<< We have covered the Saratoga Sub. pretty extensively, but I would like to know also when the TCS was installed on the Susquehanna Sub.
>> TCS on the A&S was incremental.
<< I have read that the Penn was first. You layed it out how the Oneonta desk ran everything except the interlockings which were run out of FA.
>> The Penn Division, including everything south of SW Cabin (Nineveh Jct), also including the Erie Jefferson Division, was originally under the jurisdiction of the Carbondale dispatchers.
JN (Jefferson Jct.) to DV Cabin (Doraville) was a single-track bottleneck that received an early TCS installation in the 1930's, with X and NE Cabins controlled from Windsor Station, and DV (and VI) cabins controlled from SW Cabin when it was an open office, under the authority of the Carbondale dispatcher.
When the D&H purchased the Jeff from the Erie, the D&H installed single-track TCS between WC (West Carbondale) and JN (Jefferson Jct.) and put all of that from WC to JN and SW under the direct control of the Oneonta dispatcher which had been combined with Carbondale. TCS was then extended south from WC to MO Cabin at Mineral Springs, north of Wilkes-Barre, and the WBC RR, under the direct control of SX Yard Office, Hudson, supervised by the Oneonta dispatcher.
FA controlled RA Cabin (Rose Ave., just two holding signals in each direction on each of two tracks); CM, a spring switch with interlocking signals at the end of the short Track 4 north of FA (I think CM represented the New York Central Catskilll Mountain Branch, but I’m not sure); FA itself - six crossovers to move in either direction between the northbound yard, Tracks 4, 2, 1, and the southbound yard; and OG, similar to RA on the south end (OG from the old office call for Otego).
At the time (my time in Oneonta, like 1966-1972) double track TCS extended from MU Cabin at what was Hemlock Road, about A-76.2 to RB Cabin, about A-86.4. MU had been the office call for Cooperstown (proper) and RB represented “Rhynesses (sic) Bridge.”
The A&S was always single-track from SA Cabin (Shay’s, the siding north of Bevier Street) to VI Cabin (Harpursville) and from DJ Cabin (Delanson Jct.) to KN Tower/Cabin (Kenwood Jct.) The A&S from Binghamton to KN (exclusive) and to QS (Cresecent, exclusive) was under the jurisdiction of the Oneonta dispatchers.
SA to VI was another single-track bottleneck that received an early TCS installation, with Dye’s Siding becoming Track 2 between FH and BL (Belden) Cabins.
Next (I think) was Howes Cave Hill, from CB Cabin north of Schoharie Jct. to WH Cabin, (White House) north of Cobleskill. That included retirement of Track 4 from JX (Schoharie Jct) to CB, and segments of old Tracks 1 and 2 between CB and DJ. CB to DJ thus became double-track TCS.
I remember riding 208 on Friday evenings ca. 1961, when we had to get a train order and back through the trailing-point crossover at Cobleskill to pass a southward freight climbing to Richmondville. That problem was soon eliminated (~1962) when Tracks 1 and 2 were reverse-signaled and KF cabin with its facing point crossover was installed. That allowed us to scoot right over to Track 2 and pass whatever was dragging up the hill.
I think the last part of the A&S to get TCS was from RB, south of Oneonta, to GR (Grovers) at Afton. That included double track at Unadilla (UN to UA) and south of Sidney (TP - “Tie Plant”: to LK - “Larkins”).
<< I believe that by the time the dispatchers were moved to Colonie, they were down to two desks. Where was the dividing line then?
>> They were down to two desks as soon as they moved to Albany. One desk from Whitehall handled the entire north end, including the NJ, and the one former Oneonta desk handled the entire south end - A&S and Penn Division. The boundaries didn’t change. The A&S still came to KN exclusive and QS exclusive.
<< Now it is the south end of the double iron in Esperance. I have heard that this plant was moved. It was just north of Schoharie Jct., but due to a wreck, was shortened to ending over the Rte. 30 bridge.
>> That was CB Cabin. It was moved north after my time.
<< The north end I know also had the NJ. There is an engineer whose father-in-law was a dispatcher. He was old school, having risen from an operator. The story was that the operator in Delson had a very thick French accent. As a result, the orders were sent in Morse code, as the dispatcher could not understand the operator.
>> Not surprising, eh? The Plattsburgh Dispatchers had a telegraph wire available until the office was closed and moved to Whitehall, IIRC. Many dispatchers and operators preferred to use the telegraph for train orders, etc, as long as they were both good at it. Telegraph is much faster and more precise than telephone.
<< Did you have authority over the track forces on the NJ?
>> On the books, the Assistant to the President and General Manager of the Napierville Junction Railway, Ray Beaumier, supervised all of the employees of the NJ. I worked closely with Ray to watch over the track, including riding trains and plowing snow. Sometimes I rode No. 9 to Montreal and came back on 34. Other times I rode NJ 105 to St. Luc and returned with the same engine and crew, and that’s where I got my throttle time. Actually, once I got up to 45 mph, the greatest effort was blowing for all the crossings and hoping none of the habitants would try to prove their masculinity by out-racing the train to the crossing.
We made a few trips to some very good French Canadian restaurants where English was not spoken.
The NJ track gang was one foreman and three trackmen at Lacolle. The foreman was Adelor LaValle, if I remember how to spell his name. They did not need a heavy hand of supervision as long as they got the stuff they needed.
In 1967 we reduced the maximum speed on the Saratoga and Champlain Subdivisions from 70 to 60 mph, after we determined that it only amounted to less than five minutes in the train schedules. We left the NJ at 70, because it was good for it and the time difference was more like ten minutes between Rouses Point and Delson. The entire NJ main track was laid with jointed 127 lb Dudley rail, a New York Central standard not found elsewhere on the D&H, and it was in pretty good condition. The NJ also had an Automatic Block Signal System, which I understand has been retained by CP, but with half of the signals removed and block lengths doubled. That information might not be current.
By the way, the President and General Manager to whom Ray was the assistant was John P. Hiltz, who held the same position on the D&H. He was a civil engineer who had come to the D&H from the New York Central with Wm. White. White was President, and Hiltz was Vice President and General Manager. White went to the Erie Lackawanna while he retained the position of Chairman of the Board of the D&H. Hiltz became President while retaining his position as General Manager. The Operating Department (Engineering, Transportation, Mechanical and Signal) never took a back seat to anyone else on The D&H.
- Gordon Davids