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Photo of the Month - January 2008

Summit Interlocking Tower


200dpi jpg (50K) bo-0126

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Train #233 westbound at Summit interlockingI tower.  A PRR eastbound freight is passing under the Photographer's feet.  I wonder just exactly what the photographer is standing on?  Locomotive #5308 is a P-7,  Presidential class 4-6-2.  Before the B&O took the names off these locomotives #5308 was named the President Tyler. The date is January 16, 1955, photo by Donald A. Kaiser.

        This shot reminds me of why I like photos of steam locomotive.  If this train were diesel powered you wouldn't know if it was stopped or flying down the track (unless it were a first generation Alco doing its imitation of a steam engine). With steam there is no doubt the fireman has a good fire going and #233 is moving fast.

        There were 20 P-7, 4-6-2's built in 1927 for the B&O's top passenger trains, which did not include the route through Columbus, Ohio.  As the B&O equipped their Washington - New York trains with diesels the P-7's were moved to the lesser routes like the Cincinnati - Pittsburgh Trains #233 and #238.  It gave the railfans in Columbus a chance to see these special locomotives in action during the last few years of steam before it all ended.  A five car train wouldn't have been much of a challenge for a P-7.  One P-7, the 5300, President Washington, is preserved at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.


200dpi jpg (41K) bo-0128

Another view of Summit tower action this time on January 1, 1955.  Again this is Pittsburgh - Cincinnati Train #233 on the Newark - Columbus sub-division.  It will soon start down a 1% grade on its way to Columbus.  Those pipes coming toward the camera let you know Summit was an "Armstrong" tower.  Switches were controlled by large levers in the tower connected to pipes which were in turn connected directly to the switches.  The operator used his strong arm to change the switch direction through this mechanical connection.  Photo by Donald A. Kaiser. 

        The Newark-Columbus subdivision was jointly owned by the B&O and PRR.  The B&O was the original owner so it staffed many of the towers along the 33 mile Columbus-Newark division including Summit tower.