Semaphore Signal 8402
Looking eastward at signal 8402 on a cold sundown in late December of 2000. System at rest for signal 8402 is normally yellow as it is the approach to CTC and the control signals at the westend of Lamy. If 8402 clears to green, the dispatcher has lined the west signal at Lamy for an eastward movement. If the signal suddenly drops to red, a westward train has departed the westend of Lamy.


Signal 8402 signifies the start (or end) of ABS overlap signaling. Between the end of CTC at Lamy and the beginning of double track at Hahn, a distance of 63 miles, all signals are staggered except at the end of sidings. On the entire Raton Line, from Albuquerque to La Junta, this is the only stretch of single-track ABS overlap. All other sections are CTC, double track, or ABS Absolute Permissive Block (APB). Being that this section is overlap indicates that it was an early installation. In fact, all semaphores between Lamy and Domingo were installed in 1924. Santa Fe didn't adapt the more sophisticated APB system on the Raton line until 1926, even though APB had been around on other railroads since 1917.

Probably the most difficult signal to reach within the overlap area, signal 8402 is near the town of Galisteo, New Mexico. To access it, take US 285 southward from I-25 to NM route 41 southward. At the town of Galisteo, go west on county 42. Drive about 3 miles to the grade crossing. Signal 8402 is about one-and-a-half miles east (north) of the grade crossing. The right-of-way access road has a hefty cable and is usually locked, so you will have to hike to the location.


This is northern New Mexico high country at its finest. In the far distance is the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. All around is deep blue skies with endless visibility. The blade on 8402 drops from yellow to red, and in a few minutes a late number 3 heals into the curve and slides by at 79 m.p.h., kicking up the snow and disturbing the quite. Nothing has changed in over 76 years