Signal 1942

 

Construction of the 2nd District in 1883 presented few problems for the Atlantic and Pacific. No major earthwork, no major crossing of water or canyon, no major grades and certainly no tunneling. The only obstacle, if you can call it that, was where the Rio Puerco threads Querino Canyon, or Box Canyon, between Houck and Sanders, a distance of 4 miles. The wall of the canyon draws fairly close to the river, leaving only a shelf for which to locate the right-of-way. The A&P thought it prudent to stake a small grading crew in advance of the railhead to hold the canyon should the SP, or other hostile railroads, make prior claims. By staying within the canyon the railroad was forced to follow the river's exact course, and this presented the only speed- restricted curves on the entire 2nd District. Here was a perfect 100 M.P.H. railroad limited by a small canyon. So when 1940 rolled around and money was no longer a serious issue, the Santa Fe began work on eliminating the restriction. In doing so they elected to by-pass the canyon in a straight line using a major cut and fill, plus a 374.8-foot deck plate girder bridge across the Rio Puerco, the longest and highest on the 2nd District. The relocation shaved nearly mile from the timetable, with the short mile being 2899.7 feet between milepost 196 and 197. The eastward lanes of Interstate 40 now use a portion of the abandoned right-of-way, where travelers can view both the original right-of-way and unused bridge abutments.

Only 4 signals were relocated within the line change, but instead of using R-2 colorlights, the AT&SF elected to use H-5 searchlights, this being the signal of choice after1940 on the 2nd District. Deep inside the 3000 feet cut is signal 1942. The hour is early, 2:00 AM, on September 2, 2001.