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Picture Gallery of Santa Fe Railway trains
on the Transcon in Arizona

Coal train on the Santa Fe Railway Transcon at Chambers, Arizona

I have made multiple trips taking pictures of the Santa Fe between Barstow and Clovis, NM. My early trips were during leave from the Navy in the 70s and my brother Steve joined me on several of those trips. You will see some of his pictures in this gallery. I haven't made up a photo CD for his pictures yet. While working in Dallas in the late 80s, I helped several Christian agencies promoting literacy among the Navajo. They were teaching the Navajo to read and write their own language. Most of the agencies were located in Flagstaff or near Gallup and were using computers running DOS. Remember that old operating system? At the time, I was teaching a computer course for beginners that included programs capable of keyboarding, displaying, and printing letters in languages other than English. So while driving from Dallas to Flagstaff and back, I had the opportunity to chase trains along the busy Santa Fe mainline. Some pages may contain links to the Santa Fe Hot 27.

Train on the Santa Fe Railway Transcon near Flagstaff, Arizona

The Santa Fe began installing automatic block signals Flagstaff to Ash Fork in 1912, this work was completed May 1913. During the Summer of 1913 ATSF completed installing AC automatic block signals between Crookton and Yampai. Next was the installation of automatic block signals on 27.5 miles of double track between Crookton and Seligman completed in May 1914. Installation of automatic block signals on 59 miles of double track between Winslow and Flagstaff was completed in April 1914. At the same time, an eight lever interlocking was installed at Canyon Diablo for the gauntlet section of track on the bridge. In 1922 it added a second track and installed color light automatic block signals Yampai to Griffth, AZ. In 1928, it added signals on second track between Chambers and Carrizo. In 1932 it added signals on single track between DT Junction and Joseph City. In 1940 it added a second track and signals between DT Junction and Joseph City. The biggest change in Arizona was the completion of the Crookton Cut-off in December 1960. The Santa Fe built a new double track line between Williams and Crookton and installed CTC between West Seligman and Maine. The dispatchers moved into the La Posada hotel and Harvey House in 1960. The CTC was extended to East Winslow in 1966. With the removal of the flyover west of Ash Fork the dispatcher had to shift trains from operating right hand west of Seligman to operating left hand east of Winslow and vise versa. The CTC installation was completed between West Defiance, NM and Winslow in November 2001. CTC installation was completed between Seligman and Needles in 2003.

In 1904 the Santa Fe extend the oil fired steam engine territory east from Seligman to Winslow, AZ. During the second World War, the railroad primarily kept its oil fired freight steam engines west of Winslow. Heavy oil fired passenger steam engines (mostly 4-8-4s) were generally kept west of La Junta. The Santa Fe began buying four unit sets of EMD FTs during the war. The freight units were assigned to the territory between Barstow and Winslow. Most documents say it was because of the shortage of water in that region. This was true and you will see many tank cars for hauling water in the Delano pictures. It was also easier to modify the existing oil refueling facilities in that region for diesel operations.

In the good old days (50 years ago) on the Second District (Gallup to Winslow) there were train order offices at Chambers and Holbrook. Steam engines could take water at Chambers, Adamana, and Holbrook. On the Third District there were train order offices at Canyon Diablo, Flagstaff, Bellemont, Williams, and Ash Fork. Steam engines could take water at Angell, Flagstaff, Bellemont, Williams, McLellen westbound, Corva eastbound, and Ash Fork. On the Kingman District there were train order offices at Nelson, Peach Springs, Hackberry, Kingman, and Yucca. Steam engines could take water at Pica, Peach Springs, Hackberry, Kingman, and Yucca.

Train on the Santa Fe Railway Transcon at Crozier Canyon, Arizona

As we move to the area west of Winslow you will see some unique operations on the Albuquerque Division. One of those is block swapping (described later in this series) and the other is the shift from left hand running to right hand running to take advantage of special track segments. There are several areas where the new second track separates from the original line to access easier grades for uphill trains. You can still see these segments between Rio Puerco, NM and Suwanee, between Baca and Thoreau, in Kingman Canyon, and Bagdad to Klondike plus Cajon to Summit in California. Under the old signal system for double track, trains needed to shift for left hand running east of Winslow to right hand running west of Seligman.

For those modeling the Santa Fe in the late 60s, the library contains a series of pages with detailed freight train consists. The trains featured on those pages were observed at Winslow and Barstow. For modern photographers I've assembled a schedule of sorts of the trains I've observed recently (2011) between Amarillo and Flagstaff. As reference, I've added timetables from the Gallup and Seligman Subdivisions.

- Houck
- Cheto
- Chambers
- Navajo
- Coronado Junction
- Holbrook
- Sunshine
- Darling
- Cosnino
- Railhead
- Flagstaff
- Riordan
- Bellemont
- Maine
- Chalender
- Williams Junction
- Williams
- Supai Summit
- Ash Fork
- Crookton Cut-off
- Crookton
- Audley
- Pica Water Stop
- Climbing Yampai Hill
- Nelson
- Crozier Canyon
- Valentine
- Hackberry
- Getz
- Kingman
- Griffith
- Yucca
- Topock