They'd always been there and they always would be, wouldn't they? Those two sets of blades in my home town. I never failed to glance their way on my way through town to check "What's on the tree". Twenty five years, they'd been my sentinel of activity on the Siskiyou Line. While building an office across the street, they warned when a "train break" was near. Sure, I'd watched as Semaphores fell up and down the Siskiyou, always denying it would happen to the Home Town Blades.
Summer 2001: Rick told me they'd be replaced with the Depot Street upgrades. Reality. They were Endangered and marked up as such on the Siskiyou Line Semaphore List. Bummer.
Funny, I'd seldom shot their picture. They were taken for granted
all these years...and those years were about to run out. For
the rest of 2001 and much of 2002, I made a series of detours on the way
home when they showed a train approaching. Different trains, different
aspects, various angles, new lighting.
|On a demonstration run in June, 1999 an Amtrak Talgo train splits
the blades in Rogue River.
My only good shot of them before they were endangered.
|For several months, it was as if trains avoided me when I was near
4650 and 4651. There they stood, blades drooping with no train between
Grants Pass and Gold Hill.
Finally, my luck changed and I caught Job 201, the Grants Pass Turn as it got a "Clear" through town in the fall of 2001.
|Job 504, the Medford - Glendale Hauler splits the blades in the winter of 2002.|
|Job 505, the Glendale - Medford Hauler (power and crew from the 504 returning ) with loads from Superior Lumber in the winter of 2002.|
|View from the conductor's side of 505 in late August, 2002. Two months remain in the service life of Semaphores 4650 and 4651.|
|Still standing tall after 90 nears of service Siskiyou Line signal
4651 protects the rear of the just passed Grants Pass Turn.
Above is a contrail left by a jet flying passengers between the Pacific Northwest and California. Three and four generations ago, this Semaphore cleared and protected passenger trains on this same route.
|The day finally comes when 4650 and 4651 are taken down.|
All material © 2003 by Larry Tuttle
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