Posted 11 February 2004 - 09:44 PM
Tim's pretty much got it for you Acela 2020. It was tough railroadin'.
Typically in 1901 (especially in the Ozarks) the few interlockings that existed were manually operated. That is, either manned by operator(s) at a tower, or of the "Stop and Go" type.
A "Stop and Go" worked this way: By rule, a train approaching a crossing diamond had to stop and secure the crossing before proceeding. Worked just like the principle of 4-way stop signs in todays automobile traffic settings, only with trains.
As for forwarding trains in the face of opposing movements with no signals, it was done via "Train Orders". I'll type one quick example of a Train Order for a "positive" meet below, then I'll interpret it for you:
To C&E: Extra 3 North
Extra 3 North take siding and meet Extra 4 South at Beaver
"To C&E" = To Conductor & Engineer
"Extra 3 North" = A non-timetable (i.e. "scheduled") train movement, in this case it's Engine #3 and it's heading north. (duh)
"Extra 3 North take siding and meet Extra 4 South at Beaver" =
The crew of Extra 3 North will need to stop and align the switch for the siding, enter it, and stop in the clear, closing the switch behind them. Since this order example has no other attached instructions, they will then wait at that siding until the opposing train arrives, or another Train Order is delivered to them superseding or annuling the above order. Same holds for Extra 4 South. If it arrives before Extra 3 North, then they will hold the main track and not procede unless the order is superseded or annulled by another Train Order.
It was gutsy railroading indeed.