West End Levy
Blue winter at twilight casts a cold loneliness on the high country of New Mexico (no filters were involved in this photo). Lack of siding clearance has forced mainline signal to stand without case and siding signal to have a double case in order to handle both siding and main relays. This is the only location remaining to feature this arrangement. The other was the west end of Simpson, Colorado, but was removed in late 2000. A line relay malfunction prevents the westward siding signal from clearing
All siding signals on the Raton Line are continuously lit. The reason being that no siding is either bonded or circuited, making approach-lit impossible. But if it follows that the Santa Fe installed semaphores instead of color lights on the Raton Line because power was supplied from battery only, would not the siding signals require frequent battery renewal, thereby defeating the purpose of the semaphore? The Santa Fe solved the problem by installing sun relays to gage whether it was night or day, light or dark, so after hours the siding signals would be lit, in time of day they would be dark.

Little is known about the early sun relay -- how it worked, its sensitivity to light, or its reliability. None are known to exist. Early photographs show them to have a tube-like device protruding skyward and to be mounted above or near the signal case. Even though the sun relay would limit the lamp to nighttime operation, battery life was still brief compared to an approach lit signal. In all probability the sun relays were removed once AC power was strung atop the pole lines and the siding signals were converted to continuously-lit.

Light power westward sits in the hole at Levy for Amtrak number 4 to clear. For all the changes that have occurred to the rail industry over the last 30 years, it seems inconvivable that such a scene would survive the new millenium: Single track, ABS meets with fast cross-country passenger trains on jointed rail, all protected by semaphores.