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SWRailroadPhotography

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
18
Location
New Mexico
I have been informed by many sources that the ATSF Semaphores on the BNSF Glorieta Sub will be coming down by November 15. This is also in conjunction with NMRX removing 5 Semaphores from the NMRX ABQ Sub. These locations on the Glorieta Sub include

South Las Vegas MP 774 (2 Semaphores, New Signal is up)
ESS Ojita (3 Semaphores, New Signal equipment is trackside, with a new signal box. Also survey markers present)
WSS Ojita (3 Semaphores, New Signal Box with New survey markers present)
MP 781 (2 Semaphores, new Signal and or box installed)
MP 783 (2 Semaphores, signs of vehicles present out there)
MP 786 (2 Semaphores, signs of signal crews out there. Some orange cones making spots)
ESS Chapelle (3 Semaphores, BNSF vehicles spotted out there. Signs of survey markers present)
WSS Chapelle (3 Semaphores, nothing yet)
Bernal (2 Semaphores, New Signal is installed)


Now I'm told the 5 Semaphores plus the Searchlights in Lamy will all be soon cutover in the coming weeks well before Nov 15. This is all being done by Herzog mainly with some assistance from BNSF. This will get rid of the TWC and install CTC I believe. Which may work with ATCS/TrainMon5

This leaves 11 Semaphores left on the mainline. They are located at

ESS COLMOR (3 Semaphores)
WSS LEVY (3 Semaphores)
MP 722 (2 Semaphores)
ESS WAGON MOUND (3 Semaphores)

No word yet as to the future of those blades. Will keep y'all posted. Now is the time to get your shots with the Southwest Chief and remaining semaphores.

 

JontyMort

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
327
Location
United Kingdom
I have been informed by many sources that the ATSF Semaphores on the BNSF Glorieta Sub will be coming down by November 15. This is also in conjunction with NMRX removing 5 Semaphores from the NMRX ABQ Sub. These locations on the Glorieta Sub include

South Las Vegas MP 774 (2 Semaphores, New Signal is up)
ESS Ojita (3 Semaphores, New Signal equipment is trackside, with a new signal box. Also survey markers present)
WSS Ojita (3 Semaphores, New Signal Box with New survey markers present)
MP 781 (2 Semaphores, new Signal and or box installed)
MP 783 (2 Semaphores, signs of vehicles present out there)
MP 786 (2 Semaphores, signs of signal crews out there. Some orange cones making spots)
ESS Chapelle (3 Semaphores, BNSF vehicles spotted out there. Signs of survey markers present)
WSS Chapelle (3 Semaphores, nothing yet)
Bernal (2 Semaphores, New Signal is installed)


Now I'm told the 5 Semaphores plus the Searchlights in Lamy will all be soon cutover in the coming weeks well before Nov 15. This is all being done by Herzog mainly with some assistance from BNSF. This will get rid of the TWC and install CTC I believe. Which may work with ATCS/TrainMon5

This leaves 11 Semaphores left on the mainline. They are located at

ESS COLMOR (3 Semaphores)
WSS LEVY (3 Semaphores)
MP 722 (2 Semaphores)
ESS WAGON MOUND (3 Semaphores)

No word yet as to the future of those blades. Will keep y'all posted. Now is the time to get your shots with the Southwest Chief and remaining semaphores.


Is that signal pointing straight up - presumably to indicate “clear” - standard US practice? It take it “danger” would be a horizontal aspect.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,903
Location
Washington State
Is that signal pointing straight up - presumably to indicate “clear” - standard US practice? It take it “danger” would be a horizontal aspect.
Upper quadrant semaphores like these AT&SF ones, vertical is a clear indication, 45° is an approach indication, and horizontal is stop or restricted.

Lower quadrant ones like SP had on the Siskiyou clear was a like a 70° angle, approach a 45° angle, and horizontal stop/restricted. The paint and whether the semaphore had a flat or notched end where indications of the signal type, but I am unclear on the details.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
1,001
Location
Lubec, ME
Although semaphores are interesting from a historic standpoint, I imagine for train crews the modern color light signal will be easier to read. At Seashore Trolley Museum where I operate we recently replaced a color light with a semaphore and I admit the semaphore is harder to read. In our case the background behind the semaphore is a group of trees so a dark blade against a dark background. Probably a better situation on the Glorieta where they are usually silhouetted against the sky.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Messages
13,574
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Now is the time to get your shots with the Southwest Chief and remaining semaphores.
Thank you for the notice.

Although semaphores are interesting from a historic standpoint, I imagine for train crews the modern color light signal will be easier to read. At Seashore Trolley Museum where I operate we recently replaced a color light with a semaphore and I admit the semaphore is harder to read. In our case the background behind the semaphore is a group of trees so a dark blade against a dark background. Probably a better situation on the Glorieta where they are usually silhouetted against the sky.
On my last visit the arms were set to clear in both directions of a single track with approach lit inadvertently by sunlight. I can see why they're being replaced.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
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Messages
6,903
Location
Washington State
Thank you for the notice.


On my last visit the arms were set to clear in both directions of a single track with approach lit inadvertently by sunlight. I can see why they're being replaced.
In the daytime, at least, the semaphore arm position is the signal indication, not the colored lens, for exactly the reason you point out.

The reason they are getting removed is they are maintenance intensive, with many moving parts and parts being unavailable for decades, not because they are deficient in displaying indication. Also, because the FRA wants to get rid of all signals with moving mechanical parts, which is unfortunately spelling doom for remaining searchlights as well.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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In the daytime, at least, the semaphore arm position is the signal indication, not the colored lens, for exactly the reason you point out.
The arms indicating clear movement in both directions of a single track was even more bewildering.

