Double Semaphore 4795
Grants Pass to Hugo, Oregon  Electrocode Project
Setting Signal head
During 2000 the Central Oregon & Pacific's Signal Department extended the Electrocode Signal Project from Hugo to Grants Pass, Oregon.  This work completes the elimination of Semaphores and poles lines from Glendale south to Grants Pass.  The modus operandi for this job was similar to the one in 1999: CORP's own crews did the work, Electrocode 4 Plus equipment was installed, a few colorlights fell along with the blades and it was completed over a period of several months as time and materials permitted.

Signals involved in this project:

Signal Numbers Signals Removed Signals Installed Notes Location
4864/4865 Double/Single Semaphores none   S. of Three Pines Rd.
4841/4842 none Tri-colors New "Flowerpot"  
4837/4838 Tri-colors none    
4826/4827 Tri-colors none   N. End Merlin Siding
4822/4823 none none Tri-colors retained S. End Merlin Siding
4809/4810 Double/Single Semaphores none   Along Merlin Rd.
4802/4803 none Tri-colors New "Flowerpot"  
4794/4795 Single/Double Semaphores none    
4786/4787 Single/Double Semaphores none    
4782/4783 none Tri-colors New "Flowerpot"  
4780/4781 Tri-colors none    
4773/4774 Single/Double Semaphores none    

As usual, click on the thumbnails for larger images

Semaphores at MP 486.4 The northern-most set of Semaphores that came out were nearly at the top of Merlin Grade and visible from Three Pines Road.  This "roster shot" of the blades was taken in February, 2000 while accompanying Rick Perry on his monthly inspections.
Rick and Semaphore at MP 481.0 The next set that fell were just visible through the trees along Merlin-Galice Road  near milepost 481 south of Merlin.  In this picture Rick (aka Xingman) poses for photographer Steve Crise to take a shot that would eventually show up on Xingman's Web Page


Semaphores at MP 479.5 A mile and a half farther south near Camp Joy Road these blades protected Siskiyou Line traffic.  Steve is concentrating his efforts on the unusual effect pictured below while Rick drops the blades for this photograph. 
Red eye effect in lamp I've only seen this happen once with a Semaphore and it begs to become the subject of a quiz:
What's happening in this picture?
   A.  An un-named maintainer jokingly installed a red lens in the lamp fixture.
   B.  The photographer used a digital trick to make the light appear red.
   C.  Red lenses are a standard safety feature in the event a colored roundel  gets broken or shot out, a restricting aspect would be displayed.
   D.  The sun just happened to be at the correct angle to shine through a red roundel and illuminate the lens in the light housing.
                           Correct answer is at the bottom of the page.
Trailer loaded with two sets of new signals and bungalows. On an overcast Autumn day, CORP crews descend on the signal project.  Already 110V power has been installed where needed, track wires have been dug in and the bases set.  Shown on the goose neck trailer are two complete sets of "Flowerpot" signals, with upright bungalows at the front and masts laying on their sides towards the rear. 
Base for new signal One of the prefabricated bases that has been set with wires dug in to it as well.  It's ready for the Flowerpot installation.
New case and heads The new case, masts and signal heads have been installed and are ready to be hooked up.  Notice that the heads are pointed away from the tracks to indicate that these signals are not yet in service.  Once the 110V commercial power and track wires have been connected, the computer will be programmed by an outside contractor.  Finally, when all the Electrocode installations between Grants Pass and Hugo are ready, they will be cutover in a single day.  During cutover, the heads on the new signals will be turned and aimed while the semaphore blades will be wrapped to indicate they are no longer in service.
New Flowerpot Installaton A few days after cutover the Flowerpot shown above produces a clear indication as Rick performs some tests on it.  Notice how this signal pair is not connected to the pole line on which the Semaphores relied.  These Electrocode installations "communicate" with each other using electrical pulses through the rails. 
Tri-color in Merlin Not all Electrocodes are Flowerpots, however.  Witness the E-code equipment in the top of an old Style B case at the south end of Merlin.  Southern Pacific had replaced the Semaphores at this location with the Tri-color lights shown here on shortened masts.  Rick is testing the new controls.
Dead Semaphores on log car Following cutover, the log train was used to remove the old signals between Hugo and Grants Pass.  Here the slain Semaphores lie on log cars like so much timber.  These cars spent a couple days in the old Miller Redwood spur at Merlin before being picked up by the Glendale Hauler and taken to Roseburg for disposal.  Some of the blades were damaged, unfortunately, but most signals will find new homes with collectors and railfans.
Rick and Dead Semaphores In an uncharacteristic show of emotion, Rick displays his sentiments about the slaughter of these silent sentinels of the Siskiyou. 

(Yeah, this shot was staged, but Rick and your web master were not in a very joyful mood that day in Merlin.)

If you answered "D" to the quiz about the red light in the picture above, give yourself an "A" for the day. The sun lined up just perfectly to produce this effect, further enhanced with a polarizing filter which turned the sky a dark blue.

All pictures and text Copyright (C) 2000 by Larry Tuttle

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