Santa Fe Railway Signal History

This is a collection of information gleaned from Railway Signaling and Communications and a variety of other sources. One sharp eyed railfan spotted a typo and it has been corrected. Additons and corrections are welcome.

1900 to 1909

North Fort Worth Tower 18 was built in 1904. It may have started as a mechanical interlocker but was equipped with a 97 lever GRS model 2 interlocking machine before 1925.

In 1905 the first signals on the Coast Lines were installed on a short stretch of single track west of Needles. The eight signals were lower quadrant single arm semaphore signals.

Redondo Junction Tower was built in 1906. It was equipped with a GRS Model 2 electic interlocking machine. Functions at the tower were shut down in 2001. After a fire in the tower was torn down in 2017.

In 1906 ATSF planned to install six miles of upper quadrant semaphore singlas between Los Angeles and Garvanza.

In 1907 it installed a Saxby & Farmer interlocking machines at Lynn and Wootton on Raton Pass. The Lynn plant had 30 levers and Wootton 40 levers. The Lynn plant was rebuilt in 1929 reducing the number of levers to 10.

The Santa Fe installed a 24 lever mechanical interlocking at Dalies, NM in 1908.

During 1909, ATSF planned a mechanical interlocking at the junction at the north end of Belen yard. Two more switches were place under the control of Tower 75 in Amarillo. Telephone dispatching was placed in service between Chillicothe and Chicago. This made 660 miles of Western Electric telephone dispatching between Newton, KS and Chicago. Manually operated train order boards were being installed at 22 stations on the Panhandle Subdivision between Waynoka, OK and Clovis, NM.

train order board at the Hereford depot

Jack Delano took this picture of the Hereford depot and train order board on his westward trip across the Santa Fe in 1943. You will see several more of his pictures of various signals along the Transcon Route in this report.

1910 to 1919

On the Santa Fe, the first upper-quadrant signals on the Needles District were installed between Barstow and Daggett, completed in December of 1911. The signals were US&S, alternating current, 3-position upper-quadrant Style-S. Most of the signals on the Needles District were this type. Santa Fe double tracked and added signals to the rest of the Needles District in 1923. Some signal experts think that some of the Needles District had colorlights installed originally. Although the Santa Fe favored the DC model of the T-2 for the rest of its system, there is no evidence that a US&S T-2 was installed on the Needles District since it was all AC.

On October 21, 1912 the Santa Fe completed the installation of double track and automatic block signals between Needles and Goffs.

In May 1913, the Santa Fe completed the installation of double track and automatic block signals between Needles and the Colorado River bridge near Topock.
Automatic block signals were installed between Flagstaff and Ash Fork in May 1913.
Automatic block signals were installed between San Bernardino and Cajon, CA and beteen Baca and Perea, NM during the summer of 1913.
The Santa Fe began installing automatic block signals beteen Yampai and Seligman during the summer of 1913 and completed the installation of automatic block signals on 27.5 miles of double track between Ash Fork and Seligman in May 1914.

During April 1914 the Santa Fe complete installation of automatic block signals on 59 miles of double track between Winslow and Flagstaff. An eight lever interlocking was installed at Canyon Diablo for the gauntlet section of track on the bridge. This was changed to an automatic interlocker before 1929. I think the Topock bridge also had an automatic interlocker for the gauntlet section of track on that bridge by 1929.

signal bridge near Sunshine, AZ

Riding in one of the brand new FT diesels, Jack took this picture of the signal bridge near Sunshine, AZ in 1943. The signals were installed in 1914. This illustrates part of Santa Fe's left hand running between Belen, NM and Pineveta, AZ.

In 1914 ATSF completed installation of upper quadrant signals in the following areas: Cajon to Summit, CA 8 miles, Horace to McCartys, NM 10 miles, Suwanee to Rio Puerco 14 miles.

It also added two GRS interlocking towers at Wichita, KS: North Tower had 80 levers and South Tower had 72 levers. And added a 20 lever GRS interlocking tower at Brenham, TX.

During 1916, the Santa Fe added signals between Watrous and Shoemaker, NM. The Santa Fe completed a 10 lever mechanical interlocking plant at Isleta, NM and was in the process of replacing an old 24 lever mechanical plant with an 82 lever electric interlocking at Tower 19 in Dallas.

In January 1917, the Santa Fe was planning to install a 104 lever electric interlocking plant at Corwith at the crossing of the Chicago & Alton.

During 1917, the Santa Fe was planning to add 54 upper quadrant signals between Gainesville, TX and Ardmore, OK and add signals on 5.9 miles of double track in Colorado and New Mexico (Raton Pass). The Santa Fe ordered a 20 lever addition to its GRS interlocking machine at San Bernardino.

The Santa Fe replaced its damaged interlocking at Colton, CA with a 48 lever Saxby and Farmer machine for 19 switches and 17 signals in 1917. It planned to add US&S automatic upper quadrant block signals between Richmond and Fresno and between Los Angeles and San Bernardino and between Goffs and Bagdad. The Santa Fe also installed a GRS 28 lever model 2 interlocking machine at Kelker, CO and ordered a GRS 23 lever interlocking machine and signals for Braggdon, CO.

In 1919 the AT&SF and the D&RGW removed the fly over bridges and reconnected their tracks to form double track joint line between Denver and Bragdon, CO. South of Bragdon, each railroad used its own tracks into Pueblo.

