Going, going gone!
Sunday March 26th marked the end here in Western New York for the iconic signals along Walden Avenue and on Broadway. The CSX crews were out in force at 0430 hours starting at the bridge at MP429.8 (42°54'42.2"N 78°41'21.0"W) up to the cantilever bridge MP434.2. (42°54'05.5"N 78°46'37.7"W) What started as a grubby drizzle at 9:00 am turned into heavy overcast by the afternoon.
By the time I got to CP429 at Transit and Walden, the bridge was already down to the last 12 feet of legs by the subcontracted crew of Clark Rigging out of Lockport, New York. Some of the bridges required only a 150 ton "TEREX" crane due to the distance of the swing but they also had two 350 ton units on site for the more difficult sites.
MP431 where the "A" Industrial Runner at CP431 cuts in, was down to just the bridge at 0915 hrs.
No one from Clark was working on CP431.2 at the end of the Amtrak Platform but there were a pack of railfans waiting with their cameras.
Crews were getting ready at MP432.8 on Ellicott Street but most of the activity was at MP433.1 by the firehall. This bridge was being cut up on Broadway which necessitated squeezing four lane down to two. I did not want to get in the way of that mess.
My main goal this day was to document the removal of the rare Cantilever Bridge at MP434.2 - CP434. (42°54'05.5"N 78°46'37.7"W)
CSX had graciously donated the bridge with the signals to the Western New York Railway Historical Society. Clark Rigging agreed to dismantle the signal with minimal cutting and load it onto our contracted trucks for transport to the Heritage Discovery Center on Lee Street. Unfortunately, what was a projected removal by late morning turned into a 12 hour day with all of the other signals previously started. At 1500 hrs one of the huge 350 TEREX Cranes lumbered down the service road on the north side of the Eastbound running track. At 1500 hrs, the crane was fully assembled and ready to begin the process.
By 1600 hrs the rigging crew was hard at work securing the cables and chains. A huge THANK YOU goes out to Joe Kocsis for allowing me to use his photo's after I had to leave. He did not get home until after 10:00pm. Thank you Joe!
At 1730 hrs, this last westbound CSX freight became the last train to go under the bridge.
As soon as the fright cleared the bridge, the Clark torch crew began to cut the six 2" base mounting bolts.
Ever so slowly the bridge was lifted and swung over 7 tracks to the north side of the eastbound running track. This is the view from the north side of Broadway just as a westbound Amtrak train went by.
An extra set of rigging cables allowed the crane operator to tip the signal for further disassembly.
As soon as the bridge was on the ground, the Clark torch crew went to work cutting all the rivets that attached the base to the bridge.
When the bridge was separated from the base it was loaded onto one of two flatbed trucks operated by Scott Symans Trucking out of Dunkirk. (Scott owns and operates the Viscose #6 0-4-0 steam locomotive) Because the signal masts were too tall, both had to be cut loose from the bridge to lay flat. Here the second mast is being freed from the mounting base.
While the signal masts were being removed, the base was being loaded onto Scott's second low boy truck that he uses to haul the Steam Engine.
It was just after 9:30pm when both pieces were both safely unloaded at the Heritage Discovery Center using our Grove Deck Crane and forklift.
We are now looking for donations to help defray the trucking costs, restore the signal and display it at the museum. This will require that a substantial concrete base be made to support the signal and we are looking to raise approximately $3,500 for the concrete work and to reattach the two pieces of the signal. Most of the work will be done by our volunteers, but we will need help funding for the concrete and structural repairs.
If you want to help out with the project, please send your check payable to WNYRHS 100 Lee Street, Buffalo, NY 14210. Or go to our web site at http://www.trainweb.org/wnyrhs/index#paypal2017
and click on the PayPal Donate button to make a safe and secure donation through Paypal. Just indicate that your donation is for the "Signal Project". Every dollar donated will go directly to getting this "gateway" back up and illuminated again. THANK YOU!
Sincerely, Scott H.