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Pierce Junction is a quiet little diamond, located near the Houston Metro shops..... south and a little west of the downtown area.
The junction use to be between the Southern Pacific and the Union Pacific. The track heading north from the junction only services a few local industries on what is called the Columbia Tap. Heading west takes you to San Antonio via Rosenberg, site of Tower 17. Heading east takes you to Tower 81/T&NO Junction (now referred to as CP184), and the New South Yard just north of the junction. Heading south from the junction takes you to Arcola.
Adjacent to the west side of the diamond is a 2.1 mile long stub track for the Houston Metro Light Rail. The Light Rail track does not interchange with the UP... I wonder why?
The diamond itself is directly under West Bellfort St and surrounded by a complex road intersection. By the time I got here (after a whole day of railfanning in Rosenberg and following the Light Rail), there wasn't much light left.... oh well.
Aerial shots taken from www.bing.com/maps using Techsmith's Snagit!
Sorry some of the pictures aren't the best, as they were taken with a well overused Fuji Finepix camera with a high resolution of 2 megapixels..... my, how we have progressed!
For more info on the area and Texas towers, check out the links at the bottom of the page.
A US&S two aspect tri-light protects the diamond for SB going freights. This signal uses an LED "bulb" for the red indication.
For EB traffic approaching the diamond, the left track has a high searchlight signal, and the right track has a "mid" searchlight... can't call it a dwarf cause it doesn't sit down by the ground..... The right track is a siding approx two miles long. At the west end of it, there is a similar arrangement that I could see from www.bing.com/maps, but I don't have any pictures.
A Safetran two aspect tri-light (ok, triangular shaped color light signal - sue me) protects the diamond for NB going freights. There is however, no signal governing the moves onto the connector track other than the switch stand. As with the tri-light at location 1, this has an LED "bulb" for the red indication.
The left color light controls EB traffic prior
to the connector and the siding,
The second color light controls NB traffic heading to the EB main on the connector,
The third and forth shots are side and rear views of the first two color lights,
The dual searchlights second from the right control WB freights on the E-W main,
Signal photo at the right is all three signals at this location.
On the bottom row are a couple of shots from the crossover looking east.
This two head color light signal controls WB
freights before getting to the connector and the crossover,
At the right is a view looking west from the searchlight signal.
This Safetran two aspect color light signal governs the siding going back into the westbound main.
A rather poor excuse of a picture of the crossover, and a relay cabinet adjacent to it.
Seems most of the relay cabinets are from GRS.
For a great guide to the area, check out Steve Sandifer's Houston railfan guide at: http://www.atsfrr.net/resources/Railfan/Houston/Houston.htm
For more info on the towers of Texas,
http://www.towers.txrrhistory.com/index.htm (the motherload of information!)
Another great site with info on railroad structures in all of Texas (listed by county, ie: The city of Tyler is in Smith county, so don't click on Tyler county) is at : http://www.rrshs.org/Texas/txrrstruc.htm