Avenue W #1, Birmingham, AL

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Avenue W #1, Birmingham, AL

Post by freebrickproductions » Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:12 pm

*originally recorded on 11-13-20*

Signal on the left: 4 pairs of Safetran 12x20 inch lights, a US&S Model 95 gate mechanism, and RECO LED gate lights.
Signal on the right: 2 pairs of Safetran 12x20 inch lights, 2 pairs of Safetran 12x24 inch lights, a General Signals Type 2 electronic bell, a US&S Model 95 gate mechanism, and RECO LED gate lights.

On November 13th, I made yet another return trip back down to the Birmingham Metro Area, this time to try and get a few more crossings on the BNSF Birmingham Sub recorded. When I got down there, BNSF H-BIRMEM was getting ready to leave the yard. After a little while of waiting, the train pulled up to this crossing and stopped just short of it to wait for a crew change, causing the signals here to time out.

After getting a crew change, and a bit more waiting, H-BIRMEM finally got going on its trip north to Memphis. Here we see it pass through the crossing with an H2 ES44DC leading an H3 ES44C4 on the head-end and an H2 AC44EV working as the rear DPU! Certainly nice to see a pair of H2 GEVOs on this train, especially with the one leading! There were also a few high & wide loads right up front as well, not really sure what the first two cars would have though.

First off, apologies for the heavily backlit shots, this was really the only side that I could get a good angle on the crossing of, and it was also the more interesting side. Maybe someday I'll come back down here when it's cloudy for a better shot, but we'll just have to see.
But anyways, this is a pretty nice crossing. Originally this signal had a pair of older Safetran cantilevers installed by the Frisco back in the 1970s. The signals had all older Safetran 12x20 inch lights, Safetran gate mechanisms, and a Safetran mechanical bell on the closer signal. The crossing appears to have remained unchanged up until sometime in the 2000s, when the lights here were all upgraded to newer Safetran lights (each signal getting two pairs of Safetran 12x20s and two pairs of Safetran 12x24s) and the bell was replaced with I believe the current GS Type 2 e-bell.
The crossing was left unchanged once again until sometime between 2009 and 2011, when BNSF replaced both of the original Safetran gate mechanisms with the current US&S Model 95s. Also, around this time, BNSF put in new foundations behind both signals, most likely intending to replace both signals here. However, when Street View came through in 2015, only the cantilever on the far side had been replaced, with the crossing not really having changed since. In fact, the old Frisco cantilever on the right still has the newer foundations behind it, having gone unused for close to a decade.
Interestingly enough, the newer cantilever on the far side is another Safetran cantilever that appears to have been re-used from a BN install somewhere, lights and all. Not entirely sure where it would've come from, but it's certainly neat to see BNSF re-using older equipment here. Speaking of re-used equipment, the gate mech also appears to have been re-used from the Frisco-era cantilever it replaced.
All in all though, I'm glad to have been able to record this crossing. Especially since it retains a nice, long older Safetran cantilever here, which I don't really see all that often. Hopefully it remains for many more years to come, but even if it doesn't, then I'm glad I got this chance to get a video of it (even if it ain't the best).

There should be a legal limit as to how humid it can be on any given day during the summer here in the South...
Probably a furry.

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