Oak Point Yard Car Float Switches and Rapdo's New RailCrew Switch Machines

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Oak Point Yard Car Float Switches and Rapdo's New RailCrew Switch Machines

rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

01 Nov 2017, 01:34 #1

Rapido just announced their RailCrew Switch Machines, and after watching the video I decided I want to use them. Unfortunately, the initial part of my layout is Oak Point Yard and the Harlem Branch. All of the switches were controlled by the signal stations from what I have been able to see in the pictures. The only possible exception is the yard throat for the car floats and adjacent yard. The diagram in the NHRHTA’s Mechanical Department Facilities Maps, Revised Edition (1989) does not show any tower supervising the switches. There are light bridges to illuminate the switches. And, it makes sense that the train crew would be able to change the directions faster manually than waiting for a tower operator to take care of it, especially if three to six locomotives are switching cars onto/off the car floats. My questions for the railroaders that worked Oak Point are, were these manually thrown switches? Rapido offers three different types of stands (I didn’t write down the types during the video), all of which are tall stands. Were the stands tall or short, and is the type known? What type of target was used? Thanks for any information and/or places to check out pictures in various publications like Shoreliner.
For those who haven’t seen these switch machines, they are really kewl in how they work, and neat in how they are installed from the top of the layout and next to the switch points.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

01 Nov 2017, 03:21 #2

Concerning interlocking towers and Oak Point Yard, S.S. 4 (Oak Point) controlled access between the east end of the yard and the main line (which, when I was there, consisted of tracks 3, 4, 5 & 6).  Coming out of the yard were three tracks controlled by signals, One Yard (which was the main flat yard), Four Bridge East (which fanned out to cover bridges 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5), and Along The Wall (which fanned out to cover bridges 10, 11 & 12).  I suppose Along The Wall got its name from running alongside the retaining wall holding back the hillside on that side of the yard.

These were the only switches controlled by the signal station operator.  Yard operations fell under the purview of the Yardmaster while Signal Station operations fell under the purview of the Dispatcher.  The only time a signal station operator would get involved with yard operations would be if a string of cars was being pulled out of one of the float yards to be shoved back into another float yard, or One Yard, or vice versa since Track 6 also doubled as a yard lead for such.  In such cases the yardmaster would, for example, call the tower and ask for permission to pull from Four Bridge East back into One Yard, or One Yard out and back, or some such combination.  All the switches within the yard were manual switches, thrown by switchmen.

Below are the two ICC Valuation Maps covering the east end of Oak Point Yard.

http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora ... A860073820

http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora ... A860073821

On the first map, what looks like the scale track shows what appears to be a double slip switch, but by the mid 1960s that was no longer the case.  Over the years, some tracks disappeared, or were rearranged.  Anyway, where that double slip switch is shown is essentially the western edge of the interlocking plant inside the yard.  Everything beyond that, especially down near the float bridges themselves, was switchman territory.

Oh, as an added bonus, the first map also shows the layout for Casanova station.  The platforms were originally for tracks 3 & 4 (the track numbers were originally 3, 1, 2 & 4), but when Hell Gate Bridge opened everything got rearranged between S.S. 8 (West Farms Junction) and S.S. 3 (Bungay) and the eastbound platform was moved to serve the renumbered track 2 (formerly track 1).

Inside the yard would have been low kerosene-lit switchstands with yellow and white collars.

Imagehttps://farm4.static.flickr.com/3715/20 ... b370_b.jpg[/img]
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

