Wig Wag Replacement

Three Pines Road
Hugo, Oregon

Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad

Updated October 21, 2000


     As a part of their ongoing signal system upgrade program, the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad is in the process of replacing one of the 7 remaining Wig-Wag signals on the railroad.  Wig-Wags such as this one were once prolific on the Southern Pacific guarding grade crossings throughout the West.  Today, they are considered marginal at best from a highway safety standpoint.  This particular signal will be replaced early in 2001 as part of CORP's Electrocode installation between Hugo and Grants Pass, Oregon.

Please click on the image above and those below for larger pictures

Swinging Banner at Three Pines     Still fully functional after 80 years on the job, the wig wag swings away during CORP Signal Maintainer Rick Perry's monthly inspection. 
     As seen in this picture and the one below, Three Pines Road curves sharply on both sides of the track.  In spite of the stop signs, drivers often speed through the crossing oblivious to the tracks.  Sad as it is to see this ancient signal replaced, the safety of the traveling public is at risk here and CORP is to be commended for installing a full set of lights and gates.
Old and new cases MAY 13, 2000

     This view looking towards Merlin (railroad south) shows the layout of the equipment.  In the foreground is a Style B Semaphore case currently being used to house the control devices for the Wig-Wag.  The case to the left has just been set and will house the controls for the new gates and lights.  Note the stop signs and cross bucks on both sides of the tracks as well as the single Wig-Wag. 

Layout of Three Pines Road crossing and equipment      Looking north shows all the equipment plus a green cover is just visible in the center near the bottom of the picture.  This houses the end of the conduit bored under the road through which track wires, and wires for the lights and gates will run.
Digging in track wires May 23, 2000

     Rick has dug a trench (yes, by hand) for the new track wires.  Here he's splicing the underground wires with the bond strand wires going to the rail.  The black ABS pipe is a riser or "bootleg" to house the splices as the wire comes out of the trench and goes to the rail.
 

Harmon HXP 3 controls and Wig Wag
May 24, 2000

     The Harmon HXP-3 electrical components (right side of case on the shelf) have been installed in the new case and connected.  Today the electronics were fired off and control the Wig-Wag temporarily.  In another case of ironic contrast on CORP, year 2000 technology is mated with a 1920 signal. 

Loading power poles on Hi Rail Boom Truck June 13, 2000

Power poles for other new signal installations down the line are loaded on CORP's hi rail boom truck.  The railroad contracted out the 120V  electrical service work, but needs to assist the contractor set the poles in inaccessible locations.

Setting power pole at Wig Wag      The crew from Midvale Electric sets the pole for new power service.  Until this service is connected, the Wig-Wag will continue to operate from the 120 V. wires on the Pole Line which is fed to the new case through the old Style B case in the background. 
     While this was going on, the boom truck was sitting on the track to the left and had shunted the circuitry setting off the Wig Wag.  The banner swung back and forth and the bell clanged for over half an hour.  (And your photographer thoroughly enjoyed the sights, sounds and irony of it all.)
Autumn, 2000 Update The Three Pines Road Wig-Wag received a reprieve and will be left in place through the winter of 2000-2001 until its replacement is available.

The Style B case has come out with power fed to the new case from the pole shown above.

All pictures and captions Copyright 2000 by Larry Tuttle

Thanks to Rick Perry and the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad


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This manifest assembled on May 24, 2000
With pickups added December 3, 2000