Signal 1862, Allentown


Though daytime temperatures on the Plateau climbed into the 90's on this September 2nd date, by morning a distinct chill is in the air. The daily monsoon rains have disappeared and the cool of the air portends a change of season. In the un-poisoned air of the high desert and without interference of city lights, it is possible to see the faintest of morning twilight from the eastern horizon, and riding the wave of light is the morning star, Venus. At this hour everyone is asleep -- the few citizens of Lupton, the weary traveler along the Interstate, even the truckers have halted their frenetic pace and have bedded down in their rigs, which are littered at every pullout along the highway. Only the Santa Fe is awake. A westward Z train laden with pup UPS vans has just kicked up a cold gale.

US&S placed a small peephole at the back of the red position, which would show a white light to opposing movements in the event of a red signal. The purpose was to confirm to crews that the opposing signal was not a false clear and that the bulb was functioning properly. The feature had limited importance in double-track territory, and over the years the Santa Fe had painted over most of the peepholes. Somehow signal 1861's backlight has survived, as evidence by our westward Z train's passage.

Behind us is a full moon ready to set. We'll walk to the other side of 1861 to watch its descent, the results of which are displayed on Signal 1861.