01 Nov 2017, 06:59 #3

Thank you so much Mr. Statkowski. Now I know I'll be using these new RailCrew Switch Machines at Oak Point. I was wrong in my original comment. I went by the pictured sprue with the three switch stands on it while Jason said the names of each, and to me they all looked liked tall switch stands. I just went to the Rapido site and looked at the types of stands offered. They are RACOR 17B and RACOR 31B (both tall switchstands), and RACOR 20C (low switchstand). The three pictured stands have non-operating kerosene lanterns, with the RACOR 20C looking exactly like the ones pictured in the photo you provided. I'm so happy. While the kerosene lanterns won't by lit, the yellow or white head will spin to the correct aspect everytime the switch direction is changed in the yard. That's animation with a function since there should be more than one car float switching crew having to share the switches during their shifts. I won't have to light up the yard diagram, they will have to visually look at the switchstand to determine changing the switch direction and coordinating with another switcher crew for right-of-way for their move.
Rapido also has the correct NH circle/arrow targets for the non-lantern switchstands made of brass.
Also, the property valuation maps helped me with the platform layout for both Hunts Point and Casanova Stations. I've moved Hunts Point Avenue two bridges closer to Longwood and Lafayette Avenues, and Casanova Station is on grade level with Whitlock Avenue at East 149th Street (Bungay Street) with an elevated walkover to the outside platform between tracks 2 & 4. Oh course I will be running commuter trains into the 1950's. It's okay for the Rapido parlors and parlor-lounges to whiz by on tracks 1 & 2, but I want to stop and show off my Rapido 8600's, Osgood-Bradley's, E&B Valley's, 6700's, 6800's, 7800-8085's, 4400's, and RDC's. I'm hoping to kitbash the other MUT's in the next dacade also. So, there will be commuter trains thrown into the mix. While the New York, Westchester & Boston did stop on December 31, 1937, the New Haven continued with the commuter service to New Rochelle (in my HO world). To avoid a citation by the thread drift police, seeing the commuter trains stopping and going while the RACOR 20C switchstands targets are flipping from white to yellow because yard operations will be ongoing too will really double the animation of the scene by both the switchstands and the trains moving.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

01 Nov 2017, 12:56 #4

Richard,

You wrote, "I've moved Hunts Point Avenue two bridges closer to Longwood and Lafayette Avenues, and Casanova Station is on grade level with Whitlock Avenue at East 149th Street (Bungay Street) with an elevated walkover to the outside platform between tracks 2 & 4."  It's your railroad and you can rearrange the geography all you want.  In the real world, in the vicinity of Casanova and S.S. 4, all the tracks were below street level and the roadways passed overhead.  One walked down to the actual Casanova station where it sat at track level and walked across the tracks to get to the island platform, unlike Hunt's Point and Westchester Avenue stations which were up and over the tracks and had stairs going down to the platforms.

You also wrote, "It's okay for the Rapido parlors and parlor-lounges to whiz by on tracks 1 & 2 ..."  After the line was six-tracked but before Hell Gate Bridge opened, the tracks were numbered 3-1-2-4-5-6 from north to south, with 3-1-2-4 eventually into Harlem River Yard.  Tracks 5 & 6 were the freight tracks, which we'll disregard totally.  For passenger operations into and out of Harlem River Yard tracks 1 & 2, the inside tracks, were for express trains, and tracks 3 & 4, the outside tracks, were for local trains.

Once Hell Gate Bridge was up and running, however, everything got switched around and the tracks were renumbered 1-2-3-4-5-6 from north to south.  Tracks 1 & 2 became the local tracks, running into Harlem River, and tracks 3 & 4 became the express tracks, running onto Hell Gate Bridge.  East of West Farms Junction, all the way to New Rochelle Junction, the tracks were still 3-1-2-4-5-6 from north to south, and S.S. 8 had the task of not only handling the NYW&B traffic entering or leaving the branch, but also crossing over all the assorted local and express New Haven jobs between the track layout to the west of the tower and the track layout to the east of the tower.  Your parlors and parlor-lounges would thus whiz by on tracks 3 & 4.

