This portion of the Santa Fe Route is divided into the following subdivisions:
· Needles Subdivision from Barstow to Needles (mileposts from Albuquerque)
· Seligman Subdivision from Needles to East Winslow
· Gallup Subdivision from East Winslow to Dalies (and Belen Junction)
· Glorieta Subdivision from Dalies to Albuquerque [and Las Vegas] (mileposts from Atchison, KS)
Preferred running tracks: although the tracks on this line are bidirectionally signaled, there nonetheless is a distinct preference for which track to use in which direction over each segment of this line, generally based on favorable grades. This appears to be (in 2005):
Intermediate Signals: There is generally at least one, and preferably two in open country, set(s) of Intermediate Signals preceding each Absolute Signal (named location). Where Absolute Signals are too closely spaced for even one IS set, the approach signals for the succeeding block are placed as a second signal head on the absolute signals for the preceding block. The locations of some Absolute Signals changed, and others were added, with the conversion of these line segments to CTC in 1998-2002. The locations of many Intermediate Signals thus changed at the same time. Precise locations of many IS are thus not provided in this route description.
The entire Needles Subdivision is two main tracks, bidirectionally-signaled, and CTC-controlled by a dispatcher in Fort Worth, TX. The vast majority of the line has a 70 mph speed limit for freight, with many stretches having Automatic Train Stop fitted permitting a 90 mph speed limit for passenger trains. From Daggett, MP 737.3, where there is a crossover at the junction and another just east of the junction, the two main BNSF tracks continue in an east-southeast direction, over a bridge across a wash just east of the UP junction (but still west of the BNSF east-facing signals) and past those east-facing signals. There are intermediate signals at Cool Water (MP 735.9) and Gale (MP 732.1/2/3/4), a grade crossing at Hidden Springs Road (after which the Barstow/Yermo airport is alongside to the north), crossovers at Minneola with signal sets to the east and west and the station sign at Minneola (MP 731.2) in between, and a grade crossing at Minneola Road. All of these crossovers were installed in 1999 along with the CTC. The line continues straight ahead, with Old US 66 immediately to its right, as far as Newberry Springs, where the old highway crosses to the south side of I-40, while the rail line continues straight ahead. There are two sets of Intermediate Signals between Minneola and West Newberry. There are crossovers at West Newberry, MP 727.2 and East Newberry, MP 725.7, where there is also a 7352 ft. siding off track 1 (to the north side of the tracks). There are extra tracks on both sides of the line between West and East Newberry, with two additional tracks on the south side serving a ballast supply facility. After crossing Newberry Road, there is no paralleling road of any kind until crossing Port Cady Road, east of which there is a dirt road along the south side of the line. There are also crossovers at MP 724.3 (CP7245), the east end of the siding. At MP 720, the 0.7% rising grade from Barstow comes to an end, replaced by a 1% climb west of Pisgah and then 1.8% east of Pisgah to Ash Hill.
There are four sets of Intermediate Signals between CP 7245 and Hector. An orthogonal dirt road crosses the line at Hector (MP 712.8), where there is an extra track on the south side of the line. There are intermediate signals, a detector at MP 711.1, and more intermediate signals, and the line curves to the southeast and crosses another dirt road, passing under the two bridges of I-40 before reaching Pisgah, MP 706.6. There are crossovers at West Pisgah, MP 707.3, and East Pisgah, MP 705.2, with an extra track on each side of the line between them. Old Route 66 is again alongside the track, first on the south side, then crossing the line to the north side. At Lavic (MP 702.7, the speed limits drop for the traversal of the curvy section followed by the grades of Ash Hill. There is a spur on the south side of the line east of Lavic. The line crosses another dirt road, and then runs along the north side of a dirt road (with I-40 to the north side of the line) with three sets of intermediate signals, as the line curves due east, crosses over the dirt road and twists back and forth to Ludlow, MP 693.4, where there are crossovers and a setout spur on the south side of the line. The erstwhile Tonopah and Tidewater narrow gauge railroad once crossed the line here. There are detectors on both tracks at MP 691.8. Following another road crossing and a set of intermediate signals,, the line heads east, rejoined by Old Route 66 on its north side, the latter crossing the line and turning away southeast before the line itself turns southeast through Ash Hill, MP 686.7. There are crossovers at West Ash Hill, MP 688.2, and East Ash Hill, MP 686.3. There are extra tracks on both sides of the line between West and East Ash Hill, with the one on the south side continuing eastward. All of this is across rolling terrain, populated only by scrub and desert animals, between numerous ranges of treeless mountains.