In 1919 the AT&SF completed the installation of block signals on 13 miles of double track between El Dorado, KS and Augusta, 26 miles of double track between Winfield, KS and Newkirk, OK, five miles of double track between Glorietta, NM and Decatur, 65 miles of double track between Goffs, CA and Bagdad, 54 miles of single track between Christie, CA and Stockton, 118 miles of single track between Larson and Fresno. (This completed the installation of signals from Richmond to Fresno by November 1919.) In total the AT&SF added 195 miles of automatic block signals in 1919. It planned to add signals to three miles of single track between Escondido Jct, CA and Fall Brook Jct. It was adding two mechanical interlocking plants at the end of double track Glorietta seven levers, Decatur ten levers. By the end of 1919, the AT&SF had 253 miles of single track and 374 miles of double track with automatic block signals on the Coast Lines, had six miles of single track and 182 miles of double track with automatic block signals on the Eastern Lines, had 19 miles of single track and 32 miles of double track with automatic block signals on the Western Lines, and had 28 miles of single track with automatic block signals on the GC&SF.

In 1919 the AT&SF planned to replace the mechanical plant at Kern Jct with a 24 lever electo-pneumatic machine. The mechanical plant was replaced with an electric interlocking in 1923.

1920 to 1929

In February 1920 the Santa Fe began building a 38 lever mechanical interlocking tower at Emporia Junction, KS. The picture below shows what the tower looked like in 1943.

Emporia Junction Tower

ATSF was right in the middle of major signaling projects across the system in 1922. It added US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals:
New Boston, IA to Medill, MO 20 miles of double track 29 signals
Olathe, KS to Leloup 24 miles of double track 33 signals
Melvern, KS to Ridgeton 8 miles of double track 9 signals
Neosho Rapids, KS to Emporia Jct. 10 miles of double track 17 signals
Neva, KS to Cedar Point 15 miles of double track 30 signals
Las Vegas, NM to Gise 41 miles 84 signals
Pauls Valley, OK to Arbuckle 30 miles 64 signals
Thackerville, TX to Gainesville 11 miles 21 signals
Selinus, TX to Somerville 73 miles 124 signals
Atwood, CA to Corona 17 miles 35 signals
Calma, CA to Shirley 23 miles 39 signals

The Santa Fe began installing its first colorlight signals in 1922 on the Kingman District using US&S three position Model-L,
89 signals between Yampai and Griffith, AZ on 75 miles of double track,
50 signals between Griffith, AZ and Topock 37 miles of double track, and
74 signals between Bagdad, CA and Daggett 68 miles of double track.

US&S three position Model-L

The picture above was taken at milepost 527 between Yucca and Griffith, AZ showing a US&S three position Model-L.

During the installation of signals betwen Yampai and Topock, all mainline switch lamps were changed to electric. The station at Kingman received an interlocking so the once a week Chloride Branch local could run against the current of traffic from McConnico back to Kingman.

In 1923 the Santa Fe installed US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals between
Raton and Dillon, NM 3 miles 3 signals,
Gise, NM to Fox 9 miles 25 signals,
Lamy, NM to Domingo 28 miles 55 signals,
Mission, KS to Burrton 16 miles of double track 25 signals, and
Thackerville, TX to Gainesville 12 miles 22 signals.

During 1923, it was planning to either add or had started installation of US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals between
Bucklin, MO to La Plata 29 miles of double track 42 signals,
Mulvane, KS to Wellington 18 miles 27 signals,
Norfolk, OK to Cushing 7 miles 8 signals,
Ardmore, OK to Thackerville, TX 27 miles 55 signals,
North Fort Worth to Bird Siding 5 miles 6 signals, and
Morgan, TX to Cleburne 30 miles 64 signals.

In 1923 it ordered a GRS model 2 interlocking machine with 8 working levers for Fullerton, CA and installed electric interlockers at Cameron, TX and Milano, TX.

ATSF opened its new single track line between Ellinor, KS and El Dorado on May 5,1924.

In 1924 the Santa Fe completed the addition of US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals HU Tower, KS to Neosho Rapids 41 miles of double track 61 signals and HU Tower to Melvern 19 miles 23 signals.

During 1924 it added US&S color light signals on double track
13 signals from Dalies, NM to Rio Puerco 9 miles,
20 signals Perea, NM to Gallup 16 miles,
11 signals Gallup, NM to Defiance 8 miles,
28 signals Baca, NM to Horace 24 miles,
7 signals Bakersfield, CA to Kern Jct. 2.5 miles,
57 signals Hicks, CA to Summit 44 miles,
it also added US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals on single track
Domingo, NM to Hahn (Albuquerque) 33 miles 53 signals,
Otero to Hebron 6 miles 7 signals,
Hebron to French 20 miles 32 signals, and
Fort Worth to North Fort Worth 3 miles 10 signals

In 1924 it added a 7 lever mechanical interlocking tower at El Dorado, KS. It had an additonal 10 levers to control five remote power switches. It also added a 15 lever electric interlocking machine to control 13 remote power switches inside the 10 lever mechanical interlocking tower at Ellinor, KS and added 8 levers to the mechanical interlocking in Tower A in Oklahoma City.

In 1924 it established a system where switch engines could move between Fort Worth and Saginaw without train orders on signal indication. This was done primarilly through Tower 18 at North Fort Worth. Just west of Tower 18 is the Union Stock Yard and several packing plants, primarilly Swift and Armour. Each day the stock yard handles 5,000 cattle, 11,000 hogs, plus sheep, horses, and mules. North Fort Worth is also a transfer point with other lines and the North Fort Worth Belt Railway. Two miles to the north is the White Eagle refinery that loaded 25 tank cars a day and a Portland cement plant under construction that would load 50 cars a day. At the time, FW&DC and Cotton Belt passenger trains moved on or off the Santa Fe trackage at Tower 18 to access the Santa Fe passenger station. In total there were around 100 engine and train movements through Tower 18 each day. The Santa Fe installed train signs near points where engines may be switching local industries from the main line. When the tower moves a lever that will allow a signal to be cleared for an approaching train, the train sign is displayed. The switch crew than has time to stop switching and clear the main line. The operator in the tower can then line the signals through the work area. Phones by control signals and industrial spurs allow switch crew to contact the tower. There are five switch crews called at Saginaw that work south to Fort Worth and return each day. There are also a number of trains each day out of Cleburne with loaded stock cars and empty reefers that turn at North Fort Worth and return to Cleburne with loaded reefers and empty stock cars. Good communication and coordination allow this system to work independantly from the dispatcher saving time and much paper work.

