• Can someone identify what this is on a Penn Station platform?

  • Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.
Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by Medmallawyer
There is a box on support beam on platform that has red plate with letters “ASC” on it as well as a smaller plate that has “#19” in the corner. Looks like a key lock on the box the red plates are on.

Any idea?

  by gregorygrice
Most likely the Automatic Speed Control (ASC aka Cab Signal) test box for Track 19. Keying the box allows the train's ASC system to be tested on that track.
  by Kelly&Kelly
Yes, as GregoryGrice said it is an Automatic Speed Control test loop. On a regular basis, each lead car must have its speed control system tested. That box contains a switch which activates an oscillator to permit this.

The Automatic Speed Control System was introduced after the horrific wrecks in 1950. It includes simplified cab signals and an arrangement which applies the brakes if the train passes a more restrictive signal without the engineer taking action.

When the M-1's came in 1968, the covered signal aspects were increased from three to seven. The original M-1s were equipped with "Automatic Train Control," an ASC enhancement. ATC permitted an engineer to place the controller in an ATC position and the train would automatically increase and reduce its speed in accordance with the signals. The train would also have selectors to set the destination. Wayside "readers" would read the trains destination and switches would automatically line their routes; a system that was in fact tested in Valley Interlocking. The destination roll signs would also automatically adjust.

None of this worked very well, and it was never used with the exception of the seven aspect automatic speed control which all subsequent MUs and road engines shared.
  by amtrakhogger
Inside the boxes are pushbuttons to actuate a code sequence for an ASC test.