• Photo location?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by KevinD
Does anyone have a guess as to where this photo was taken?


Somewhere between Buffalo and Cleveland, winter of 56/57. When Al Perlman joined the NYC in 1954, the Central was still mostly a 4 track property. Up to then, the NYC had only dabbled with CTC in two locations, one involving the T&OC property in 1927 and the other involving the Big Four between Terre Haute IN and Pana IL in 1952 (2MT to 1MT reduction there). With Perlman now at the helm, the NYC did its first 4MT to 2MT CTC program in summer 1956 between Buffalo and Cleveland. They started along the lakeshore probably for two reasons - the CTC equipment in the field would be tested by lake effect snows and if it survived and remained operable there, it would work anywhere on the NYC system on a large scale. Also, NYC had the CASO between Niagara Falls and Detroit to serve as an easy diversion overflow relief valve if the CTC field equipment had somehow been lacking in endurance. The photo is probably winter 56/57 since the CTC is in but the deactivated outer mains are still intact and have not been lifted yet. Photo appears to look east, with grape fields on the left and the Nickel Plate on the right.
  by charlie6017
I am guessing anywhere between Ripley and Westfield, given the close proximity of the NKP and NYC to each other.

  by BR&P
Agree, tough to say because that was probably only temporary until the project could be extended. You'd almost need an ETT and a track chart to pin it down. Grapevines on one side and the NKP on the other pretty much describes the entire distance! :wink:

Not sure if it's a telephoto foreshortening the view, but those crossovers look pretty sharp for mainline traffic.
  by ExCon90
Very likely -- the poles look awfully close together too.
  by RailKevin
The photo appears to have been taken from a bridge. There are not many bridges crossing the tracks in the area described, and some of the bridges may have been constructed more recently. However, one such bridge dates to the time of the photo. It's the NYS Thruway bridge over the tracks near Brocton, NY. This part of the Thruway was completed in 1955. Also note there is a crossover north of the bridge, in the same direction the original photo was taken. This could just be a coincidence.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4131996 ... a=!3m1!1e3
  by TrainDetainer
I agree with Brocton. It's the only spot that checks all the boxes. That would be CP-47, which is still there. Sidings were from CP-47 to CP-49 until they were gradually wiped out by derailments/downsizing. Westfield was next siding location and only 9 miles west (CP-56 to CP-58) so Brocton became somewhat redundant. CP-49 is one of the more recent removals and only the right-hand crossover remained at the end. My memory is fading but Brocton's crossovers may have been 30MPH and we avoided using them when possible.
  by KevinD
To me, the key identifiers are the fact that the 2 tracks fan back out to 4 tracks at the bottom (west) AND that the double crossovers are east of the 2-to-4 ladder. There were only a limited number of places where both outer mains were retained as sidings, and even fewer had the double crossovers at the east end.

I'm not convinced this is from an overpass. It could have been from the top of a bracket mast signal or from a bucket truck. The photographer is no higher than the crossarms of the commercial power pole in the distance that was added to supply power to the CTC relay case. I'm not sure if this was some sort of official picture for the investor annual reports where the expenditure for some lifting mechanism like a bucket truck would be warranted.

Silver Creek had double sidings and double crossovers at 31. 32 on the west end had no crossovers. Trouble is the geography does not look like Silver Creek (main built on a culvert fill, mainline curve not too far east)

Dunkirk had 37, 39 and 42. Double sidings from 37 to 39, single crossovers at 39, and only north siding from 39 to 42. No double crossovers at the east end (37) but the west end (42) did have double crossovers.

Westfield had double sidings between 56 and 58, but no crossovers on east end (56) only doubles on west end (58)

Erie had double sidings from 79 to through 85 to 89, and single on the north side from 89 to 92. 79 had double crossovers on the east end (plus a connection from the NKP joining south siding). 85 and 89 also had doubles, but 92 had no crossovers. Erie would also be the target of another CTC project in 1963 that likely saw the north siding removed from 79 to 83, 85 reduced to a 2 track pinch point at the PRR diamond (eliminating 2 of the 4 diamonds), and both sidings between 85 and 89 reduced to non-controlled industrial tracks.

Lake City had double sidings from 100 to 103, no crossovers on the east end (100) and doubles on the west end (103) where the PRR E&P joined.

Conneaut had double sidings from 113 to 117. Double crossovers at east end (113) and no crossovers at west end (117).

Ashtabula had double sidings from 124 on the east end, through the diamond at OD and down to 130 on west end. Both 124 and 130 featured double crossovers.

Perry Oh also had double sidings between 145 and 148, with double crossovers only on west end (148)

Painesville Oh had double sidings from 152, thru 154 to 155 North siding began at CP 150 on east end. CP 154 in the middle was the only interlocking to have crossovers.

Willoughby is next and the beginning of triple track into Collinwood at 162.

And then you had the single siding locations where the interlockings at each end were single crossovers designed to funnel traffic from either main into the siding from either direction.

21 to 23 in Angola (south).
47 to 49 in Portland (south)
63 to 66 in Ripley (south)
70 to 73 in North East (north)
134 to 137 Geneva (north)
141 to 143 Madison (north)

Probably a lot of siding overkill, but being the first major project and not having the simulation software available today they probably erred on the side of generous. Much of the overkill eventually would be thinned out over time, or deleted from derailments, etc.
  by TrainDetainer
Kevin, you've practically eliminated any other possible location besides Brocton with all that. Combine that with what BR&P said - the vineyards and the nearby parallel Nickle Plate and the long tangent - and the fact that there are clearly still today vineyards to left (although the field shown in your pic is now without) and a now-overgrown field to the right that match, unlike any other possible location, and I think Brocton is a clear winner. Whether the pic is from an OHBR or some other doesn't really matter much at all, but it's possible and even probable that it was taken from a signal structure as there are no EB ones visible. I don't know what standard NYC practice was back then, but the signals would be in close proximity to the Thruway bridge so more than likely on ground masts. If that's the case the EB main track mast would be between Tk2 and the south siding, which is a perfect alignment with the photo angle.