In 1925 it installed US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals
Medill to Bucklin, MO 78 miles 116 signals
Rothville to Standish, MO 27 miles 44 signals
Ridgeton to Neosho Rapids, KS 14 miles 13 signals
Spencer to Pauline, KS 14 miles 29 signals
French to Shoemaker, NM 51 miles 92 signals
Watrous to Las Vegas, NM 20 miles 38 signals
Ardmore, OK to Thackerville, TX 27 miles 47 signals
Cleburne to Meridian, TX 37 miles 65 signals.

In 1925 the Santa Fe ordered GRS Model 2 interlocking parts to add 5 levers to Tower 2 in Stockton, a GRS Model 2 interlocking with 33 working levers for Redondo Jct. Tower in California, and a GRS Model 2 interlocking with 28 working levers for what would become Tower 124 near Birds siding in south Fort Worth, TX.

In 1925 it planned to add US&S upper quadrant semaphore signals
French, NM to Shoemaker 51 miles 90 signals
Thackerville, TX to Ardmore, OK 27 miles 47 signals
Ponetta, TX to Morgan 23 miles 52 signals.

In 1925 it was adding 34 US&S color light signals from Suwanee, NM to McCartys on 34 miles of double track. It was planning to add 60 US&S color light signals from Defiance, NM to Chambers, AZ 42 miles of double track and add 42 US&S color light signals from Hobart to Fullerton 17 miles of double track.

It was adding 54 semaphore signals from Shirley to Angiola, CA 31 miles at the beginning of 1926.

In 1926 it ordered 456 US&S style T-2 semaphore signals and over 2,000 relays for
20 miles of double track near Amarillo, TX 29 signals,
La Junta to Trinidad, CO 82 miles 158 signals,
Lawrence, KS to Spencer 19 miles 33 signals,
Pauline, KS to Emporia 55 miles 94 signals,
Meridian, TX to Temple 62 miles 107 signals,
Carrollton Jct, MO to Hardin 17 miles 14 signals,
Cicero, KS to Wellington 7 miles 14 signals,
Abajo, NM to Isleta 11 miles 18 signals, and
Angiola, CA to Shirley 31 miles 54 signals.

In 1926 it ordered a 54 lever GRS model 2 interlocking machine to replace the 27 lever mechanical plant in Tower 75 (East Tower) at Amarillo, TX. This consolidated functions with Tower 177 at Dumas Jucntion. Traffic through the plant in 1935 was 4 ATSF passenger trains, 4 CRI&P passenger trains, 4 FW&D passenger trains, and a mixed ATSF train on the branch north to La Junta. There are several grain elevators and a packing plant in the area that must be switched and interchange of cars. The ATSF had 14 to 18 frieght trains and 14 to 19 switching moves, FW&D had 5 to 8 frieght trains and 30 to 40 switching moves, and the CRI&P had 6 to 9 frieght trains and 3 to 5 switching moves. In addition the FW&D yard is west of the tower but the roundhouse and coal chute are east of the tower, so there are several light engine moves through the plant each day.

In 1926 it ordered a 62 lever GRS model 2 interlocking machine for San Bernardino, CA.

In 1927 ATSF consolidated the three towers on the Galveston Causeway into one tower. It closed Tower 96 called Island and Tower 98 at Virginia Point on the mainland and added all of the functions to Tower 97 at the draw bridge. There are three tracks across the bridge. Two handle traffic for the Santa Fe, GH&H, GH&SA, MKT and IGN. The third line is used by the Galveston Houston Electric Railway trolley line. At the time the causeway had 50 trains and 45 trolleys a day and during the summer could hit as high as 75 trains and 60 trolleys a day. The interlocking machines were moved to Tower 97, from Tower 96 on November 14, 1926 and from Tower 98 on January 19, 1927. The old towers were left in place as they had the air compressors and other equipment to power the nearby switches.

The Santa Fe completed double track between Canyon and Pampa in 1927 to handle increasing traffic around Amarillo. It added a 12 lever electric interlocker in the yard office across from the roundhouse south of the passenger station, that would receive the designation of Tower 153.

The Santa Fe opened its new swing bridge across the Mississippi River at Fort Madison on July 25, 1927. The bridge has two decks: lower deck is double track, upper deck is a two lane highway. The control and interlocking tower is over the highway in the middle of the bridge. The bridge swings 60 degrees to clear river traffic.

In 1927 it ordered 531 US&S model T-2 semaphore signals. During 1927 it added
53 signals Holliday, KS to Lawrence 26 miles,
50 signals Guthrie, OK to Oklahoma City 31 miles,
21 signals Wichita, KS to Mulvane 14 miles,
22 signals Cross, OK to White Eagle 7 miles of double track,
34 signals Cleburne to Birds 25 miles,
63 signals Bell Yard, TX to Somerville 35 miles,
201 signals Canadian, TX to Canyon 42 miles of single track and 73 miles of double track,
79 signals Waynoka, OK to Tangier 47 miles, and
76 signals Belen, NM to Mountainair 40 miles.

