Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

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Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Well, NS has gone through recently and made a bunch of changes to the Memphis East, so here they are from west to east.

Starting off, the signal with the General Signals e-bell at the crossing on AL 20 in Courtland has been replaced entirely with a brand-new cantilever signal. The lights are Safetran 12x20 inch lights (incandescent) and the bell is a newer second-generation Safetran Type 3. This is the first "new" Safetran Type 3 I've seen NS put up in a couple of years, but I'm not sure if it was re-used, new old stock, or is indeed brand new. While I discovered this change a few months back, I have yet to get back out there and get it documented so no pictures or videos of it yet.

Over in Decatur, Vine Street #2 has had the mast signal upgraded to Leotek EV Series LEDs:

The block signals around VIne Street #1 have also been mostly replaced, unfortunately.

Also in Decatur, Bibb-Garrett Road has had some of the lights on the crossing replaced again:


Heading east to Madison, Graphics Drive has had the bell on the signal with Safetran lights replaced with a re-used Safetran Type 3:


Also, Madison Boulevard has also had the mast lights on one of the cantilever signals replaced with re-used Safetran 12x24 inch lights. I believe these came from Church Street in Huntsville.


Speaking of Church Street in Huntsville, the remaining pair of Safetran 12x24 inch lights have been replaced with Safetran 12x20 inch lights:


Also, going back west a bit, Holmes Avenue #1 had the gate arms and gate lights at it replaced. The shoulder signals now have NEG gate lights while the median signals use RECO gate lights, all of which are incandescent. A video of this crossing should be posted later tonight.

Continuing east to Brownsboro, Brownsboro Road has had the signals at it replaced entirely:

The old signals are standing at the signal yard in downtown Huntsville, and appear to be getting prepped for use at another crossing. Not sure which one though.

I've also finally gotten Houston Street in Scottsboro recorded since it was upgraded, the video should be getting uploaded tonight.
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:41 pm

Also, found out today that the City of Huntsville is looking to build an overpass to replace the Old Highway 20 crossing when said road gets widened to five lanes:
https://www.al.com/news/huntsville/inde ... iver_index
AL.com wrote: Big changes planned for quiet road near Mazda Toyota plant
Updated 11:33 AM; Posted 11:32 AM

Image
An $18 million overpass is planned for this railroad crossing on Old Highway 20, which will be expanded to five lanes to accommodate the nearby Mazda Toyota USA Manufacturing facility. In the background, dirt can be seen rising from grading work at the plant site Sept. 19, 2018. (Paul Gattis/pgattis@al.com)

By Paul Gattis pgattis@al.com
The enormity of the $1.6 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA facility in west Huntsville is perhaps accentuated by a road.

While the plant site sprawls over hundreds of acres in rural Limestone County and is essentially so large it's almost impossible to see, Old Highway 20 provides an anecdote.

The two-lane Old Highway 20 provides the southern border for the plant site and is a low-traffic avenue.

Huntsville officials said plans are for the quiet road to become a five-lane highway.

Near the eastern end of Old Highway 20, an $18 million overpass is being planned to move traffic above a railroad line that will be a critical part of the plant infrastructure.

"Old Highway 20 is going to be a five-lane curb-and-gutter road and we definitely do not want an at-grade crossing right there," said Kathy Martin, director of the city engineering department. "So we're going to build an overpass."

Huntsville has applied for an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund the $18 million project, Martin said.

Martin said Huntsville is working with Norfolk Southern Rail on the overpass initiative.

The project also has the support of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville. Brooks sent a letter Sept. 10 to Elain Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, urging approval of the city's grant application.

"It is important our community stay ahead of possible safety and congestion problems resulting from our rapid growth," Brooks said in a statement. "With Toyota-Mazda employing 4,000 workers who will commute by car every day, the intersection of Old Highway 20 and the Norfolk Southern rail line near the plant site is set to go from bad to worse if not addressed.

