• L&H Memories: Andover goes "Modern"

  • Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail
Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

Moderator: David

  by jmchitvt
Well, here's how that ONE and ONLY powered track switch got put into service.

After stopping and throwing hand switches on both ends of the connecting track at Andover for decades it was decided the

East switch (just across from Route 206, from the station) would be "automated". The DL&W wanted nothing to do with

powering "their" end.

Westward (Eastward on the DL&W) trains were never a problem, being mostly empties. But, a heavy #30 or heavier #32

really had to

get a good run coming Westward (to Eastward on the L&H) on the DL&W to make it around the connecting track

without laying down a truckload

of sand.

The arrangement was this when you had a train "on the bell". Clear the interlocking, throw the power switch and trudge

down the Sussex and hand throw the other one. I believe it was half an hour's extra pay for the hand throw.

I particularly remember Stan Pierce radioing the head end: "all clear at the junction, over, over!!" And he must have been

proud to have had a "piece" of the O&W come over with him. He must have felt momentarily he was at Campbell Hall lining

things up for NE-4 or NE-6 for the run over to Maybrook off the Cornwall main.

And to think that the L&H did all this a little over two years before it was all over going to Port Morris!!
  by L&HR C&S
The summer and fall of 1983 shows andover Junction as I remember it; not much left! The power switch and connector to the Sussex branch are gone, having been removed at about 1979. All that remains is the passing siding that goes L&H east up to the Aeroflex airport area on Long Pond. In the first photo, Conrail 7802 backs up to it's train in Andover Yard, having been cut off clear of the RT 206 crossing circuit so the crew could take lunch at the Andover Diner. There is nothing fancy about the former L&HR's signalling, no push button cut-outs for the crossing flashers, so the crew would run the locomotives through the grade crossing setting the two circuit interlocking relay to deactivate the flashers. They are lucky to have Warning Devices here at the time of the photos; Conrail had rehabbed the RT 206 crossing about two years prior and simply removed all of the insulated joints and installing new portec joints further back from the xing. For a year and a half the train crew flagged the crossing each time. Finally, a C&S construction crew showed up one day and rewired the existing case and flashers in a week. The next photo is of the Andover operators shanty, open to the elements and for exploration. Note the open door to the basement; it was dark and wet down there, but with a flashlite, the basement would reveal L&HR paper and waybills for Limcreast and other local industries all over the floor. I took less that 5 waybills home to dry out, and they are in great condition today. However, in 1983 as a young railfan I did not understand that you could not procrastinate on such things; less than a year later I came hiking up the tracks to find a Conrail bulldozer sitting on the flat area of dirt that was once the operators station. All that L&HR paperwork, bulldozed right into the ground. Lastly, a veiw of the west passing siding switch at Andover, still locked with an L&HR Adlake switch lock and waiting for the kerosene switch lamp to be set ontop of the stand.
A note about the photos; they are old, dusty, and taken with various cheep cameras at the time. I lost alot of photos and papers to flooding in 2006 and I am scanning whats left quickly, dust and all so that they are preserved in case somthing of the sort should happen again. If for my use I need one cleaned up for a scan I will go back and do it then. So for now, enjoy the dusty slides from the days that lead to a very long career in the railroad industry.
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  by jmchitvt
Thank you for that very complete "post-mortem".

The dark images I downloaded were most appropriate, like a burial of an old friend.

I particularly liked #3 showing the unique L&H switch target and the throw control box for the block signals still in place. I can almost hear OA-3 coming at me with three RS-3's and "Mo" Dunn throttling up of all things. No one EVER hammed that diamond like he did!!

In closing I'll mention that I'm about finished reading "Flags, Diamond & Statues" issue #18-1. It's the absolutely MOST complete account of the L&H I ever seen. I learned alot from it, thinking that I had "known it all". If you don't have it you can probably still order on line at $9 plus S&H.

Thanks again for sharing.

Joseph in VT
  by L&HR C&S
Thanks Joseph. I'll post more, when I can. I can barly remember the block signals still functioning in 1979. I would be putting pennies on the rails behing the creamery in Huntsville and could see the Trinca airport signals lit up at times. I just recently met an ex Lehigh Valley guy who was the Conrail C&S supervisor on the L&HR in the late 70s.