Hoover, TX US&S model T-2 semaphore signals Lee, TX

The top picture at Hoover, TX (taken by Jack Delano) and the lower picture at Lee, TX (taken by my brother Steve) were taken 31 years apart. These signals were part of the Canadian to Canyon installation completed in 1927. The picture at Lee is on double track northeast of Amarillo.

In 1927 it ordered 75 US&S semaphore signals for Angiola to Oil Jct. 52 miles of single track and three miles of double track. Work was still in progress in 1928.

In 1928 it added
3 levers to the mechanical interlocking at Jansen, CO,
9 levers to the electric interlocking at Wellington, KS and
6 levers to the mechanical interlocking at Gillinas, CO to control a passing siding.

In 1928 it added US&S semaphore signals
59 signals Richmond, KS to Iola 36 miles,
35 signals plus two color light signals Newton, KS to Wichita 26 miles,
28 signals Mulvane, KS to Winfield 23 miles,
11 signals Newkirk, OK to Cross 8 miles,
5 signals Dewey, OK to Bartlesville 4 miles,
13 signals Mulvane, KS to Cicero 11 miles,
26 signals Fort Sumner, NM to Ricardo 13 miles,
183 signals Buchanan, NM to Mountainair 100 miles,
22 signals Glorietta, NM to Lamy 10 miles,
17 signals Jansen, CO to Gallinas 8dt miles,
4 signals Rowe, NM to Fox 4 miles,
104 signals Saginaw, TX to Gainesville 57 miles,
109 signals Attica, KS to Waynoka, OK 60 miles,
80 signals Gage, OK, to Canadian, TX 48 miles.

signals at the west end of the siding at Kiowa, KS

These signals at the west end of the siding at Kiowa, KS (Attica to Waynoka) were installed in 1928. The train is on the siding and the mainline is the track to the far left. This would explain why the distant signal is at clear.

In 1928 it added color light signals Belen to Dalies 10 miles of single track 12 signals and Corona to Riverside 14 miles 36 signals.

In 1928 it added color light signals Chambers, AZ to Carrizo 32 miles of double track 40 signals. All of the concrete signal foundations and battery boxes were precast in Gallup, NM and painted black after installation. The station at Carrizo, the end of double track at that time, had a 2 lever desk interlocking panel to control the power switch and signals. The scheduled trains between Winslow and Gallup were 14 passenger and 24 freights per day.

To handle increasing traffic on the Belen cutoff the Santa Fe added US&S desk interlocking panels to control switches and the related signals at
Amarillo 6 levers 4 switches,
Melrose, NM 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Taiban 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Fort Sumner 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Yeso 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Encino 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Pedernal 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Mountainair 2 levers 1 switch,
Scholle 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Becker 4 levers 2 passing track switches,
Belen 2 levers 1 switch and
Dalies 2 levers 1 passing track switch

In 1928 it added new electric interlockers at
Pueblo, CO 8 levers to control 4 switches,
Lubbock, TX 6 levers,
Plainview, TX 4 levers,
Waynoka, OK 14 levers to control 10 switches,
Marietta, OK 8 levers to control 4 passing track switches,
Beaumont, TX 8 levers, and at
North Fort Worth added 4 levers to the existing interlocking machine.

In 1928 it ordered US&S materials for various signal installation projects: 135 color light signals, 600 semaphore signals, 35 dwarf signals, and 3,000 relays.

In 1929 ATSF installed a GRS 52 lever electric interlocker at Emporia to control 22 switches and a 27 lever GRS electric interlocker at Barstow to control 12 switches. I think this was West Barstow. It also installed US&S interlockings at Waynoka, OK 22 levers to control 13 switches and at Texico 8 levers for 7 switches. It also added a 10 lever mechanical interlocker at Wharton, TX.

US&S interlocking machine at Waynoka, OK

The US&S interlocking machine at Waynoka, OK.

The concept of an automatic interlocker at a crossing was developed around 1920. ATSF installed its first automatic interlocker at Camp, OK on a branch line of the SLSF between Tulsa and Enid on April 29, 1929. Camp is between Newkirk and Shawnee on the Cushing Line. The next automatic interlocker was at Lost Springs, KS where the branch line up to Superior, NE crossed the Rock Island line between Topeka and Wichita on October 14, 1929. At the time, the Santa Fe ran about 6 trains a day and the Rock had 20 to 22 a day. The third that year was placed at Marion, KS on November 27 at the crossing of the Santa Fe McPherson Branch and the CRI&P line between Herington and Coldwell. Up to this point, the Santa Fe has not put any automatic interlockers in Texas due to the requirement that all crossings be equipped with derails.

With the success of adding US&S interlockings at several stations on the Belen Cutoff to control the switches at the end of the sidings and the related signals in 1928, it added similar US&S interlockings to other stations around the system in 1929 at Olathe, Gardner, and Hutchinson, KS; Pueblo, CO; Woodward amd Curtis, OK; and Temple, TX. It planned to add more of these types on interlockings for yard and stations at Shattuck, OK; Canadian, TX; Miami, TX; Clovis, NM; Vaughn, NM; Willard, NM; Plainview, TX; Lubbock, TX; and San Angelo, TX.

In 1929 it constucted a new tower and installed an 84 lever GRS model 2 interlocking machine at the west end of the new yard at Emporia. The machine had 57 working levers. At the time the line had 25 passenger and 55 freight trains a day.

In 1929 it installed 219 US&S semaphore signals from Canyon, TX to Fort Sumner, NM 140 miles,
37 signals Ricardo, NM to Buchanan 26 miles, and
17 signals Tangier, OK to Gage 14 miles.

west end of the siding at Ricardo east end of the siding at Buchanan

The top picture is among Jack's most famous train pictures from his trip in 1943. It was taken at the west end of the siding at Ricardo. The second picture is at the east end of the siding at Buchanan.

