Story: Michigan Central Adopts the Automatic Block Signals

From the Detroit Free Press, January 14, 1891

The Michigan Central is progressive. It is one of the first roads at all times to give a trial to any new apparatus which is expected to render travel safer, and always adopts what is shown to be practicable and useful, with little regard for expense. It was among the first to try the compound engine, and is now one of the few roads on which these expensive but efficient locomotives are doing regular service.

The latest move of this road will take effect next Monday. For several weeks preparations have been in progress for placing a part of the road under automatic electric block system of signals which is one of the most efficient methods known for preventing collisions. The first test of the system will be made on the fourteen miles between Junction yard and Wayne Junction.

On Monday next at noon the signals will be placed in operation. These signals are the disc type, showing safely in daylight by withdrawal of the disc, and safety at night be a white light; and showing danger in daylight be the display of a red disc and danger at night by the display of a red light.

There is a signal every half mile, thus rendering it next to impossible for one train to run into another except by the grossest carelessness on the part of the engineer.

The signals will always so show danger if there are any open switches, as they are all connected. When these signals are in operation the engineer will always have the assurance while running that the next half mile at least is clear.

The Michigan Central people believe in paying out money for the prevention of accidents rather than for paying damages after a disaster.