Metra Electric District - Kensington Interlocking




Metra Signal Aspects for Entering Kensington Interlocking - Northbound

Kensington Interlocking is at the west end of the NICTD line. NICTD trains continue to downtown Chicago via the Metra Electric District. Metra has signals at both ends of the Kensington station platform controlling trains leaving the station. Signals at 14-21, 14-37 and 14-78 mark the outer limits of Kensington Interlocking.

Effective February 15th, 2012:
Westbound (inbound) trains enter Kensington Interlocking on Track 2 then pass through signals at 14-37 and 14-21. Westbound NICTD trains passing the platforms at 115th St / Kensington enter Kensington Interlocking on Track 1 across the CN-IC diamonds then pass through signals at 14-51, 14-37 and 14-21. Eastbound (outbound) NICTD trains pass the platforms at 115th St / Kensington pass through signals at 14-21 and 14-51 and arrive on NICTD Track 1.
Kensington Interlocking

The main part of the interlocking is shaded in pink. The north part of the interlocking is shaded in blue.
Electrified tracks are highlighted in yellow.
Entrance from NICTD

New signals in service January 2012
NICTD Connection Prior to Track Change
Westbound signals were controlled by Metra
Eastbound signal was NICTD CP 75.3 (signal on Track 1)

Westbound / Northbound Trains from NICTD
This page focuses on the signals located at the west end of the NICTD South Shore Line that are used to control train movements from the NICTD South Shore line through Kensington Interlocking. Passenger trains connect through the interlocking to Metra's Electric District. Freight trains connect through the interlocking to the Canadian National "Illinois Central" line (CN-IC). All movements through Kensington Interlocking are controlled by Metra.

Photographs of Kensington Interlocking and the signal described here are available on the Kensington Station page.

The westbound connection between NICTD and Metra is an upgrade of the freight crossovers on the CN line with two new connections put in place between CN-IC Track 1 and Metra within the north interlocking. These connections give NICTD trains access to Metra tracks 3 and 4 without passing Kensington Station's platforms. Construction began in 2010 with trackwork on the CN lines followed by the installation of catenary supports. The crossovers were installed in October 2011 and catenary was installed in December. The connection was first used by passenger trains in February 2012.

Northbound Passenger Trains to Chicago
The aspects and paths shown at the right reflect connecting directly to Metra Tracks 3 and 4 north of the Kensington station. All routes through Kensington Interlocking from NICTD are considered diverging routes. New signals have been placed east of Kensington Interlocking with Track 2 leading to the CN-IC tracks (and the new connections) and Track 1 leading to the Metra tracks (and Kensington Station).

A new signal on CN-IC Track 1 at 14.37 on the Metra Line controls the final crossover to Metra. The crossovers from CN-IC to Metra are also diverging routes. The least restrictive aspect possible entering Kensington Interlocking for a train following the new connection is "Diverging Approach".

Train Cleared to Proceed
Shown to the right are the "Diverging Approach" and "Restricting" aspects a passenger train cleared to use the new connection can be shown.

"Diverging Approach" is presented to trains cleared to enter the interlocking when the next signal is "Diverging Clear", "Diverging Advance Approach" or "Diverging Approach" (the train will be able to continue past the next signal without delay).

"Restricting" is presented to trains cleared to enter the interlocking when the next signal is "Restricting" or "Stop" (the train will not be able to continue past the next signal without delay).
Westbound Track 2 from CP 75.3 - Passenger Trains
Train Not Cleared to Proceed
A train not cleared to proceed through the interlocking receives a "Stop" indication.
Northbound Freight Trains
Northbound freight trains are directed on to the CN-IC tracks that run parallel to the Metra Electric District (former Illinois Central suburban service). No freight traffic is allowed on Metra's Electric District. The paths through the interlocking shown to the right is the normal path for a northbound freight train going to the CN-IC lines.

CN-IC Tracks 1 and 2 are main lines signaled in both directions. The next signal northbound is near the north end of the Kensington station platform on gantry 14-37. CN-IC Tracks 1 and 2 extend north and then west connecting to the St Charles Air Line north of 16th St. CN-IC Tracks 3 and 4 are not signaled and end 4.5 miles north near 79th St. CN-IC Track 4 connects with the other railroads including the NS Fort Wayne line at 95th St.

Train Cleared to Proceed
The two signal diagrams to the right reflect a cleared path through the interlocking. Which CN-IC track will be used north of Kensington is not evident from the signal (all potential paths are shown) however CN typically uses right hand running.

"Diverging Approach" is presented if the track is clear to the next signal on the CN-IC (gantry 14-37) and that next signal is not "Stop" or "Restricting".

"Restricting" is presented if the next signal is "Stop" or "Restricting", or if the train is routed to unsignalled track.
Westbound Track 2 from CP 75.3 - Freight Trains
Train Not Clear to Proceed
A train not cleared to proceed through the interlocking receives a "Stop" indication.
Northbound Passenger Trains via Kensington Station
Effective February 15th, 2012, northbound trains are normally directed via Track 2 as shown above. However passenger trains may still pass the Kensington Station platforms using the route and signals shown to the right. (NICTD South Shore trains do not stop at Kensington, effective February 15th, 2012.)

Train Cleared to Proceed
The first two signal diagrams to the right reflect a cleared path through the interlocking. Which platform track will be used north of Kensington is not evident from the signal (all potential paths are shown) however Metra typically uses right hand running.

"Diverging Clear" is presented if the track is clear to the next signal on Metra (gantry 14-51) and that next signal is "Clear". "Diverging Approach" is presented if the next signal is not "Clear", but is not "Stop" or "Restricting". "Restricting" is presented if the next signal is "Stop" or "Restricting".

A "Clear", "Approach" or "Restricting" signal will allow the train to enter the interlocking and proceed to the next signal.

The aspects in the lower box of each diagram are the appropriate aspect for NICTD's CP 73.8 signal for a train arriving at CP 73.8 on Track 2 (normal right hand running) and crossing over to Track 1 in order to pass the platform. "Diverging Clear" is presented if NICTD has cleared the train to cross over and Metra has cleared the path through Kensington Interlocking.
Westbound Track 1 from CP 75.3 - Kensington Station
Train Not Cleared to Proceed
A train not cleared to proceed through the interlocking receives a "Stop" indication.

South Shore Railfan Home
Railfan.net Home