After crossing another dirt road at Ash Hill, the line again comes alongside Old Route 66, with two sets of intermediate signals intervening. The two tracks then separate for the descent of Ash Hill, with speed limits of 55 mph for passenger and 50 mph for freight as far as Siberia. The mainly westbound track (to the north/east side of the line) heads southeast through Klondike (MP 682.0), with an extra track on the north side of the line, to maintain a 1.4% grade westbound, and then turns west-southwest, with a set of intermediate signals east of the curve to rejoin the other track near Siberia, with the mainly eastbound track (to the south/west side of the line) heading directly downhill alongside Old Route 66, almost due south to Siberia. There are crossovers at West Siberia, MP 676.6, with an extra track on the north side for a short distance west of that location and eastward to East Siberia, and East Siberia, MP 674.6, where full line speeds resume. The rejoined line now resumes an east-southeasterly heading, with Old Route 66 alongside to the south, passing through Bagdad (MP 669.3), where there are extra tracks on both sides of the line. The line and road continue together in the same direction to Amboy, with three sets of intermediate signals and a detector at MP 665.0. There are crossovers at West Amboy, MP 661.8, and East Amboy, MP 660.0. Old Route 66 crosses to the north side and diverges from the tracks, being replaced by a dirt road on the north side to Saltus (MP 658.4), where another dirt road crosses the tracks. The line then turns east, with dirt road accompaniment on both sides, through Bolo (MP 655.0), past intermediate signals, detectors on both tracks (MP 654.0), more intermediate signals, and crossovers at West Cadiz, MP 649.0, to Cadiz, MP 648.1, where the former Santa Fe branch to Parker and Phoenix, now owned by the Arizona and California, branches off to the southeast.
At East Cadiz, MP 647.2, there are more crossovers and an extra track on the south side and the main line turns northeast, with dirt road accompaniment now on the south side. (A paved road south from Old US 66 crosses the tracks at the east end of Cadiz.) There are three sets of intermediate signals, and detectors at MP 644.5. At Danby, another dirt road crosses the tracks, and there are crossovers at West Danby, MP 636.9, and East Danby, MP 634.7, followed by three more sets of intermediate signals and detectors at MP 628.1. At Essex (MP 626.2), there is another road crossing, an extra track on the south side heading east, and Old US 66 resumes accompaniment on the north side, until it diverges to the east-northeast while the line continues northeast, past another set of intermediate signals, with another paved road on the northwest side. The line is now climbing steadily, from the low point at Cadiz to an upcoming summit at Goffs. There are crossovers at CP Fenner (MP 622.6) , another set of intermediate signals, the line passes under I-40, setout tracks at Fenner itself (MP 618.7), and three more sets of intermediate signals bracketing the detectors at MP 614.9.