On the Raton Pass line, it installed 23 US&S semaphore signals from Gillinas, CO up to Raton on eight miles of double track and four signals between Shoemaker and Waterous, NM eight miles. In Texas it installed 19 US&S semaphore signals from Goldthwaite to Mullens 11 miles and 34 signals from Nichols to Revision 31 miles.

In 1929 it installed US&S semaphore signals Dodge City to La Junta, CO 202 miles. During that signal installation, the Santa Fe also converted 150 Adams and Westlake switch lamps from oil to electric. At the time an oil switch lamp cost was about $9.00. There were two different sizes of oil reservoirs. These needed to be refilled either once or twice a week.

1930 to 1939

ATSF had two US&S interlockings being installed in early 1930: Sand Creek, KS to control four power switches and Sibley, MO to control traffic over the gauntlet trackage on the Missouri River bridge.

The first ATSF CTC installation was between Sibley to Camden Jct, 8.5 miles double track, in service July 7, 1930. Second was Holliday to Olathe, 12 miles double track, in service Decemeber 15, 1930. Third was Dodge City to Kinsley, 25 miles single track, 9.5 double track, in service December 23, 1930. This CTC was installed in anticipation of completing the Colmor Cutoff in New Mexico.

In 1930 it ordered a GRS model 2 interlocking machine for Riverside, CA with 26 working levers. After the ATSF added a second main from Riverside to Highgrove, it built a new three story concrete tower to replace the old mechanical interlocking tower at Riverside. This tower controlled an SP crossing and the junction of the UP. At the time the line had about 5 ATSF passenger, 4 UP passenger, 14 ATSF freight, and 14 UP freight trains a day.

In 1930 it was installing signals between Corwith and Joliet, IL 31 miles on double track and adding signals between Hobart and Fullerton on 19 miles of single track. These were all US&S color light signals.

In 1930 it was planning to build a 34 lever GRS interlocking tower at Augusta, KS. In Texas it planned electric interlockers at Gainesville, Brownwood, and at Sealy plus mechanical interlockers at Conroe and Cleveland.

In 1931 it added GRS model 2 interlocking machines
at Gainesville, TX with 21 working levers,
at Augusta, KS with 34 working levers,
at Los Angeles Mission Tower with 42 working levers, and
added a US&S desk interlocking machine with 18 levers at Chillicothe, IL.

In 1931 it installed US&S color light signals
La Junta, CO and Pueblo 63 miles 117 signals,
Southland, TX and Justiceburg 32 miles 54 signals,
Pyron and Sweetwater, TX 17 miles 30 signals,
Fullerton, CA and Fallbrook 59 miles 121 signals, and
Del Mar, CA and San Diego 23 miles 53 signals.

In 1931 it installed US&S semaphore signals between
Chanute, KS and Independence 39 miles 46 signals and
Ochelata, OK and Tulsa 38 miles 52 signals

In 1932 it added 119 US&S color light signals from Mojave, Ca to Barstow 72 miles and 33 US&S color light signals from DT Junction to Joseph City 23 miles of single track.

In 1932 it converted Tower 94 at Midlothian, TX from manned to an automatic interlocker.

In 1933 it replace the 16 lever mechanical interlocker at Neva, KS with three power switches and installed a US&S desk interlocking machine in the station at Strong City four miles east. The machine had 9 levers to control 4 switches, the crossover and 12 signals. It also added an automatic interlocker at Stratford, TX

In 1937 ATSF and SLSF installed an automatic interlocker at Burrton, KS. The previous system was a set of manually operated gates normally set against the SLSF. ATSF trains were restricted to 15mph through the junction. Daily traffic at the time on the ATSF was 14 passenger and 6 to 8 freight trains and on the SLSF four mixed trains. After the automatic interlocker was installed the speed limit for ATSF trains was raised to 40mph.

In 1937 it added 12 color light signals Corona, CA to Scully 6 miles.

1940 to 1949

The Santa Fe installed 28 US&S color light signals on 24 miles of recently completed second track between DT Junction and Joseph City in 1940.

The Santa Fe rebuilt the interlocking tower at Daggett with GRS components in 1940. The tower then controlled 13 signals and 9 switches.

The first Stockton tower was built in the late 1890s. The 3rd tower was built in 1943 and looked similar to East Tower in Amarillo. It had a GRS interlocking machine controlling 24 signals and 29 switches and derails. The tower was closed in January 1999 and demolished in May.

ATSF double track from La Mirada to Fullerton opened May 10, 1943. CTC between Fullerton to Venta (Fourth District) cut in October 22, 1943. The Fullerton US&S machine controlled LA to El Toro. It also added US&S interlocking between Clovis and Texico to control 16 switches.

CTC was installed between Belen and Mountainair in 1943 to ease the strain from war time traffic. Before the war the line had about 16 trains a day. During the war it was seeing 30 trains a day plus returning helper engines. The second segment 67 miles of Clovis Belen CTC was installed between Mountainair and Vaughn in 1944. The CTC between Belen and Mountainair improved freight train velocity. The average for westbound trains went from 15 to 25mph and eastbound speeds doubled from 7 to 15mph. After the CTC installation on the Belen to Vaughn district, the number of crews dying on the 16 hour law dropped from 3.8 per day to maybe one crew every ten days.

Mountainair depot

The US&S CTC machine was located on the second floor of the Mountainair depot. The machine had 86 levers controlling 44 power switches.

