This week's Interlocking Walkthrough takes us to a stereotypical Port Jefferson Branch interlocking, FOX. FOX interlocking is located to either side of Kings Park Station, far out on the Port Jefferson Branch. Here's a bird's eye view of the location.
FOX is one of those interlockings that is split up into two parts, FOX 1 and FOX 2. FOX 1 was always called FOX, named after retired LIRR Conductor Walter Fox. FOX 2 was originally called GREEN interlocking, before being renamed FOX for simplicity.
FOX interlocking is just like most of the other Port Jefferson Branch interlockings. The line is single tracked, there is a switch where the line widens to two tracks to go through the station platform (allowing two trains to pass each other while stopped in the station), and the tracks merge back together on the other side of the station and continue onwards. The interlocking consists only of two switches, one to the east of the station in FOX 1 and one to the west in FOX 2.
Meets typically occur at Kings Park station primarily during rush hours. An eastbound train and a westbound train are scheduled to arrive at the station at the exact same time, board passengers simultaneously, then proceed off in their respective directions.
While the switches do flip back and forth all day to have the right train going the right direction board at the right platform, meets usually only occur during rush hours. During most off-peak times and on weekends the vast majority of trains meet at Smithtown, one station to the east.
FOX interlocking has six of those pedestal dwarf position-light signals that are seen at the smaller interlockings.
There is no tower at FOX, the pleasure of handling FOX 1's switches have been the responsibility of DIVIDE tower since December 1963. FOX 2 (formerly GREEN) was remoted to divide in October 1977.
There used to be a spur to the Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital that split off to the north just to the east of the station (part of GREEN interlocking), but that spur has since been abandoned. If you click on the bird's eye link above you can still see that Bing Maps has the line for where the tracks used to go on the map leading to the hospital, but there are no longer any tracks there.
The nearest interlocking to Kings Park lies to the east, POST interlocking near Smithtown. DUKE is the next interlocking you'll see if you're heading west.
The speed limit is 65 m.p.h. through the area, through there is a 30 m.p.h. curve speed restriction on that long curve to the east of the station that will slow you down.