There are crossovers at West Goffs, MP 611.6, and East Goffs, MP 609.2, with a 12,100 ft. siding on the north side of the line between them, with three main tracks eastward beginning at East Goffs starting in the first quarter of 2006. At the summit at Goffs, the accompanying paved road crosses from the north side to the south side (at Lanfair Road or Mountain Springs Road), and is now called Goffs Road, while both line and road head due east together. An ATSF branch north to Vanderbilt, CA, and Searchlight, NV, once headed northward from Goffs. The line is now descending to Needles, and the passenger speed limit has dropped to 70 mph. There are three sets of intermediate signals, two more dirt road crossings, and an extra track on the north side before Homer (MP 601.5) and more detectors at MP 600.7. After Bannock (MP 597.0), where the speed limits drop to 65-55, there are intermediate signals, US 95 crosses the line and becomes the accompanying road on the south/west side (until it connects with I-40) as the line turns southeast with Piute Wash to its east. Between the US 95 crossing—Arrowhead Junction, MP 594.x, where there are more intermediate signals—and Ibis (MP 592.3, where the speed limits drop to 55-50), the tracks are again separated, with the north track making a wide curve to the north to provide a lower grade (1.4%) for westbound trains. There is a short spur on the north side of the line just east of Ibis, two sets of intermediate signals, and a short extra track on the north side just west of Java. At Java (MP 585.6), the line turns from southeast to just north of east, then turns southeast again to pass under I-40.
There is no accompanying road along this section, until after the line has passed under I-40 again to enter Needles. There are detectors at MP 584.6, intermediate signals, crossovers at West Needles, MP 580.2 (west of the twin I-40 bridges), where the three tracks (as of the first quarter of 2006) reduce to two and the speed limits drop to 45-40 for the passage through Needles, and more intermediate signals. The passenger depot at Needles (MP 578.0) is on the west side of the tracks, while the yard and other facilities are on the east side of the tracks. In the depot area, there are four parallel tracks, with extra tracks on both sides of the line and crossovers among them at both ends of the station.
East of Needles (which is at only 250 feet altitude), the line continues southeast, again as two main tracks, CTC-controlled from Forth Worth, with some track segments in western Arizona having only recently (2002) been converted from Rule 251-based double-track absolute block signaling). The line runs along the west bank of the Colorado River, again with no nearby road accompaniment, through East Needles, where there are crossovers at MP 571.2, until it turns east and crosses the Colorado River on a deck truss bridge at Topock, where there are more crossovers at MP 565.1, and then crosses over Arizona Route 66, the eastward continuation of Old Route 66. After crossing the river, the line climbs over 7000 ft to the Arizona Divide, west of Flagstaff. In the lower altitudes, the terrain is desert, just like the Mojave, as the line passes through Kingman Canyon. At first, the line continues due east, along the north side of the Sacramento Wash, with no nearby roads (other than I-40 a little to the south), passing detectors at MP 561.5 and crossing a dirt road before reaching Powell (MP 558.8). From Topock to East Griffith, the line speeds are again 90 mph for passenger trains and 70 mph for freight.
There are crossovers at West Franconia, MP 553.5, and East Franconia, MP 551.7, with a 9,473 ft. siding between them. East of Franconia, the line turns northeast to Haviland (MP 545.8). It then crosses Sacramento Wash and turns due north, crossing another stream and then Willow Creek at Yucca (MP 539.4), where there are more crossovers. The line passes under I-40 and through more detectors at MP 536.4, crossing another creek and then a dirt road before reaching Athos (MP 535.6). The line crosses Black Rock Wash and another dirt road on the way to Griffith. There are crossovers at West Griffith, MP 528.8 and East Griffith (MP 526.9), with a 9,169 ft. siding between them. North of Griffith, the tracks separate, and passenger train speed limits drop to 80 mph for the passage of the most rugged section of Kingman Canyon, with the south/east track passing through Harris (MP 521.5) and the north/west track passing through McConnico (MP 521.2), where a former ATSF branch north to Chloride once departed in a westerly direction. At McConnico, there is a siding and two-track yard which used to service the North Star Steel plant, a “mini steel mill” using an electric furnace. The facility has completely shut down since late 2003. From McConnico, Route 66 joins on the west side of the tracks for the rest of the way into Kingman. In Kingman (MP 516.4), the tracks turn from northward to eastward, crossing South Second Street and South Fourth Street. East of the latter, the depot is on the north side of the line, while to its north, former ATSF 4-8-4 3759 is stuffed and mounted in a park. US 66 runs parallel to the line, on the north side.
