IsLeta, New Mexico MP 915.0
View looks southward along the original mainline towards Belen, Rincon and El Paso. Known as the "Horny Toad" line, it was once the 1st district of the New Mexico Division. The absolute control signal at the left governs movement off this dark territory. Early photos indicate that it was a T-2 semaphore.The track at the right is the original A&P and a connection to the mainline at Dalies. The signal to the right controls movement through the junction and protects the siding. The original installation was a US&S Style -S semaphore. Photographed taken on 27 May 2000.
Isleta, formerly A&P junction, is located at MP 915.0 (about 15 miles south of Albuquerque) on the 1st District of the New Mexico Division of the Western Lines. This is the where the Atlantic and Pacific diverted westward to Arizona and California from the original mainline and is also the starting point of the Coast Lines Grand Division, with the Albuquerque Division being the first local division. Mileposts of the Coast Lines start at MP 12.6 at Isleta, the distance from Albuquerque, and end at MP 1189 in Richmond, California. In effect, there is no physical milepost 0.0 to 12.5 on the Coast Lines. The first interlocking plant, using a 16-frame, 10-working mechanical lever, was installed in 1916. A wonderful sequence of pictures on pages 189-190 from the book The Iron Horse at War, shot by the late Jack Delano during March of 1943, clearly shows the mechanical rods. The junction switch, as well as the 2486-foot siding on the A&P, was converted to CTC in 1959, with control handled by the dispatcher in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The line from Isleta to Belen is dark territory. CTC extends on the old A&P westward to Dalies and eastward to the beginning of double track at Abajo. Today Amtrak's number 3 and 4, as well as Barstow and Denver bound freights, access the mainline to Dalies through Isleta. Coal trains from the York Canyon mines continue on the "Horny Toad" line to Belen. The siding, due to its short length, is rarely used.

Isleta switch is lined for Belen and dark territory. The old main line has been re-aligned such that the original route is now a diverging route. The top head governs movement onto the Albuquerque Division and to Dalies, while the lower head governs continued movement on the New Mexico Division and on to Belen. Since movement would be to dark territory, the indication would be red-over-lunar.

Not the most handsome installation, this searchlight sits on a base once occupied by a semaphore. Speaking of semaphores, Santa Fe never adopted a double-arm semaphore for diverging route, preferring instead on the minimalist approach of one arm for both diverging and mainline movement.














































West end of Isleta siding looking westward. US&S H-5 dwarf and H-5 high signal protect siding and main movement. Bridge in background is New Mexico State Highway 314. The westend head block, beyond the highway and out of view, at one time had a US&S HC-9 siding indicator. When lit by the dispatcher, the HC-9 would display the letter S, which meant that the crew was to line their train into the siding by the hand throw switch. The switch is still hand thrown, but the HC-9 indicator was removed, leaving only the bracket from which it hung.
Distant "semaphore" on dark territory of the El Paso Subdivision warns of controlled territory ahead. View looks north toward Isleta, which is 1 mile away.