Semaphore Signal 8782














Despite the territory having mostly 112lb, 1945 to 1953 jointed rail, the right-of-way is in excellent condition. Crushed stone ballast, 24 9-foot cross ties per 39 feet, super-elevation on curves, well tamped tangents, and good drainage with firm sub-grade, all make for a 79 mph (and until recently, 90mph) passenger and 70mph freight right-of-way. I dare say there is not a territory in all North America that has a jointed track so exquisitely preserved and authorized for higher speeds. The Raton Line is truly a throwback to 50 years, where it is still possible to hear the rapid fire of clickity-clack from wheels moving at speed. Any territory worth up-keep has long since installed welded rail, and though each year sees more ribbon-rail, especially on curves, stick rail runs all the way to Ellinor, Kansas.

The concrete bridge in the distance has recently replaced a ballast-deck pile-trestle across the arroyo, further indication that the railroad continues to make capital improvements to this secondary mainline. Parched and dry most of the year, the arroyo during the Monsoon season of July and August is capable of becoming a raging river. To prevent a mishap during these infrequent events, a High Water Detector is installed under the bridge. If the water in the arroyo reaches a prescribed level, a float device will set signal 8782 and signal 8771 (for westward trains) to red; after which the train may cross only after inspecting the bridge for safe passage. The sign to the right, labeled HWD, indicates that a device for that bridge is in service. They are also listed in the timetable.