• "Jump crossings?"

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Aa3rt
 
This topic recently came up in the "Upstate New York Trolley History" Yahoo Group. Is anyone familiar with the term "jump crossings"?

These were crossings where a trolley line crossed a steam railroad at grade and the steam railroad would not allow the trolley line to cut its rails, meaning that the crossing trolleys literally had to "jump" across the steam roads rails. This sounds like it would be particularly hard on the flanges and wheels of the trolleys.

The poster mentioned the Buffalo Southern crossing the Pennsylvania Railroad in this manner and some other crossings on the Western New York and Pennsylvania Traction Company's crossings of steam lines in the area of Salamanca and Olean, New York and Bradford, Pennsylvania.

I'd especially appreciate seeing a link to a photo of one of these crossings if anyone can manage to dig one up.
  by Leo Sullivan
 
We had jump switches and, though you could have used the parts of them to make any temporary crossing,
even over someone else's line, they were usually set up as temporary crossovers.
They were flat bottomed grooved rail, just a grooved bar with no web and,
were spiked right to the pavement. There was (probably is) a set of parts and,
you just put them together. Here's a Brooklyn picture which is
good enough to show how they work (scroll down).
LS
  by polybalt
 
The temporary crossovers discussed by Leo were common in the street railway industry, along with their close cousins, the hose jumpers, used to get the streetcars over firehoses that had been laid out to fight a fire.

I think jump crossings as discussed were something else, and were permanent installations. Jump frogs are still used on occasion on turnouts where the vast majority of traffic is on the straight route, and the diverging route sees very limited service. The frog is arranged to raise up the diverging rail as it approaches the frog by about 3/4". The diverging rail then crosses the main rail with no break whatsover in the mail rail for the flangeway. the wheel rides across on top of the main rail (jumps) with the flange riding on top of the main rail.

I think the CTA in Chicago still has some jump frogs on emergency only crossovers on the "L". They certainly did 20 years ago. One recent installation is on the embedded emergency crossover in the middle of Howard Street on the Baltimore light rail line. At that location the reason for the jump frog is to avoid any noise or vibration without using a flange bearing frog on the mainline.

Actually I have seen a photo of an even more radical jump crossing installed only a few years ago where the SEPTA #11 streetcar line crosses the CSX mainline at grade in Darby. I assume it is still in service. The CSX rails are continuous and untouched. There are no frogs. The streetcar rails actually stop before touching the railroad rails and once again the streetcar wheels "jump" over the railroad rails. I can't believe it works, but obviously it does.
  by Leo Sullivan
 
I think I just answered it as if he said "jump switch". Where these switches were stored there were always a
lot of pieces that were not used in the regular crossover. There were straight sections and different curves and
bridge rails for crossing a line of hose. All of it was referred to as "lay-over rail".
(nothing to do with time at the end of the line)
The hose jumpers were separate from the other parts but except for them, you could assemble quite
a lot of temporary junctions etc. from the standard parts. Here in Boston, they used the crossovers a lot but,
I never saw a hose jumper assembled.
LS
  by JimBoylan
 
Prof. Hilton in his book "The Cable Car in America", claims that is was quite common for railroads when forced to allow grade crossings with horse and cable streetcars, to prohibit any interruption, cut, slot or flangeway in the railroads' rails. Of course, the slot for the cable car's grip had to be an exception.
So far, there has not been a derailment at the modern "jump crossing" on the Rte. 11 trolley at 6th & Main Sts., Darby, Pa.
  by Red Arrow Fan
 
polybalt wrote:Actually I have seen a photo of an even more radical jump crossing installed only a few years ago where the SEPTA #11 streetcar line crosses the CSX mainline at grade in Darby. I assume it is still in service. The CSX rails are continuous and untouched. There are no frogs. The streetcar rails actually stop before touching the railroad rails and once again the streetcar wheels "jump" over the railroad rails. I can't believe it works, but obviously it does.
I just drove over that crossing 3 days ago. In fact, I was right behind a trolley. It came to a full stop, bumped over the CSX rails, and proceeded on its way. The trolley flanges have worn a groove into the CSX railheads.

There were some pictures posted of this crossing somewhere on these forums a ew months back, but I couldn't find them today.
  by TREnecNYP
 
You know, some time in the last 2 months i stumbled upon a web page about some crazy tracks crossing, all owned by the same entity, where part of the track were put in/removed to get over the lead in track... They put in a section, that formed a slight "bump", and the vehicle rolled up over and down. It was pretty insane looking actually.

- A
  by JimBoylan
 
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey's Bronx, N.Y. Terminal had the temporary arrangement mentioned in the previous post. I think it was to get the engine house track over the leads to some other sidings, crossing over some of the switch points.
Mt. Washington, N.H. Cog Rwy. uses hinged instead of portable parts for their complicated switches.
Fairmount Park Trolley in Philadelphia, Pa. had a carbarn switch in its main track that lifted flanges over the main rail. Things like this are occasionally advertised by specialty track work manufacturers.
  by neroden
 
Someone (Bob Vogel) put up detailed photos of the modern jump crossing. It's quite something, actually.

http://wikimapia.org/5839417/SEPTA-Rt-1 ... e-Crossing

I guess this only makes sense under very specialized circumstances. The design gives the 'steam' line a smooth uninterrupted track and gives the 'trolley' line a track which I am surprised doesn't derail.

EDIT: Apparently these are getting popular in heavy freight railroading for crossing mainlines with shortlines. Google "flange bearing diamond".

http://www.flickr.com/photos/erikcoleman/3945602726/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonroma/14 ... 627537971/
  by Disney Guy
 
Looks to me that the railhead of the trolley line was slightly higher than the railhead of the main line railroad so the bump over of the wheel flanges is not that severe. (Bob Vogel's pictures of the SEPTA crossing)
  by 3rdrail
 
You'll notice that the cross-overs are almost always at an angle other than 90 degrees. The reason that this is is so the flange on the opposite wheel accross from the wheel that is making the climb is secured in place by a restraining rail. At a 90 degree cross-over, both wheels would be up on the other company's rail without any lateral support. There are quite a few versions of these. I have seen a "silent crossing" which is a gradually ramped flangeway which elevates the wheel off the rail entirely, riding on it's flange over the frog and opposing rail at switches. There used to be a jump-crossing at the first switch inbound out of Forest Hills Station, Leo. I believe that it was a remnant of the days of Shea Yard when it was a rarely used switch outbound into Shea.
  by HBLR
 
Of note: there was a close call at that crossing mentioned in Darby, PA. Was all over the news.
  by JimBoylan
 
It was a pedestrian who ran around the crossing gate and was bumped by the train. The S.E.P.T.A. connection was that their motorman witnessed it.
  by amtrakhogger
 
As a side question, does the Septa Rt 11 interrupt the CSX signal circuit when the trolley crosses or is the trolley operator "on his own?"
  by Patrick Boylan
 
I don't know, but I'm not sure why the railroad should treat a streetcar any differently than any other vehicle, such as a bus or flammable liquid carrying truck, that uses a highway crossing. The only difference I can see is that presumably, due to steel wheel on steel rail, the railroad may more easily sense the streetcar's presence than it would sense the buses or truck's presence.