"The intersection has already proven to be hazardous with 61 accidents reported since 2009. I fully support the City of Huntsville's efforts to ease congestion and safety issues at this intersection and urge Secretary Chao to give this project her full consideration."

The city of Huntsville is providing $40 million dedicated to Old Highway 20 improvements as part of its $320 million incentive package to Mazda Toyota. Also included in those incentives are $6.88 million in a rail spur extension to the plant.

Grading work continues at the site in preparation for a groundbreaking later this year and the construction of the facility.

Production is expected to begin in 2021.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks letter supporting overpass project by pgattis7719 on Scribd
Image
Also, it's worth noting that this crossing hasn't had a single accident at it, according to the FRA. No idea where they got the "61 accidents since 2009" figure from, unless they were talking about Limestone County as a whole.
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:49 pm

Got a few more updates to share.

First off, Graphics Drive in Madison has had the overhead lights on both cantilevers replaced with Safetran 12x20s, though the mast lights still remain the same:


Interestingly enough, two of the pairs of new overhead lights at the crossing came from Church Street here in Huntsville.

Madison Boulevard has also had two of the pairs of overhead lights replaced with some Safetran 12x24s that were re-used:


One of the pairs came from Church Street in Huntsville as well, while the other appears to have come from Jackson Street in Courtland, AL.

And finally, as you probably guessed the overhead lights at Church Street were also replaced, with new Safetran 12x20s:


All of the lights are incandescent, as you can see. Not sure if there's been any other changes, but I will let y'all know if I do find any (though it likely won't be soon as my car goes into the shop for a few days starting Monday). However, I would like to know where that one gated signal that was set-up at the "signal yard" in downtown Huntsville wound-up going to...
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:09 pm

freebrickproductions wrote:However, I would like to know where that one gated signal that was set-up at the "signal yard" in downtown Huntsville wound-up going to...
Well, I just got my answer today. Turns out that the signal with the properly working bell at Moores Mill Road #1 was knocked down and had to be replaced. The other Safetran bell at the crossing was also replaced as well:


Also, on a side note, the HMCR has reused one of the WRRS 8 inch lights from the knocked-down signal at Bob Wallace Avenue on the damaged signal at Lily Flagg Road, which is nice, I suppose.

The HMCR still plans to replace the signal though.
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:39 pm

A few more changes have occured out in Madison, which are detailed in the video below:


Not shown in the video, but Shelton Road has also had the older gate arm at it replaced, and also has all NEG gate lights on the new gate arm. The dying Safetran Type 3 is still there, though.
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:55 pm

Got another update to Shelton Road, that I found out today while chasing NS A81. It turns out that one of the signals was replaced entirely, somewhat recently, and the Safetran Type 3 that had been dying was either fixed or replaced. The changes are detailed in the video below:
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Sun May 19, 2019 10:47 am

Got two more changes from April that I probably should've posted about sooner.

First off, Cleveland Avenue #1 in Huntsville has had the 12x20 inch changed back to a 12x24 inch light, along with most of the lenses being replaced. NS has also finally, after about 8 or so years, replaced the "3 Tracks" signs with the correct "2 Tracks" ones!


Secondly, Vine Street #2 in Decatur has had the cantilever finally upgraded to LEDs, will all but one light using Leotek EV Series LEDs. The one LED that isn't from Leotek is a GE Uniform Look LED.
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Re: Changes on the NS Memphis District East End

Post by freebrickproductions » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:22 am

Two quick updates before I head off to the CSX Dothan Sub for two weeks:

#1. Oakwood Avenue here in Huntsville, AL has had its gate lights upgraded to RECO LEDs, as seen in this video from 7-15-19:


#2. According to a local railfan on YouTube, Memorial Drive in Decatur has had the dying Safetran mechanical bell replaced with a General Signals e-bell.

No other changes to report, as of right now.
There should be a legal limit as to how humid it can be on any given day during the summer here in the South...

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