During 1944, ATSF installed interlocking between Vaughn and Joffre to control the single track. 6 signals were moved and 12 removed in preparation for adding a second track. After the second track was completed, the US&S interlocking was modified to control 5 switches with 12 levers at Vaughn. During DT installation in 1944, the ATSF added US&S signals as follows: 1 semaphore and 6 color light between Clovis and Gallaher, 17 semaphore and 3 color light between Melrose and Gallaher, and 10 semaphore and 1 color light between Vaughn and Joffre. CTC was in operation Joffre to Yeso by Jan 1, 1945. The third segment 94 miles between Melrose and Joffre was completed during 1945. The ATSF installed 30 power switches, removed 169 semaphore signals and installed 164 color light signals. During the second segment installation, 13 sidings were lengthened to 2 miles or more and signals placed in the middle of these sidings to facilitate rolling meets. Double track segments didn't get CTC until after 1950.

signals installed in the middle of long sidings signals at the west end of Krider

Many of the sidings on the Belen Cutoff were lengthened during the CTC installation and had signals installed in the middle of the long sidings. The top picture shows the installation is at Sias at the west end of Abo Canyon. The lower picture is of the signals at the west end of Krider, part of the last segment to receive CTC in 1945.

Also during 1944, ATSF changed signals at the east and west end of Barstow yard from semaphore to color light. It rebuilt the mechanical interlocking at Dalies with GRS equipment to control 8 power switches and 18 signals. And ordered US&S mini CTC interlocking units along with dual control power switches and Type H5 searchlight signals for Mulvane, Aikman, Melvern, Ellinor, Clear Creek, KS, Gallup, Edelstein, Mojave, Needles, and Barstow east and west.

CTC between Venta and San Diego was cut in on July 4, 1944. The Oceanside machine controlled San Diego to El Toro.

The Edlestein interlocking was moved to Chillicothe in 1945. The Needles interlocking installation involved adding 6 color light signals and 4 power switches.

CTC between Fullerton and Esperanza opened April 8, 1945 and CTC was cut in on the Olive District on September 10, 1945.

During 1946 the ATSF installed a mini CTC interlocking in the station at Ash Fork. It added 6 power switches at the west end, 3 at the east end, changed 9 semaphore signals to color light and added 14 color light signals. It added a second main track to the yard at Belen. On the west end it added 2 power switches, 1 semaphore and 7 color light signals, plus converted 5 semaphore signals to color light. At the east end it removed 2 power switches 6 semaphore signals and added 1 power switch and 3 color light signals. It installed 19 color light signals between Arcadia, CA and Pasadena 7 miles. It also installed 135 color light signals between Brownwood, TX and Buffalo Gap 77 miles. It installed US&S mini CTC interlocking at Canadian in 1946. This involved adding 12 power switches and 24 color light signals. And was making plans to install CTC between Waynoka to Canadian 110 miles. The US&S CTC machine at Amarillo would have 95 levers controlling 39 switches. By the end of 1946 the Santa Fe had 520 miles with CTC installed.

As of July 1, 1946 ATSF had no signals in the following areas where passenger trains exceeded 60mph and freight trains exceeded 50mph:
Ellinor to El Dorado 47 miles 47 trains/day
AG Tower to WN Jct 31 miles 6 trains/day
Canyon to Lubbock Jct 103 miles 7 trains/day
Texico to Slaton 89 miles 11 trains/day
Slaton to Sweetwater 105 miles 14 trains/day
Temple to Brownwood 89 miles 15 trains/day
Alvin to Rosenberg 38 miles 10 trains/day

In 1947 ATSF installed 118 US&S signals on its 104 miles of track between Bragdon and Denver. At the same time the D&RGW installed 95 GRS signals on its track. The Santa Fe installed CTC Canadian to Pampa, TX 20 miles. The US&S machine had 48 levers controlling 17 switches. It installed CTC Ellinor to El Dorado, KS 47 miles in 1947. The US&S machine had 28 levers controlling 14 switches.

signals at the crossover in the middle of the long siding at Miami

The signals at the crossover in the middle of the long siding at Miami, TX. (Steve Carr 1974 photo) This was part of the Canadian to Pampa CTC installation completed in 1947.

Toward the end of 1947 Santa Fe began installating CTC Wellington to Waynoka. By the end of 1949, CTC had been installed on 82 miles between Wellington and Brink, OK. Eventually it would remove 158 semaphore signals and install 84 color light signals in this project.

The Santa Fe completed the CTC installation between Texico, NM and Amarillo in April 1948. The CTC machine was in Amarillo until 1986. The installation involved the removal of 115 semaphore signals, the installation of 55 color light signals and the conversion of all interlocking signals at east Clovis, Texico, and west Amarillo to color light.

signals at the crossover in the middle of the long siding at Parmerton

The CTC signals at the crossover in the middle of the long siding at Parmerton, TX. (Steve Carr photo) This was part of the Texico to Amarillo CTC installation completed in early 1948.

In 1948 the Santa Fe installed CTC Newton to Wichita and Mulvane 37 miles. The US&S machine had 47 levers controlling 25 switches. It also installed 59 US&S APB signals between Buffalo Gap, TX and Sweetwater and installed a US&S interlocking at Sweetwater to control 6 switches and 24 signals.

The Santa Fe completed the installation of radios on 25 freight locomotives and 11 cabooses assigned to runs between Bakersfield and Barstow in April 1949. This was the first operating district to be completely radio equipped.

During 1949 the Santa Fe completed the installation of US&S block signals from Brownwood to Nolanville, TX 72 miles. It also completed the installation of CTC on single track segments between Ellinor, KS and Wellington via Augusta.