Henry
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

01 Nov 2017, 14:11 #5

Thanks again Mr. Statkowski. I knew of the renumbering of the tracks following the opening of Hell Gate Bridge, and that tracks 1 & 2 were used for the locals. Westchester Avenue Station had a platform along track 1 and between tracks 4 & 5 as built pre-electricifaction (modern track numbers). Later the platforms were moved and one was along track 1 and one between tracks 2 & 3 with the new stairway entrance visible in recent photos of the Westchester Avenue Station's shell's westside. Casanova Station shows a platform along track 1 and one between tracks 1 & 2 in the NHRHTA's Mechanical Department Facilities Maps, Revised Edition (1989), and it wasn't until I saw the property evaluation maps you provided that I saw the platform along track 1 and a platform between tracks 3 & 4. Modeling both stations in the latter configuration would be correct for commuter service, but my problem comes about with Hunts Point Station. Hunts Point Station was originally configured with a platform along track 1, and a platform between tracks 4 & 5 after electricifation. This is nicely shown on page 19 of Mr. Ronald Hall's and Mr. Robert Wuchert, Jr.'s Memories of the New Haven Vol: 2 (1985). I believe the New Haven changed the platform locations at Hunts Point Station also. However, the only photo that I have found of the eastside of Hunts Point Station doesn't show any changes to the stairways like at Westchester Avenue Station. You can see this in the picture below.
NH RR Hunts Point Passenger Station pic 17.jpg
Hunts Point Station recent eastside view.
Hunts Point Station recent eastside view.

While the Westchester Avenue Station had the stairway attached to the outer porch, Hunts Point Station would have required structural changes to the station itself. It makes sense that a platform was placed between tracks 1 & 2 just like at Casanova Station, and the commuters had to cross track 1. Or, they could have made another stairway connecting to the side of the original stairway and crossing track 1 before descending to the platform. The second scenario makes more sense safety wise, but as you can see in the picture, there are no remains from supports to substantiate that it was done. While I want to model tracks 1 & 2 for the local commuter service, Hunts Point Station is throwing a monkey wrench into my track plans if I have to use a platform between tracks 4 & 5. It would require moving the local from track 2 to track 4, and the through trains from tracks 3 & 4 to tracks 2 & 3 between Westchester Avenue Station and Casanova Station. The proposal for the reuse of Hunts Point Station for MNR doesn't help because the elevator locations and new platforms don't match the original ones in any way. The elevators are on the westside of the bridge and separate from the original station building. I'm thinking of modeling Hunts Point Station in the second scenario with an additional stairway connected to the original, and the other stairway entrance modeled like the one in the picture above. That would leave tracks 1 & 2 for local, 3 & 4 for through freight and passenger plus freight destined for Oak Point Yard, and 5 & 6 as yard leads for Oak Point Yard that end just past the station platforms of Hunts Point Station. I have about six more months before Whitlock Avenue is fully built up with curtains/blinds in the windows, varying levels of lights or no lights on in the different rooms of the buildings, and the street and traffic lights functioning. That's when I will have to commit to my track layout for tracks 1 through 8.
Thanks for all your help and that of many others on the Forum so far.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

01 Nov 2017, 16:57 #6

Richard,

However it was done at Hunt's Point, its eastbound platform was relocated just as the other two were.

And, you wrote, "That would leave tracks 1 & 2 for local, 3 & 4 for through freight and passenger plus freight destined for Oak Point Yard, and 5 & 6 as yard leads for Oak Point Yard that end just past the station platforms of Hunts Point Station."  Tracks 5 & 6 were running tracks all the way to S.S. 14 (Pelham Bay Drawbridge).  Although freights did occasionally use tracks 3 & 4 between S.S. 4 and S.S. 14, the preferred routing, both eastward and westward, was tracks 5 & 6.

Westbound freights stopping at Oak Point would normally do so east of S.S. 4 on track 5 and the head end would pin ahead into the yard.  Eastbound freights stopping at Oak Point would normally do so on track 6 between S.S. 3 and S.S. 4, pinning ahead and then backing into One Yard.

For example, both NE-2 and HB-8 normally arrived around the same time, NE-2 working Oak Point and HB-8 highballing once it left Harlem River.  If NE-2 arrived first, then track 6 was blocked and HB-8, coming up out of Harlem River on track 8, would then run track 5 (reverse traffic) between S.S. 3 and S.S. 4, and would then cross over to track 4 at S.S. 4.  If track 6 was not yet blocked, HB-8 would run track 6 all the way to S.S. 14.  For westward movements, if track 5 was occupied by a thru freight working Oak Point, a westward freight highballing Oak Point (e.g., BH-7) would run track 3 from S.S. 14 to S.S. 4 and cross over to track 5 at S.S. 4 to get ahead of the freight blocking it.

