NS: Signals to Go Dark South of Binghamton

HISTORIC LINE GOES DARK AS NORTH-SOUTH TRAFFIC SEEKS A BETTER ROUTE

29.January, Binghamton NY – Norfolk Southern has filed notice to discontinue the CTC traffic control system (TCS) on its D&H Subdivision south between Binghamton NY and Harrisburg PA, on the Keystone Division.

In FRA Docket# FRA-2021-0010, NS seeks permission to discontinue the TCS between milepost (MP) HA 629.3 to MP HA 715.7. This includes control points CP 629, CP 631, CP 648, CP 650, CP 659, CP 661, CP 672, CP 673, CP 697, CP 699, CP 714, and CP 716, plus six automatic signals.

Summersville PA

NS acquired the CP line between Schenectady, NY and Sunbury, PA in 2015. The line was seen as a gateway to New England, and was to become a major corridor for traffic. However the line has struggled to sustain adequate traffic. Here, NS 11R passes through the CP 631 signals.

01.February, Binghamton NY – Norfolk Southern has filed notice to discontinue the CTC traffic control system (TCS) on its D&H Subdivision south between Binghamton NY and Harrisburg PA, on the Keystone Division.

In the FRA Docket# FRA-2021-0010, NS seeks permission to discontinue the TCS between milepost (MP) HA 629.3 to MP HA 715.7. This includes control points CP 629, CP 631, CP 648, CP 650, CP 659, CP 661, CP 672, CP 673, CP 697, CP 699, CP 714, and CP 716, plus six automatic signals.

Dark territory

The main track and sidings between MPs HA 629.3 and HA 631.5, HA 648.0 and HA 679.3, HA 697 and HA 699; and HA 714 and HA 715.7 will be converted to NS Rule 171 operation. One operable approach signal will be installed at MP HA 676.

The move replaces signal aspects with manually transmitted Track Authorities or the equivalent of a Track Warrant in GCOR.  The authority allows trains to move from Block Station to Block Station through verbal communication between train crew and dispatcher.

NS rules governing future operations are:

  1. Non-Signaled Track – Mandatory Directive Authorizes Movement

Where designated by bulletin or special instructions, use of the main track will be authorized by issuance of a Mandatory Directive, under the direction and over the initials of the Train Dispatcher.

  1. Communicating Station Names

In Rule 171 territory, prior to passing the location of each station sign, the Conductor (or a Conductor trainee or trainmen in the absence of the Conductor), will announce by radio the Timetable station name and specify the track designation when operating in multiple track territory.

No new traffic envisioned

The writing is seemingly on the wall for the former D&H south end territory, as the move to discontinue signal operations normally precedes or accompanies a significant traffic decline on the route and when there will be no future traffic increase.  The move may also signal a decline geared toward divesting the trackage in the future.  There has been no specific information regarding a line sale, however NS traffic between Enola, PA and Binghamton, NY remains at one train each way daily.

The official NS reason for the proposed discontinuance is that operations no longer require TCS.

Nicholson PA

NS train 11R crosses the famous Nicholson Viaduct. This once busy corridor has seen declining traffic since CP owned the line. NS plans to create a more attractive corridor for traffic between New England and the south.