From Kingman to Seligman, the line is generally accompanied by the alignment of Old Route 66 (here, AZ 66), although the two are not always sufficiently adjacent to one another for viewing the lineside from the road. Along this stretch, the line is steadily climbing, passing the Hualapai Mountains and Peacock Mountains to the south of the line, the Music Mountains to the north, and then the Cottonwood Cliffs to the south. Leaving the deserts of the Colorado River valley behind, the hilly terrain is generally of the savanna grassland style, studded with separated trees, generally deciduous in nature. The line leaves Kingman headed northeast, ascending at a grade of 1,4%, passing signal 516.1/2 at the east end of the depot, the tracks separate for a short distance, crossing Stockton Hill and under County Road 245, passing intermediate signals and crossovers at Getz (MP 513.9). The line now descends at a grade of 0.9% through detectors at MP 512.5, passing under the I-40 bridges, passing more crossovers at West Berry (MP 511.5), crossing Diagonal Way at Berry, and passing crossovers at East Berry (MP 509.4), with extra tracks on both sides and then on the south side only, and a wye at the end of the extra track on the south side, before crossing Industrial Parkway, Mohave Airport Road, and Bruce Road at grade, with Route 66 running parallel on the west side. There are two sets of intermediate signals, the line starts to climb at 1.3% eastward from MP 504, and there are two more sets of intermediate signals with an extra track on the south side between them.
There are more crossovers at Walapai (MP 499.9), with minor roads crossing on each side, and more intermediate signals, before the line turns southeast at Antares, starts an 0.8% downgrade to MP 490, and enters Crozier Canyon towards Hackberry (MP 489.0), where another minor road crosses, with the line still accompanied by Route 66. Crossing another minor road and turning north-northeast past another set of intermediate signals, with an extra track on the south side, the line starts to climb again as it passes through the Hualapai Indian reservation at Valentine. There are more crossovers at West Valentine, MP 485.8, a minor road crossing at Valentine, and crossovers at East Valentine, MP 484.0, with a 9,100 ft. siding between them and another minor road crossing near Hualapai Indian School and one near the old location of Crozier. The line then turns generally northeast, curving back and forth through canyons, passing intermediate signals, detectors at MP 480.7, passing more intermediate signals and another minor road crossing, Truxton (MP 477.3), where there is an extra track on the south side of the line east to MP 476.x, more intermediate signals, crossovers at Cherokee (MP 473.7), a minor road crossing entering Yampai Canyon, more intermediate signals, and crossovers at West Peach Springs, MP 467.6, and East Peach Springs, MP 465.8, with a road crossing between them.
The line turns generally east, accompanied by IR 19 on the north side, passing intermediate signals and then Shipley (MP 461.4 on the north track), through Faught Canyon, a road crossing entering Nelson Canyon, and extra track on the south side before reaching the crossovers at Nelson (MP 460.2), where the rail-served Nelson Lme Plant is on the north side of the track. There is a tunnel in Nelson Canyon, two sets of intermediate signals, Fields, another road crossing, more crossovers at the summit at Yampai (MP 453.8), with an extra track on the north side of the line to its east, and detectors at MP 452.1 with an extra track on the south side to their east. Heading east-southeast, on a 1.4% descent east of Yampai, there are crossovers and a water tank on the north side of the line at West Pica, MP 446.8, an extra track on the north side between the sets of crossovers, a road crossing at Pica, crossovers at East Pica, MP 444.9, intermediate signals, and Audley, MP 439.6, where a 1.4% upgrade starts and there is another road crossing. Route 66 rejoins on the north side, there are intermediate signals and a turn due south to Chino, where Fort Rock Road crosses and the line starts a 1.4% descent, more intermediate signals and a short line separation, and then a turn just south of due east to crossovers at West Seligman, MP 429.8, where a business spur off I-40 crosses overhead and extra tracks through Seligman begin, and the facilities at Seligman (depot and former Harvey House on the north side, sidings on the south side). A line southeast to Prescott once headed off south of the main line at Seligman.
