State-of-the-art Computerized Signal and Switch System successfully installed on Babylon Branch
With the successful completion of testing this past weekend, the Long Island Rail Road cut over to a modern, computerized microprocessor-based signal system on the Babylon Branch at two important switching areas - Amityville and Wantagh. And, with the new, state-of-the-art technology comes greater train service reliability on the LIRR's largest branch - serving over 64,000 customers daily.
In addition to the promise of greater service reliability, the new signal system at Amityville and Wantagh also provides greater compatibility to operate with a Central Control System - which is the LIRR's ultimate goal, to Centralize Control of the switching and signal system from Jamaica. The upgrade at Amityville and Wantagh builds upon the modernization work completed, under the MTA's Capital Program, at numerous interlockings (switching areas) throughout the Railroad over that last decade - including some of our busiest interlockings at Jamaica (2010), Valley Stream (2009) and Queens Village (2008).
Prior to this past weekend's change over, the routing of trains at Amityville and Wantagh Interlockings were controlled by Babylon Tower, with back up control at Valley Tower in Valley Stream. Now, these two interlockings are controlled from the Babylon Tower, with a redundant, back up system that is also located at Babylon Tower.
Over the last 3-1/2 years, the LIRR has been busy laying the groundwork for the Amityville-Wantagh signal cutover. Over 15 miles of new cooper and fiber optic signal cable was installed; eight new switches were installed (four at Wantagh; four at Amityville); four new signal bridges replaced old ones and 12 new signal devices were installed. Prior to this past weekend, over 1,000 pre-tests of the signal system were performed. In addition, more than 400 individual tests were successfully completed this past weekend to place the new system into service.
The cost of the Amityville-Wantagh Signal Improvement Project is approximately $23 million and funding was provided by the MTA Capital Program.
Right-Of Way Cleanup
LIRR workers conducted a clean-up of the Railroad right-of-way on Saturday in the area west of Babylon Station while shuttle bus service replaced trains between Freeport and Babylon as the LIRR performed testing to cutover to the new signal system. Hauled away was approximately 32 cubic yards of debris, 500 old railroad ties and 62 tons of scrap metal.
Photos of the railroad tie and scrap metal track cleanup: