Another reader question!
When going eastbound off the Steel Bridge into Old Town/China Town there is a box with a button at cab height… what does this do?
There are a few of these on the alignment – I knew I had a picture of this particular one somewhere:
A lot of areas of the alignment, such as the transit mall on 5th and 6th, Interstate, and Washington Street in Hillsboro have secondary call loops that a train can stop over to re-call their pre-empt if it times out. Another way an operator can get their pre-empt is at push buttons like this one (also seen in other places on the alignment such on Burnside near 97th Ave before Gateway and at 197th by Ruby Junction). They work kind of like a crosswalk button where an operator can reach out of the cab window and hit the button to get their signal. This one was put there for an operator to recall the pre-empt if they came over the Steel Bridge and their leader was still in the Old Town/Chinatown platform.
At intersections that don’t have a secondary call loop or push button, an operator will have to call Control for permission to proceed through an intersection, also known as “SOP an intersection” when they don’t have a permissive pre-empt to continue.