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Inside Union Pacific Railroad Black River Interlocking Tower

The Union Pacific installed a GRS 24 lever interlocking plant at Black River Junction Tower in 1914 and added lower quadrant semaphore signals between Argo and Black River. A year earlier, it installed a US&S 47 lever electro-mechanical interlocking plant at Argo. The Union Pacific installed CTC on the Milwaukee Road's trackage from Tacoma to Black River Tower in 1977. When the Milwaukee began shutting down in late 1979, the control panel moved to Black River Tower and was installed over the operators desk to the right of the interlocking model board. Black River and Argo towers were closed in 1985.

Black River Tower GRS pistol grip interlocking machine

Up inside the interlocking tower I am busy lining up the switches and signals for a UP train. To hear the actual sounds of working the interlocking levers, click on the play button above. You may have to enable active X for the sound system to work in some internet browsers. Disk 7

Black River Tower interlocking model board

If you look at the upper left corner of the board, you can see the diagram for the old Northern Pacific Black River Junction and wye. The Northern Pacific had an interlocking tower at this wye. It opened in 1909 and closed around 1935. The NP abandoned its trackage from this junction to Renton around 1970 and used trackage rights over the Pacific Coast (Milwaukee Road had trackage rights) to get to Renton and its trackage up the east side of Seattle to Everett. Disk 8

Burlington Northern Everett Turn

The Everett Turn departs Black River Tower as Extra 752 West at 2:20PM on February 23, 1973. This train came up from Auburn and used the interchange track north of the tower to get onto the Pacific Coast Railroad double track. The Milwaukee Road used the Pacific Coast Railroad to access Seattle. The power then ran around the train. The train will proceed east to Renton, then shift to former NP trackage and go up the east side of Seattle. Disk 8