains in the block but the next block is occupied. and Red means something is in the block. You can't really tell if it's moving toward the signals or away though. The blocks are about 2 miles long each give or take a few tenths of a mile.

So green means nothing coming, yellow or red means something is coming or you just missed it.

Most ABS that I have seen is Absolute Permissive Block Signalling. With APB the signal would be red for an opposing train anywhere beyond the signal to the next controlled point or the next siding (whichever is next). A yellow signal when an opposing train is approaching would be rare (and dangerous if there wasn't a siding or other place for trains to pass).

Jetlink wrote:I've noticed as soon as the dispatcher lines a movement against the block eastbound from the last CTC signal at Lake O the Woodbury west bound signal drops to red regardless of occupancy but this is a "one of" unusual kind of thing in the territory.

That is the expected behavior for APB. When the CTC system clears a train to enter the track in the opposing direction the ABS/APB system stops all trains headed toward the conflict.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby chapmaja » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:06 am

Jetlink wrote:The 25 miles of the old PM track between Lake O and Ensel (Lansing) seems to have somehow been forgotten by time and modernization efforts. The rest of the subdivision is CTC controlled but this small segment is not. I would imagine the ABS searchlights will continue on indefinitely until the segment finally gets CTC or is abandoned. I suppose there is an off chance an FRA petition to turn the territory dark gets approved but its been denied at least once recently that I know of so that's not likely. I'd say they have a few years minimum to burn yet for sure.


Is there any idea why this section avoided modernization efforts? It seems odd that the railroad would not want to have the entire subdivision on the same system.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby Jetlink » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:14 am

chapmaja wrote:
Jetlink wrote:The 25 miles of the old PM track between Lake O and Ensel (Lansing) seems to have somehow been forgotten by time and modernization efforts. The rest of the subdivision is CTC controlled but this small segment is not. I would imagine the ABS searchlights will continue on indefinitely until the segment finally gets CTC or is abandoned. I suppose there is an off chance an FRA petition to turn the territory dark gets approved but its been denied at least once recently that I know of so that's not likely. I'd say they have a few years minimum to burn yet for sure.


Is there any idea why this section avoided modernization efforts? It seems odd that the railroad would not want to have the entire subdivision on the same system.


I've heard a couple of different stories. Sounds like it was on the verge of happening when the the PM-Chessie sale occured. The CTC made it from Elmdale to Lake O and was controlled by the operator in Elmdale. The next year the funding was allocated to take the CTC project east of Lake O to Grand Ledge. In the transaction it was forgotten and lost in the shuffle. Seems like Trnwatcher told me that. I'm really not sure other than that. Someone else may have some definitive answers but that was the best most logical explanation I recall hearing
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby C&O Dispatcher » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:04 pm

As stated, the section between Ensel and Lake Odessa is APB block signalling. Originally, timetable/train order authority was required -- later supplanted by DTC and I assume now by EC-1 form. The APB added an extra layer of protection. The signals leaving the siding area at each end of Gd Ledge and Sunfield are absolute (2-head) signals and the signals approaching the siding area are intermediate/number plate signals. (Of course the signals entering the territory at Ensel and LakeO are also absolutes, but are controlled signals by the dispatcher). In APB, for example, when a WB train passed the signal at the west end of Gd Ledge, it would set the EB signal at the east end of Sunfield to STOP and all intermediates in between to restricted proceed (formerly stop and proceed). Even after working for C&O/Chessie for many years, I never really heard a definitive reason why the CTC was never continued to cover this section. To facilitate meets, there were spring switches at the west end of Sunfield and the east switch at Gd Ledge. I'm assuming the spring functions have long been eliminated??
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:07 pm

C&O Dispatcher wrote:I'm assuming the spring functions have long been eliminated??

Not sure when they were replaced but they've been gone for awhile.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby C&O Dispatcher » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:09 pm

Just to be clear on my last post -- it should read set all EB (opposing) intermediate signals to restricted proceed. Sorry!
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby SD80MAC » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:57 pm

Spring switch in Grand Ledge was removed in 2015. Sunfield was around the same time.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby Jetlink » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:31 am

Saturnalia wrote:
C&O Dispatcher wrote:I'm assuming the spring functions have long been eliminated??

Not sure when they were replaced but they've been gone for awhile.


They were only removed about 5 years ago or so. Sunfield siding is now officially OOS. Has had some storage cars there off and on over the last 10 ish years. Currently empty for the last 2-3 years though.
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Re: Woodbury PM Searchlights

Unread postby C&O Dispatcher » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:24 pm

Back in train order days. Not sure how to get pic to show along with the link. I never dispatched the Plymouth Sub -- but did all lines out of Saginaw. Dispatching the Elmdale Sub was the best for train order operation fun.


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