This old… house?

Er.

No idea what this little thing used to be, but it looks like nowadays it might house a power station-y thingie for the Summit train station. It’s almost under the Summit Avenue bridge.

Most stuff in downtown Summit isn’t this dilapidated, so this structure really stands out.

Edit: According to my dear darling mother, this may have been a hangout for either the yard master or the train watchman. I’m not clear on the duties of the yard master (I guess he’d generally supervise?), but the train watchman would watch for trains, and—from what I understand—try to make sure they didn’t run over anyone when they passed through.

Although there’s an automotive/pedestrian bridge over the tracks now, if this structure predates that bridge (but post-dates that road), it’d make sense that someone would’ve needed to operate a gate to keep people safe.

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2 Comments to “This old… house?”

  1. Before the days of electricity and automatic switches, there used to be a train watchman. He watched for the coming trains (he usually had a schedule, so he knew about when the trains were coming), and would go out and put the gates down before the train came along. He’d hang little lanterns on the gates at night so you could see the gate. He might swing his lantern when he walked outside to put the gates down so that you could see him and not run hm over. After the train passed, he would walk out and put the gates back up. It was all manual. The alternative was no gate at all- just a “Stop-Look -Listen!” sign.
    Perhaps this little house was the urban equivalent of what we had in the suburbs of a train watchman’s house.
    It looks, however, like it might have been the place for the yard master- can you see the entire train yard from this point? I wonder how they contacted each other for switching trains onto different tracks, etc., without electricity? Little metal tubes?

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