The reason they are getting removed is they are maintenance intensive, with many moving parts and parts being unavailable for decades, not because they are deficient in displaying indication.
In addition to less efficient operation, excessive maintenance requirements, and lack of replacement parts, semaphores are also prone to fail-unsafe in freezing rain.

Also, because the FRA wants to get rid of all signals with moving mechanical parts, which is unfortunately spelling doom for remaining searchlights as well.
If it were up to me old searchlights would have been given new LED upgrades and call it a day. Apparently the new safety lights are designed to work better in edge case conditions.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
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Messages
6,903
Location
Washington State
The arms indicating clear movement in both directions of a single track was even more bewildering.


In addition to less efficient operation, excessive maintenance requirements, and lack of replacement parts, semaphores are also prone to fail-unsafe in freezing rain.


If it were up to me old searchlights would have been given new LED upgrades and call it a day. Apparently the new safety lights are designed to work better in edge case conditions.
One of the manufacturers offered such a package for searchlights that was FRA approved. It did not gain any traction, unfortunately, since I prefer searchlights, too.

The semaphores are in ABS territory, not CTC. All ABS signalling does is indicate whether blocks are occupied ahead. Signal indication does not confer authority to occupy track like it does with dispatcher controlled CTC signalling. Permission to occupy track is conferred by track warrent in ABS territory. Since the track is unoccupied, clear in both directions is a normal indication in ABS territory. Light signals such as searchlights or tri-colors in ABS would show green aspects if constant-lit in the same situation. If a train approached a signal that displayed a "clear" indication in ABS, but had not been issued a track warrent to occupy track beyond that point, the engineer would have to stop, regardless of a clear indication right in front of him. Wouldn't matter if the signal was a semaphore, searchlight, tri color or a ball signal.
 
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PeeweeTM

Service Attendant
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May 9, 2011
Messages
204
In addition to less efficient operation, excessive maintenance requirements, and lack of replacement parts, semaphores are also prone to fail-unsafe in freezing rain.
Then again, in the Netherlands we had some trouble with sticky snow on 'cold' LED-signals.
With railroading I have an infinite source of complaints. 😉
 

Devil's Advocate

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One of the manufacturers offered such a package for searchlights that was FRA approved. It did not gain any traction, unfortunately, since I prefer searchlights, too.
I'm a big fan of searchlights but it's probably just blind nostalgia over logic or reason. Although it did not personally appeal to me I always felt the PRR's version combined the best of both worlds.

The semaphores are in ABS territory, not CTC. All ABS signalling does is indicate whether blocks are occupied ahead. Signal indication does not confer authority to occupy track like it does with dispatcher controlled CTC signalling. Permission to occupy track is conferred by track warrent in ABS territory. Since the track is unoccupied, clear in both directions is a normal indication in ABS territory. Light signals such as searchlights or tri-colors in ABS would show green aspects if constant-lit in the same situation.
That helps me understand how and why they ended up that way - thank you.

Then again, in the Netherlands we had some trouble with sticky snow on 'cold' LED-signals.
With railroading I have an infinite source of complaints. 😉
You might enjoy this video...

 

zephyr17

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I'm a big fan of searchlights but it's probably just blind nostalgia over logic or reason. Although it did not personally appeal to me I always felt the PRR's version combined the best of both worlds.
Me, too, at least as far as searchlights go. No reasoning there, I just like the way they look (actually better than semaphores). I grew up with them, and not being from the east coast, the position light and color position signals always struck me as a big strange looking. Although I have heard that at least some rail crews like searchlights better than (at least older) tricolors because they considered them more visible.

I do remember seeing some old PRR color position signals from an Iowa Pacific dome on the Hoosier State around Indianapolis.
 

jis

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I am assuming that the semaphores in northern NM are not actually used. I am wondering when the last time they were used.
They have been in use until very recently. They are finally being decommissioned and replaced by color light signals.
 

RPC

Service Attendant
Joined
May 29, 2015
Messages
231
I remmeber riding the SWC pre-pandemic and watching the blades drop from the rear window. BNSF should auction these off as they're retired - they'd make a fortune!
 

SWRailroadPhotography

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
18
Location
New Mexico
I am assuming that the semaphores in northern NM are not actually used. I am wondering when the last time they were used.
😂😂😂😂 they have been used every day since 1920 when they were installed on that line. SANTA FE steam used them, El Captain, The Chief, The Super Chief, and well into the BNSF Era the signals have been used. Amtrak has been using this line since its inception.
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
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Location
Baltimore. MD
They headed to museums, railroad organizations and BNSF Railroad Management.
It's a shame they couldn't partner with a museum or railroad historical society to keep one in operation as a sort of historical monument. Sort of like how they should restore the Solari board at 30th St. (or even better, get volunteers to post train departures on a chalkboard, which is how they used to do it at 30th St. before they got the Solari board.)
 

SWRailroadPhotography

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 2, 2020
Messages
18
Location
New Mexico
It's a shame they couldn't partner with a museum or railroad historical society to keep one in operation as a sort of historical monument. Sort of like how they should restore the Solari board at 30th St. (or even better, get volunteers to post train departures on a chalkboard, which is how they used to do it at 30th St. before they got the Solari board.)
They donated one to the American Railroad Museum in Frisco, Colorado Railroad Museum from what I’ve seen.
 
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