During 1949 through 1951 the Santa Fe installed many miles of automatic train stop to comply with the 1947 ICC order. Also during this period many other railroads installed radios for better communication, better crossing protection for motorists, and loud speaker systems in yards.

1950 to 1959

ATSF began plans for CTC between Pueblo, CO and Bragdon in 1949. The plans called for the removal of the interlocking at 4th St, the removal of 25 semaphore signals and the installation of 14 US&S color light signals and four power switches. This project was completed in 1950.

In 1950 the Santa Fe completed the installation of 31 US&S block signals from Temple to Nolanville, TX 18 miles. The railroad rebuilt the interlocking at Temple to control 13 signals and four switches.

The installation of CTC between Brink, OK and Waynoka on 23 miles of single track and two miles of double track was completed in 1950. An updated interlocking was added at Waynoka in conjunction with the CTC project.

The installation of CTC between Slaton and Sweetwater 102 miles began in March 1950 and was completed later that year. The installation of CTC between Slaton and Lubbock, TX 14 miles was completed in 1951.

In 1951 ATSF placed an order with GRS to upgrade the intelocking machine in Tower 19 to 112 spaces to control 35 signals, 34 switches, 10 crossovers, 10 derails. It would have 23 spare spaces.

During 1952 ATSF installed CTC between Bakersfield and Fresno. The CTC machine was at Fresno. At that time, the line had 8 passenger trains and 12 freight trains a day. It installed US&S interlocking at Saginaw Yard to control 3 signals and one switch. It modified Colton Tower by adding a US&S interlocking to control 6 signals. It ordered the US&S materials for the CTC installation between Willow Springs, IL and Bridgeport on 14 miles of double track. The machine would be at Willow Springs.

In 1953 ATSF added a flood detection system near Griffith, AZ (south of Kingman) to notify the dispatcher at Winslow. It added loud speaker systems to two yards: Amarillo got 30 speakers and Belen got 29 speakers.

During 1953 ATSF installed US&S interlocking at West Winslow operated from the yard office building. It controlled 8 signals one switch on the westbound lead, one switch on the eastbound lead, 2 switches at the crossover, and one switch on the ice house track. At the time the line was handling around 50 trains a day. All cabooses were changed at Winslow since cabooses running west to Barstow used 32 volt DC to 115 volt AC converters to run the radios while cabooses running east to Belen used 12 volt DC radios.

In 1953 ATSF installed US&S interlockings at McCook, IL to control six signals and three switches and at Willow Springs to control three signals and one switch. It was also installing CTC between Chicago and Joliet. It ordered US&S materials to add functions to the Belen to Vaughn and the Vaughn to Clovis CTC machines. It rebuilt three US&S interlockings to add functions. Turner, KS added control of four signals and six switches. Holliday, KS added control of 11 signals and one switch. Sweetwter, TX added control of two signals and one switch.

In 1953 ATSF ordered US&S materials in preparation for CTC installation between Newkirk, OK and Purcell 141 miles. The machine would be at Arkansas City. By the end of the year, CTC had been installed between Newkirk and Cross 10 miles, White Eagle to Nowers 89 miles, and Burnett to Norman 16 miles. The six miles between Cross and White Eagle were conmpleted by end of 1954. At the time the line had six passenger trains, six scheduled freight trains, two locals, plus many extra trains making the total 16 to 20 trains a day.

CTC was installed from Trinidad, CO over Raton Pass to Keota in 1953 on 1 mile of single track and 12 miles of double track. The East Tunnel was closed in 1950. CTC was extended to Raton in 1958 and then to Hebron in 1960. The track from Lynn to Raton was reduced to single track with a passing siding at Keota in 1960. It was controled from the dispatchers office at Las Vegas.

During 1954 ATSF installed a US&S interlocking at Arkansas City to control 12 signals and 6 switches. It rebuilt the interlocking at Baring, MO. It removed the mechanical interlocker at Shopton (Fort Madison) and installed a US&S interlocking at the telgraph office to control 6 signals and 5 switches. It installed US&S CTC between Norman and Purcell 15 miles and Purcell to Wynnewood 28 miles.

In 1954 ATSF was planning to install CTC from Gainesville, TX to Purcell, OK. The installation would remove 85 color light signals, 136 semaphore signals and add 26 power switches and 156 signals. It also planned to install CTC from Wiggam to Emporia 5 miles and remove the mechanical interlocking at NR Junction.

The installation of US&S CTC from Wynnewood thru Gainesville to Dalton Jct, TX 101 miles with 27 swiches and 127 signals was completed in 1955. The Santa Fe also opened its new line between Dalton Jct and Zacha Jct. (northeast Dallas) 49 miles in December 1955.

The Kansas City Terminal railroad built a new Santa Fe Jct Tower west of Union Station right at the state line in 1955 to replace the old tower. At the time the Santa Fe was running 28 passenger trains and 24 freight trains a day thru the junction. But the largest volume of moves was transfers between yards. The new tower had a UR (Union Route, the US&S version of the GRS NX machine) interlocking machine. GRS started production of NX equipment in 1936. US&S began production of the UR in 1951. The UR machine at Santa Fe Jct controlled 48 switches and 90 signals.

The Sante Fe began making plans for US&S CTC between Fresno to Stockton, CA in 1955. ATSF installed 36 power switches 204 signals across 132 miles and the project was completed in 1956. The US&S CTC machine was in Fresno along with the Bakersfield to Fresno CTC machine.

During 1956 ATSF added CTC from Dalton Jct. to Saginaw, TX 32 miles using six power switches and 34 signals. It added functions to the interlocking at Holliday, KS to control 1 more switch and 2 signals. It added functions to the interlocking at Lebo, KS to control 5 more switches and 4 signals. And began planning for CTC from Pequot, IL to Shopton (Fort Madison, MO) on 177 miles of double track.

