Thursday, June 24, 2010
VIRGINIAN RAILWAY Searchlight Signal 1949
The signal I have has a build date stamped inside of the mechanism case of December 1, 1949.The signal was used at two different locations. Its first life was along the mainline between Pax and Page, West Virginia, according to a former VGN signal maintainer. It probably was at Wriston, milepost 421.1, where the line was single track and it was a flag stop for passenger trains. The location is three miles west of Oak Hill Junction and three miles down a westbound falling grade of 2%! After the merger with N&W in 1959, the railroad lengthened several blocks in 1972, eliminating many signals. The signal was disassembled and moved from mp 421.1 to a new yard which was being created at Pluckett, West Virginia (pictured above right) on the Morri Branch of the former Virginian's Guyandot River line. The Interstate Commerce Commission had reduced the number of hours railroad trainmen could work to 12 and the railroad management knew that coal mine run crews could not complete their runs from Elmore Yard (Mullens, WV) to the coal mines of that area and return in twelve hours. Thus the Plunkett Yard was created as a home terminal and it had to be signaled. That was when my signal saw a second life until December 2007 when NS replaced it with a modern, hooded, color light signal. Its third life (pictured above left) started in the spring 2008 in our yard, standing tall and proud as in years past. It doesn't feel the ground shake with passing steam locomotives. It doesn't hear the squeal of passing wheels. No trains roll past it now: Just wildlife strolling by.