Goodbye to the Searchlights

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CGW101c

CGW Fan
The post by EM Bell gave me a boost to go out and document the searchlight signals on the Omaha Line of the BNSF. This is an ex-CB&Q line that runs from Omaha to Ashland NE. where it intersects with the Sioux City Line, and the Plattsmouth to Ashland line along the Platte River. Then they all double track their way to Lincoln, NE. These are the ones I could reach from the roads. There are a couple that you would have to walk down the tracks to get to, such as West Chalco at the end of the passing track. And the one around 50th st. Those I left alone


ChalcoNE.jpg Chalco, my favorite. You could park in the parking lot by the station and watch the trains go by.

ChalcoNE2.jpg Chalco. Sometimes the passenger trains would meet here. The passing track here is really long so if the westbound came in, it would disappear around the curve to the west.

GretnaNE.jpg Gretna was replaced a while back.

EastMelia.jpg East Melia at the east end of the passing track. Sometimes the Denver Zephyrs would meet here.
 

CGW101c

CGW Fan
Not sure the history of Melia. Maybe Ed knows.


Melia.jpg Just tens of feet from the road is Melia. There is just enough curve in the road that you can take a side shot of the signal. Ok, I was off the road a little.

MeliaBug.jpg The dwarf(bug or pot) that guards the end of the passing track

MeliaBug2.jpg The dwarf and the replacement that dwarfs it.

WestMelia.jpg The TT west facing signal at West Melia guarding the entrance to the passing track. This is classic Burlington with the fineal on top. Really similar to the signal at Chalco.
 
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CGW101c

CGW Fan
The last one before Ashland that is easy to get to is the one at Linoma or MP45. Linoma is lake where you can camp or swim and at one time there was a restaurant there. The lighthouse in the backround was roughly halfway between Lincoln and Omaha on Hwy 6 before Interstate 80 was put in. Wow, I am old enough to remember when I-80 wasn't there. I am old.

MP45Linoma.jpg MP45 Linoma(not a named place on the railroad) but I am sure it is referred to as a marker in reference to a location when talking on the radio. Looks like these 2 will be replaced by 2 signals on the same mast.
 
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papio

Active Member
Nice shots and narrative Tom. As for info on Melia, sorry, but I don't have anything I can offer.
 

CGW101c

CGW Fan
Thanks for those views. I haven't seen the signal at 108th st since the trees and foliage grew up so much. Oh and don't forget all the houses that weren't there 30 years ago. TZ
 

papio

Active Member
This brings up a question: the new bungalow/light set just east of the gravel pit at Linoma has a double set of heads on one mast and a single head on the other. Since it's replacing two searchlights (one east, one west), why does the replacement have a double head on one mast?
 

CGW101c

CGW Fan
It could be a distant signal for the crossing at Ashland. I think that one is a permissive and not an absolute. I could also not have a clue about how these signals work.
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
More great photos guys!

Any idea why the searchlights in Chalco don't turn on for opposing traffic until after the train already passed? In this photo below, the light was dark the whole time, but soon as the locomotive passed, it lit up.
 

Crow

Member
This brings up a question: the new bungalow/light set just east of the gravel pit at Linoma has a double set of heads on one mast and a single head on the other. Since it's replacing two searchlights (one east, one west), why does the replacement have a double head on one mast?
Maybe as part of resignaling they are adding aspects. What is the next signal after the double head? Typically you have a double head in approach of a control point to give an Approach Diverging. It may have been that in the searchlight days it was a non-bonded siding and it gave a red over lunar at the switch so the approach signal was approach (yellow) but now you can get a red over yellow or better at the CP so the approach signal would be a double yellow. I know alot of the old WP had lunars at the sidings and when they would do signal upgrades they would signalize the siding.
 

brad_in_omaha

Active Member
This brings up a question: the new bungalow/light set just east of the gravel pit at Linoma has a double set of heads on one mast and a single head on the other. Since it's replacing two searchlights (one east, one west), why does the replacement have a double head on one mast?
Is the double for Eastbound or Westbound? Westbound there is another signal just west of the river and also the one at the diamond (MP 46.7). However Eastbound, the next signal is at the switch for the siding at Melia (MP 41.3). Could it the advanced approach for Melia?
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Any idea why the searchlights in Chalco don't turn on for opposing traffic until after the train already passed? In this photo below, the light was dark the whole time, but soon as the locomotive passed, it lit up.
Note: For those who haven't been following my MP 18 thread in the Western US forum, there is a two mile stretch of single track on the BNSF Seattle-Everett mainline between between MP 16 at Pt. Wells and MP 18 below Sunset Ave. in Edmonds. If my post below is confusing, check this thread for photos: http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29675-Mile-Post-18-news

That was the way the old signals at MP 18 worked. If a northbound (tt/east) train was approaching on the single track from MP 16, the signal for opposing traffic (southbound-tt/west) never lit up until after the engine passed the switch leading to the double track at MP 18 unless there was already a southbound (tt/west) train in the block. In other words, you got no advance notice of a northbound train approaching MP 18 unless there was already a southbound train in the block north of MP 18, then you would see a red light signaling the southbound to halt.

That changed after the installation of the new signals. Now a northbound train will trigger the opposing signals to both tracks to turn red whether or not there is a southbound train approaching MP 18. Hopefully the same thing will happen when the signals are changed at Chalco so you will have advance notice of approaching trains coming from the direction of your photo.

Brad: Speaking of photos, I miss yours. I hope you can get out more often this winter.
 
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brad_in_omaha

Active Member
For those who haven't been following my MP 18 thread in the Western US forum, there is a two mile stretch of single track on the BNSF Seattle-Everett mainline between between MP 16 at Pt. Wells and MP 18 below Sunset Ave. in Edmonds. Check this thread for photos: http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?29675-Mile-Post-18-news

That was the way the old signals at MP 18 worked. If a northbound (tt/east) train was approaching on the single track from MP 16, the signal for opposing traffic (southbound-tt/west) never lit up until after the engine passed the switch leading to the double track unless there was already a southbound (tt/west) train in the block. In other words, you got no advance notice of a northbound train approaching MP 18 unless there was already a southbound train in the block north of MP 18, then you would see a red light signaling the southbound to halt.

That changed after the installation of the new signals. Now a northbound train will trigger the opposing signals to both tracks to turn red whether or not there is a southbound train approaching MP 18. Hopefully the same thing will happen when the signals are changed Chalco so you will have advance notice of approaching trains coming from the direction of your photo.

Brad: Speaking of photos, I miss yours. I hope you can get out more often this winter.
Thanks, Hopefully I will get out more soon. My 2014 Train Page stops at August...

My wife and I bought a "Fixer Upper" house... Here is the current state of our kitchen! Needless to say, its been taking up all my time!
 

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Pitch a tent by the tracks and cook over a campfire. As long as you have running water in your "new" home, you're fine.
 




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