In late October, 2002 the new Electrocode signal system was cutover and 4650 and 4651 were disconnected from the track circuitry. Their blades defaulted to Stop and orders were issued for trains to ignore their indications. Their service life was over. They awaited the coup de grace.
I've witnessed the torching and removal of other Semaphores on the Siskiyou Line so I had to be on hand for this one. I received word from Rick that it would happen of October 29 but at the last minute the boom truck developed mechanical problems and the removal was put off a day. Early on October 30 I made my way 7 miles down Evans Creek to MP 465.
|The day dawns clear and cold. 4650 and 4651 stand in silhouette against the sky as their last night on the Siskiyou Line comes to an end.|
|Slowly the sun rises to light Fielder Mountain and illuminate the Semaphores. Frost on the ties and gold in the trees: Autumn is definitely upon us.|
|Men and trucks descend upon 4651. A hacksaw is brandished and the pole line drops to the ground.|
|A large storage battery is removed from the bottom case. Rick handily cuts the cable connecting 4651 to 4650 across the track.|
|A track wrench and a strong back strain onto nuts applied generations ago. Three nuts break loose. One resists; more muscle is applied; a one inch bolt slowly twists in two. A pair of ladder nuts are taken off.|
|Boom extended, block dropped, rigging is attached; the signal is ready to be lifted.|
|4651 is lifted free from its base and immediately turns 180 degrees.|
|The signal is lowered onto the bed of the boom truck. In less than 20 minutes, the deed is done. The Semaphore has been removed.|
|Signal Maintainers Rick Perry and Tom Hunt talk next to 4650 while 4651 is secured to the truck. Before noon, 4650 will suffer the same fate as its mate and the City of Rogue River will be forever without Semaphores on the Siskiyou Line.|
|What happens to decommissioned Semaphores? Well, it's not all bad.|
All material © 2003 by Larry Tuttle
|Alpha Rail Net||CORP Home Page||CORP Signals Page|