Pinta South Siding -- Spring Switch West End


No railroad loved the spring switch more than the Santa Fe, and for good reason, they were instrumental in its development in the early 1920's. The purpose of the spring switch is to allow a trailing movement across the switch without having to align it to the reverse position, and when the trailing movement clears the points, the switch returns automatically to the normal position. The spring switch allows trains to leave a siding without having to align the points, in effect, an automatic switch. The Santa Fe used them on single and double track alike. If a spring switch fails to return to the normal position, the U-5 switch box (the silver box between the switch stand and the switch), which is tied to the switch points, would indicate an open switch and set the signals to restrictive. In the case of D-251 double track, where no signals protect reverse movements, a special line-side signal indicates the position of the points. This signal is not tied into the block system and therefore does not show occupancy, but when the points are normal, the signal is green; otherwise, it is red. Notice the switch stand lacks a target, but it is still possible to line the switch by hand. The letter "S" on the stand indicates it is a spring switch.