New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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GreatLakesRailfan
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New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by GreatLakesRailfan »

Even though I live in the area, I haven't gone down to the park area along the St Clair River in the vicinity of the Blue Water Bridge in at least a couple months. I happened to be down there last night and was shocked to see what appears to be a pair of brand new signals on either side of the Thomas Edison Parkway crossing below the bridges. These have 2 lights and are currently facing away from the track, which leads me to believe that this is a pretty new/incomplete installation.

One is directly across the track from the railroad car that sits next to the depot.
Image

The other is a short distance north of the crossing, easily visible from the boardwalk along the river.
Image

I don't recall having heard or read anything about a signal installation on this a lightly used industrial spur, so I'm curious if anyone here knows anything about this or exactly what the purpose of this Installation is. Otherwise, it'll be something to check out for anyone coming up to the train show in Valentine's Day weekend.


edited to add photos
Last edited by GreatLakesRailfan on Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

Possibly river navigation lights?

GreatLakesRailfan
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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DaveO wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:35 am
Possibly river navigation lights?
I just added pictures to the post. I don't think these are for traffic on the river.
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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

No, definitely not for the river.

Am I correct in that the one on the north is for southbound and the one on the south is for northbound?
If so I'm guessing some kind of protection for the bridge abutments.
Any sign of automatic derailers being installed?

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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Approach signal for bridge over Black River.

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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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KenB wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:28 am
Approach signal for bridge over Black River.
If the southern one is for southbound, I would agree.
But they have a good 1500 feet to wait by the bridge without blocking traffic.
Are they heading south from Dunn Paper with that long of a train?

GreatLakesRailfan
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by GreatLakesRailfan »

I think the one in the first picture (which is physically south of the BW Bridges) is for movements going north. The second picture was taken on the north side of the bridges and looks like it's for movements going south (leaving Dunn). I don't think Dunn has more than half a dozen car spots total, so they're not pulling or pushing that many cars at once.

The fact that these are so close to the BW Bridges makes me think that they might be for the bridges themselves. There's zero reason for a northbound signal in that location- the track ends about a quarter mile away. And as long as I can remember there have never been railroad signals in this area (although the crossing is protected by flashing signals and possibly gates). I didn't think to look specifically for derails, but they could be coming, as the signals themselves aren't in service yet.

I haven't been following RR things much around here lately, so this was kind of a surprise. At first I thought the Museum had gotten one of the GTW signals from when CN upgraded the signals around here a few years ago, and had recently installed it, but that was before I saw the signal north of the bridge.
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coasterrider
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by coasterrider »

where do they normally tie up ? maybe adding a short track off the "main" to store the engine when not in service and the lights protect the yet to be installed switch?

Jim_c
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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Some sort of construction work on the bridge that would require stop signals for rail activity? Or possible debris falling from the bridge?
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kckorienek
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by kckorienek »

Border Patrol is having some sort of special barrier installed near the crossing under the bridge, I don't know much past that, these signals are likely just indications to allow the crew to proceed once the barrier is down similar to the signals at the Black River Bridge.
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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

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If you look at the live ship cam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnnf04x6pXY
You can see they have installed bollards around the bases of the piers.
The signals are still turned sideways.
No hint of what type of barricade the railroad tracks will get.
There has been work done in the new bungalow.

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by donnieland »

i would guess that it is for up coming major work on the bw bridge for the next couple of years.
they would replace the need for a flagman at the work site. they would be like road bridge work
that traffic in both directions using a single lane of the bridge. mdot will install traffic signals to
control the flow of traffic on the single lane to get pass the single lane closed due to construction.
then when the construction is completed, the signals will be removed.
don baxter

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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

It's clearly to provide a secure area around the river piers.

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Standard Railfan
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by Standard Railfan »

I noted on the Port Huron Ship Camera that the new signals are in operation and a gate has been installed across the tracks.

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

One gate on the south side. Wondering if a gate will be placed on the north side since it's just as vulnerable as the south side.

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by Jim_c »

Probably has more to do with the upcoming reconstruction of the Blue Water Bridge. My guess is that train traffic will be coordinated with construction activities. They won't necessarily need a gate on the north side since they won't be in there very long.
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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

For that they wouldn't have needed to surround the piers with bollards or put in what looks to be an expensive gate.
Watch the camera as it pans. You get to see the signals, the bollards and the gates for a few seconds.
It's a security installation.

On many YouTube live videos, you can rewind up to 12 hours if you want to speed things up or sometimes get a better view of things.
https://youtu.be/N0SRiyEJKH8

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by Jim_c »

I agree its for some sort of security or safety. It looks like the bollards replaced cement barricades (I forgot the technical name for those) which are visible on the 2019 street view. I'm not exactly sure what the perceived threat is (drunk/reckless driver maybe?) since none of the other support structures on the EB side have similar protection, at least as of the 2019 images. One of the street view from a year ago shows the bollards in place then. The WB side has the bases of all of those fenced off in the 2019 images. I can see why they only need the one gate. The rail approach from the north is not easily accessed.
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DaveO
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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by DaveO »

They're usually called Jersey barriers. First recognized use was in New Jersey.

Think vehicle loaded with explosives. If you can get right next to the pier you could bring it down. Kept a few feet away that risk diminishes although major damage would still be expected. Remember the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville and how that went.

The east side is Canada and they do things differently there. I would add more but it would be too political. :shock:

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Re: New Signal Installation Below Blue Water Bridge?

Unread post by Jim_c »

I thought of that scenario - one of my jobs at work is to think of and prevent or mitigate such things. It just seems to me if that were the concern that they would want to do that with all of the supports. Maybe they are mostly concerned with the scenario that risks dropping the span across a shipping channel.
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