During 1957 ATSF installed US&S CTC Olathe, KS to Gardner 8 miles of double track 11 switches 25 signals and CTC Ottawa, KS to Wiggam 47 miles of double track 16 switches 44 signals. It planned to add CTC from Olathe, KS to Lebo 68 miles with the territory added to the machine at Emporia. It planned to replace the mechanical interlocker at Temple crossing of the MKT with an automatic interlocker. The ATSF and T&NO planned to replace the interlockers at Brenham, Wallis, and Navasota with automatic interlockers. The ATSF, CRI&P, FW&D, GH&H, and T&NO planned to replace the mechanical interlocker at 36th Street in Galveston, TX with an automatic interlocker.

In 1958 ATSF installed US&S CTC Gardner to West Ottawa, KS 26 miles 11 switches 43 signals and Sealy to Ball, TX 11 miles one switch 15 signals. With the installation of CTC the following interlockers were removed: Olathe, Ottowa Jct, HU Tower at the MP crossing west of Ottowa, Melvern, Lebo, and Wiggam. It rebuilt three interlockings: Milano, TX six signals, Cameron, TX six signals, and Sealy, TX five signals. It installed cab signals in hump engines at Cowith Yard in Chicago.

In south Texas, the Alvin to Algoa section was CTC controlled by the operator at Alvin by 1958. There was a short stretch of CTC from Bellville Yard to Sealy. Most of the line was train orders with automatic block signals, except Tower 17 to Alvin was dark territory.

In 1958 ATSF planned to replace the mechanical interlocker at 2nd Street Topeka, KS with automatic interlocker. Also the ATSF and MP planned to replace the mechanical interlocking at Conroe, TX with an automatic interlocker.

In 1959 CTC installed Albuquerque to Isleta 11 miles controlled from dispatchers office in Las Vegas, NM. The interlocking plant at Isleta was incorporated into the CTC machine. Work was completed in 1959 after installing 5 power swithes and 19 signals. It added CTC from Lamy to Rowe, NM 19 miles of single track. Work was completed in 1959 after removal of 6 miles of double track, the interlocking at Glorietta, adding two power sitches 39 signals and moving contol to Las Vegas. It added 20 loudspeakers in the yard at Brownwood, TX. It moved control of 5 miles of track between Neva and Strong City, KS from a remote interlocker to the CTC machine at Newton, KS.

In 1959 ATSF planned CTC Barstow to Mojave 70 miles. Control from Fresno via microwave link between Bakersfield and Barstow. It ordered CTC for Birds to Brownwood, TX 131 miles. Control in Fort Worth. Both CTC projects were completed in 1960. The South Orient took out the old CTC on the Dublin Sub soon after they took over the line in 1994.

It planned CTC from Shopton, MO to Carrollton (WB Jct.) 153 miles. Control from Shopton. During 1959 CTC was completed on 29 miles of double track between Shopton and Medill, MO after installing 10 power switches and 48 signals. During 1960 CTC was completed on 66 miles of double track between Medill and Ethel, MO. Twenty power switches were installed.

1960 to 1969

1960 CTC installed between Clovis and Texico on seven miles of double track. It ordered US&S CTC Lubbock to Texico, NM 88 miles. Control at Slaton, TX. It ordered US&S CTC Shopton, IA to Sibley, MO control at Shopton. It planned to remove the mechanical interlocker in GI Tower at Galesburg, IL and move control functions to the dispatchers CTC board in Shopton, IA.

In October 1960 ATSF began experimenting with infrared switch heaters made by Perfection Industries of Cleveland, OH. The first installation was on a crossover near Amarillo. Additional units were installed at Joffre, Tejon, Mountainair, Keoto, NM and Wooton, CO.

1960 US&S CTC was installed from Seligman east over the new Crookton realignment to Maine 67 miles. A new pole line was addd next to the line with 35 poles per mile. Signal relay boxes were assembled and tested in San Bernardino. Signal bridges and relay boxes were installed before the track. Work was completed on December 19, 1960. The Crookton line change cost $20M. In 1961 ATSF received ICC approval to remove both main tracks Crookton to Ash Fork and the original track from Ash Fork through Johnson Canyon to Williams Jct. CTC was extended east to Darling in 1964 and to Winslow in 1966. The dispatchers were moved from Winslow to Albuquerque in the 1980s.

In 1961 ATSF built a branch line north from Defiance to the new McKinley mine and added a three track yard for the new power plant at Joseph City. The Cholla power plant began operations in 1962.

CTC between La Mirada and Los Angeles was installed in 1966.

1970 to the Present

The Cajon Summit reduction and CTC installation began in May and was completed in October 1972. ATSF took out the ATS Lugo to Barstow and Barstow to OroGrande.

Newton to Ellinor was single-tracked and had CTC installed around 1972.

CTC was installed between Temple and Alvin in 1974 and 75. Then north of Temple to Fort Worth in the early 1980s.

1984 Belen to West Defiance CTC was completed in 1984.

In Sept of 1993, the Santa Fe completed moving all dispatchers to Shaumberg, IL They moved again after BNSF opened the Network Operations Center in Fort Worth in 1995.

West Defiance to Winslow CTC installed 2001.

Seligman and Needles CTC was completed in 2003. Texas double track project completed between Coburn and Clear Creek also Codman to Canadian in 2003. CTC added between Joliet Tower and Logistics Park complex in 2003.

A third main from Barstow to Daggett was installed in 2006

Port Chicago to Oakley, CA CTC installed in 2008.

For more inforamtion about signals in general, see Railroad Signals of the US