|Semaphore Signal 8831|
|The best angle on 8831 is from the back. . In the background is the Bernalillo plasterboard plant, one of the few on line customers within semaphore territory. Photo 3 July 2000|
Nice signal, bad location. Signal 8831 sits in the midst of modern clutter along Interstate 25. Nothing has changed the landscape of America more than the Interstate Highway System -- where it goes, trash is not far behind.
Interstate 25 roughly follows the Raton Line from Albuquerque to Trinidad. Only when the railroad needs an easier gradient do the two part ways. From Albuquerque to Waldo the railroad and freeway are in the general area. But between Waldo and Glorieta Pass, the Interstate leaves the railroad and continues to Santa Fe, while the railroad turns east along Galisteo creek and crosses under the Interstate. The two will not come together for another 30 miles at Canoncito. Needles to say, these 30 miles are some of the more bucolic and peaceful on the route, away from the constant din and billboards of an Interstate. Now, as Interstates go I-25 is fairly mellow, but with the passage of NAFTA in 1993, every year sees more and more truck traffic. The next major separation is a short stretch outside Las Vegas between Chapelle and Romeroville - 9 freeway miles. The third is between Watrous and Wagon Mound, 23 freeway miles. And the final stretch is between Springer and Maxwell, 12 miles.
When the last of the Colorado semaphores between La Junta and Trinidad disappeared in 2000, the biggest loss was the isolation of time and space. Semaphores along a lonely two-lane US highway: no freeways and no towns, just wide-open country, jointed track, and semaphores. A trip down US350 was a trip into the year 1935 and trip with Otto C Perry.
|Front of signal 8831. In the background is US 550 exit from I-25 in Bernalillo, NM.|