In 2013, the Big Creek & Southern management authorized the installation of centralized traffic control through the control limits of HK Tower. The CTC machine is a model of a Union Switch and Signal CTC board and resides in HK Tower where the dispatcher and trainmaster work together to direct traffic on the railroad. The photo above is new Signal Bridge #2 located at the south limits of HK Tower. This special staged photo includes Zach Mikko (St. Louis) on his oil-fired Nickel Plate Mikado (2-8-2), Richard Osborn at the throttle of his CSX MP-15, and Pat McCarthy steaming into the scene on his BC&S #8906 oil-fired Mountain (4-8-2).
Signals in CTC territory are all US&S H2 searchlight signals. The signals were created and assembled by our Chief Dispatcher, Jim Duncan, and are available for purchase through his business, Railway Icons.
HK Tower was recently renamed in recognition of the many and long-term contributions of Harold K. Vollrath to the Big Creek & Southern.
The internal hardware that operates the CTC machine consists of two products - the Signal Man and Tower Man from Dick Bronson and RR Cirkits, Inc. (www.rr-cirkits.com). Each control point on the railroad is also equipped with one or both types of these hardware boards to drive the signals and switches or report track occupancy state back to the CTC machine.
All of the hardware is inter-connected using a variation of the Digitrax LocoNet known as the simple serial bus. Control and logic for signal and switch operation uses the JMRI PanelPro software (jmri.sourceforge.net).
When fully installed, the CTC system can be operated from remote locations via internet connection and will also be "viewable" in real time here on the BC&S website.
Here is a night view taken from the same vantage point showing the high visibility of our new searchlight signals and dwarf signals through the limits of HK Tower.