Regarding the use of tracks 5 & 6 as yard leads, only track 6 would have been used, and only with the permission of the operator at S.S. 4.  Track 5 was a westbound track and had no rear home signal as protection for such movements.  Track 6, on the other hand, was an eastbound track and pulls out of the yard onto it already had signal protection at the interlocking's home boards.
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nhhe52
Member
Joined: 26 Mar 2004, 05:19

01 Nov 2017, 17:16 #7

Richard:

Hunts Point Station is one of my favorite NH stations but would be quite a task to model given all its wonderful detail:
Below are a few other Hunts Point Station images that may be helpful.  Some show the then in use NYW&B tracks, circa 1930.  In the first image you will see that the stairs down to the platforms have been reconfigured from the original locations shown in the third image.  The third image is before electrification so it's a very earliy image, soon after the station opened.  I believe all passenger use had ended by the NYW&B by 1934 and by NYNH&H by 1937.  What a shame how its been let go.  I understand there were some plans to redevelop the station property by not sure they have progressed.
HP4.jpg HP3.jpg HP2.jpg
IMG_2545.JPG
Interior:
HuntsPoint_int.jpg
Recent:
8s5d.jpg Proposed redevelopment:  I don't understand why thye would keep the dormers red as currently painted as I believe they were copper clad oringinally.
HP7.jpg
Ed
Last edited by nhhe52 on 01 Nov 2017, 22:40, edited 1 time in total.
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

01 Nov 2017, 21:56 #8

Thanks Mr. Statkowski, and I know you are speaking with the authority of the MAN in the signal station (S.S. 4 in this case). Since I'm modeling the bridge over the Bronx River at S.S. 7 with just the two spans that remained following World War II (yes, there will be a chicken coop near the base of S.S. 7), I'm going to end track 5 & 6 just east of Hunts Point Station's platforms rather then continue them past Westchester Avenue Station. I was only planning on modeling four of the six tracks of the Harlem Branch to begin with. I was going to only place track 5, but I'm going to try and make Hunts Point Station to scale. That would leave a little too much space between the platform and wall where tracks 5 & 6 are located if only one track was modeled. Since I'm putting in two tracks and both end, I was going to have two yard leads. But, any engineer wanting to use them will have to obtain permission from the operator in S.S. 4.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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Statkowski
Member
Joined: 05 Mar 2003, 09:39

01 Nov 2017, 22:00 #9

Here we see where the original platform stairs were:
ImageAnd here we see how they relocated the platform stairs by constructing an exterior enclosed walkway to the new stairway:
ImageThis picture, following, is dated prior to 1927 or so.  Originally the branch operated under Controlled Manual Block rules (Hunt's Point would have been S.S. 5) but that was converted over to right-hand, two-aspect Automatic Block signaling.  Circa 1927 those signals on the New Haven side (tracks 3, 4, 5 & 6) were converted to right-hand, three-aspect signals.  The signals on the NYW&B side (which was also New Haven trackage) remained as two-aspect signals.  Thus, between S.S. 8, West Farms Junction, and S.S. 1, Harlem River (the second iteration thereof), we had two different signal systems in use.Image
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rsullivan
Member
Joined: 14 Dec 2016, 20:36

01 Nov 2017, 22:33 #10

Thanks Mr. Ed(nhhe52) for those additional pictures of Hunts Point Station's eastside. Now I know exactly how to model the stairway crossover and descending stairs to the platform between tracks 2 & 3. I know I have to buy ten Type 3 and at least 14 Type 2 Catenary from Model Memories to match the catenary through that stretch. I have close-up pictures of the front side's small dormers, the roof overhang supports, the fancy roof edge design, and the stone moldings around the windows and doors that I will make masters of. Then I will cast enough for the model. The decorative moldings at the top of the chimneys may be made as a master and I'll cast them, or I'll make each individually. I already have the windows, doors, and finials from Scale Structures Limited, and I'm not sure how I'm going to do the decorative roof trim along the ridge. I'm going to make it as detailed and accurate as possible since it will be viewable from a few inches away. There will be an interior, but I'm not going to try and duplicate the arched roof.
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr. member #3967
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