• Street Running Switches

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Gunsnclapton
I know this is extremely off topic from New York State and I hope that nobody yells at me for it but, when a railroad has in street trackage, how do they move the points? Do they have a switch machine way off to the side of the road or something?
  by Nova55
It depends on the switch type. If it is a single point (ala trolley style) or just an in pavement switch they just use a crowbar, often with a steel wedge slid in to keep them from moving. If it is a regular switch, it can have a switch stand in a steel box between the points or along side, called a submarine switch. Ill dig out some photos later if you want.
  by Flat-Wheeler
Yes, photos would be nice, please.
  by dutchboy
I know on the street running in Utica there is a switch into the brewery and the switch box is in the street next to the switch and im not sure how they throw the switch but when i saw them switching the brewery out they opened the box and moved it that way..
  by Nova55
Ok, here we go..

First we have a Bethlehem model 1222 parallel throw switch stand. In tight areas these are mounted between the points or right next to them.

Building on the 1222, (Its now made by sombody else, Dont recall who), in paved areas they are often mounted in a steel box with a hinged diamond plate lid. Racor made a variant of this with a cast steel box (you could lock the switch) with a hinged lid. These are called submarine switches for obvious reasoning. Over time they get filled with crap, water, mud, sand, etc.. These can also be mounted several feet away next to a curb to get out of the beaten path of trucks, etc. As you can imagine, they destroy them.

Here is a Tom Bukre photo from ChicagoSwitching.com of one of the Racor's.

In the older areas, used in conjunction with girder rail are tongue and nape switches (single point). Simple operation, use a crowbar to force the point over and put a steel wedge in to keep it. These are slow operating switched, usually with tight radius.

The modern day variation uses the same concept, crowbar and wedge, but uses 2 points.
  by bwparker1
Cool pics... Thanks for posting.
  by jaystreetcrr
There's some nice examples still in the cobblestone streets in the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn (Jay St. Connecting RR) and both working and abandoned ones on the NYNJ (ex-Bush Terminal) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
  by Nova55
Thats where all these were taken. :-D
  by Railroaded
General Mills in Buffalo has a street switch. There is a steel diamond plate cover over the hand throw that is located below the level of the roadway that is removed by the brakemen before throwing the switch and then replaced after.

-B in B
  by Otto Vondrak
Cool topic, but since it's not limited to New York State, I'm moving it to General Discussion so that more folks can participate and benefit from the conversation.

  by Paul W. Brasky
"...in conjunction with girder rail are tongue and nape switches (single point)." Did you mistype this and mean tongue and mate switches?
  by Gunsnclapton
Are there any videos of street switching in operaton?
  by airman00
Yes indeed, a cool topic! :-) I too would like to see a video of street switching in action.