Preparing to cut down 4596
Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad

June, 2000 
Semaphore Replacement
 Near Gold Hill, Oregon

On June 28, 2000, the crew from the previous day's semaphore slaughter near Central Point returns to the railroad north of Gold Hill to replace another set of blades with color lights.  This set of signals at MP 459.6 was one of the last two remaining semaphore installations between Tolo and Rogue River.

Please click on the pictures  below for larger, 640  pixel, images

Last picture of Semaphores 4596 and 4597 In this, the "last rites picture", the crew has assembled, a new signal head lays off to the left, the outriggers of the boom truck are extended and work is about to commence. 
Cutting the rod in 4596 Your Web Master happened upon this scene on his way to work and hung around as the first Semaphore (4596) was cut down.

In this picture, Tom Hunt has already cut the ladder and mast and the crane has lifted the mast so he can cut the actuating rod.

Removing the blade Completely free of the remaining mast and base and lowered to the ground, Dave Putman cuts the cotter pin holding the blade on the mast.  He takes care not to damage the blade itself.
Light head, without the blade The blade and pinnacle have been removed exposing the lamp, a view seldom seen even in Semaphore Country.  The head will be removed shortly and the mast laid on the truck bed.
4596 without head; 4597 still standing tall In about 15 minutes, the semaphore has been cut down and dismembered. 

Your Web Master had to leave for work, barely late at all.

Cutting the mast on 4597 Tom goes back to work on the mast of 4597 blowing a shower of sparks.
Naked mast The pinnacle, blades and lamps removed what's left of 4597 is laid on the truck bed.
Pulling rods from mast with suspended head Keith Rusnak extracts the blade actuating rods from the shortened mast while the new head hovers above.  Note that this set of color light heads feature hoods.  Stacked color lights such as this are in a minority on CORP and hoods like these are rarer still.
Aiming new signal head Before the new head is firmly secured to the mast, it must be aimed.  Tom is looking through a sighting tube towards a point down the track where a train crew would ideally want to view this signal.  He then adjusts the head to this  optimal angle and tightens it in place.
Dead Soldiers These slain semaphores, that faithfully guarded the Siskiyou Line for over 8 decades, lay forlornly, like some sort of big game trophies on a triumphant hunter's rig.
Finished Installation The change out complete, the crew starts to disperse as Rick fires off one more picture of the installation.  Note that the signal on the right has only two aspects while the one on the left has the typical three.  The right hand head replaced a single semaphore blade which was only capable of a clear or restricting indication. 
What's Next?
     CORP is installing Electro-Code signals between Hugo and Grants Pass this summer.  This will result in the replacement of all semaphores along that section of track as well as the retirement of the Three Pines Road Wig-Wag in Hugo.  Cutover is expected near the end of the Summer. 
     Also, Hwy 238 construction in Medford will result in replacement of the set of double/double semaphores in the Medford Yard about the same time.
     Alpha Rail Pages will post pictures and descriptions as these projects unfold.
All images and captions Copyright 2000 by Larry Tuttle

Once again, Special Thanks to Rick Perry and the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad

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This Manifest assembled July 1, 2000
And last yarded on December 3, 2000