CP 280 and Auto 280 of the Syracuse Terminal Subdivision

  At milepost 280.5 of CSX's Syracuse Terminal Subdivision (STS) is control point (CP) 280 and the automatic (auto) 280 block signals. CP 280 is a semi control point and only controls Track 4. Track 1 and Track 2 are governed by auto block signals. The block signals for CP 280 and Auto 280 sit along Saintsville Road, about half a mile west of the North Kirkville Road crossing (MP280.7) in Kirkville, New York.

What is a control point?

  CPs are locations on a railroad where a railroad dispatcher's instructions are remotely sent to the CP to control train movements. The signaling system's logic implements the dispatcher's instructions in the field and determines what aspects the control point signals show. These instructions set a train's route and give instructions to the crew, such as the permissible speed. An automatic/intermediate block signal is different because they are only governed by track conditions within the automatic signal's block of track and the next signal. Dispatchers do not control automatic/intermediate block signals.

CSXT 859 leads I159 west on Track 1 through the Auto 280 block signals. To the right is Saintsville Rd
In this view looking east, CSXT 859 leads I159 west on Track 1 through the Auto 280 block signals, next to CP280. To the right is Saintsville Rd.

CP 280 and Auto 280

 Due to the control shack having "CP 280" stenciled on the side, it is easy to mistake all the block signals here as part of the CP. A clue that only Track 4's eastbound signals are CP signals is because they are the only ones constantly lit. The other tracks' signals are approach lit, including the westbound signal for Track 4. All CP signals on this rail line are constantly lit. Also, train crews will call out "Auto 280" when approaching the signals for Track 1 and Track 2. 

Looking east from Brewer Rd. at CP 280 (left signals) and Auto 280 (center and right signals). Only Track 4's eastbound signals are part of CP280.

  I came across a forum topic on Railroad.net (external link) that discussed CSX's signal upgrade project on the Water Level Route across New York in 2013 and 2014. It confirmed that CP280 only controls eastbound movements on Track 4. Tracks 1 and 2, as well as westbound movements on Track 4 are controlled by automatic block signals.

CSXT 812 leads I017-26 west at Auto 280 in this view from Brewer Rd
With I017-26, led by CSXT 812, the approach signals of Auto 280 (Track 1 and Track 2) have turned on.

  Generally, a CP has one or more switches. However, having a switch isn't a requirement. CP 280 has no switches and thus no connections to any other track. Track 4 runs straight through. Because CP280 only controls some of the block signals here it is considered a "semi" CP. 

Looking west from N. Kirkville Rd., as AMTK 716 leads P284 on Track 2 at Auto 280
Looking west from N. Kirkville Rd., as AMTK 716 leads P284 east on Track 2 at Auto 280.

A bit of history about Auto 280

Q626-08, led by CSXT 908, is eastbound on Track 1, nearing Auto 280. The NYC
signal bridge stood on the far side of the power pole left of the tracks.

Twelve hundred feet to the west of today's current block signals was a New York Central (NYC) signal bridge (external link). The signal bridge's block signals governed all three tracks here. In 2007, CSX installed the current track-side block signals for Track 1 and Track 2, and the old block signals for these tracks were removed from the signal bridge. The automatic block signals for Track 4 were still operable on the bridge. In 2013 and 2014, CSX implemented a signaling system upgrade on this line across New York. CSX installed CP280 for Track 4 in 2014, and the old NYC signal bridge was torn down.

This NYC whistle post stands on the south side of the tracks, about 1,300 feet
west of CP280/Auto 280. The NYC signal bridge stood just to the east of it.

Photographs one and four taken on March 30, 2022.
Photograph two taken on March 29, 2022.
Photograph three taken on April 27, 2022.
Photograph five taken on February 9, 2022.
Photograph six taken on January 19, 2022.


  1. Really interesting post. Thanks for the link to Railfan.net as well. Great shots as always too.

    1. Thanks a lot, Shelly. Glad you found the post interesting.


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