There are more crossovers at East Seligman, MP 427.9, followed by a bridge over the business spur off I-4, detectors at MP 426.9 and two sets of intermediate signals, with Route 66 still running parallel to the north. After passing through Pan, the main line turns east, crossing Route 66, and there are crossovers at West Crookton, MP 420.5, with a minor road crossing, and East Crookton, MP 418.3. The latter is the start of an alignment newly engineered in the late 1950s (brought into use on December 19th, 1960), known as the 'Crookton line change', to avoid the curving descent to, and sharply curving climb from, Ash Fork. The ‘new’ line generally follows the contour of the land, descending for 12 miles from Crookton to Eagle Nest, accompanied by a minor road on the south side, heading east-northeast, then north, and then east-northeast again after crossing a couple of minor roads, past three sets of intermediate signals to crossovers at West Eagle Nest, MP 407.5, and East Eagle Nest, MP 405.5. There is a setout track on the north side between the crossovers. Eagle Nest is at 5,205 ft. elevation, and is the start of a 35-mile climb, with many cuts and fills to smooth the grade.
After another minor road crossing, the line then heads due east with a minor road on its north side before crossing another road and making a sweeping turn to the south with that road now on its southwest side, past detectors at MP 401.2 among three sets of intermediate signals, and a sweeping turn back to the east, with a couple of minor road crossings along the way. There are crossovers at West Doublea, MP 395.1, a turn to the northeast, and crossovers at East Doublea, MP 392.0. Along this stretch, the new line is visible from the old line down to Ash Fork (still used by Phoenix trains), and the old line is (less-easily) visible from the new line. The accompanying road crosses from the south side to the north side as the line curves northeast. There are two sets of intermediate signals and then a deep cut which has a braced pipeline crossing overhead. Another sweeping curve takes the new line back to a southeasterly direction, through crossovers at West Perrin, MP 385.6, and East Perrin, MP 383.1. These are followed by two more sets of intermediate signals and detectors at MP 377.6.
At Williams, the line crosses Airport Road and the Grand Canyon Railway, passes under I-40 and Route 66, and then turns east and joins with the old line to/from Ash Fork, at West Williams Junction (MP 375.0), which also has crossovers and an Amtrak depot on a 2400 ft. siding on the north side of the tracks. (The Ash Fork line still operates as part of the line to Phoenix.) After the crossovers at East Williams Junction, MP 374.3, and the road crossing at Bootlegger Crossing, the line turns essentially due east, paralleling I-40 again. There are intermediate signals, the summit of the 35-mile climb, and then a three-mile descent at 1.4% with another set of intermediate signals. Between Williams and Flagstaff, the terrain changes with the line running through pine trees (the ‘Arizona Forest’, aka Kaibab National Forest) at an altitude of over 7000 ft. across the Arizona Divide to Flagstaff. Adding to the spectacle of the magnificent scenery are the San Francisco Mountains, the remnants of the rim around an ancient volcanic caldera, rising to 10,418 ft. Kendrick Peak and 12,663 ft. Humphreys Peak, to the north of the line, visible from west of Williams to well to the east of Flagstaff.
At Challender, MP 368.1, where the line starts to climb again at 1.4% to the Arizona Divide, there are crossovers, a road crossing, and a spur, logging railroads used to depart to the south. There are intermediate signals, crossovers at Maine, MP 362.5, where there are extra tracks on the north side and the speed limit drops from 90 to 79 mph, and which also has a road crossing accessible from I-40 just to the north after which the line turns east-southeast, more intermediate signals and detectors at MP 358.3. At Bellemont (MP 356.3), there are extra tracks on the south side of the line in addition to a line off into the Navajo Army Depot to the south (and a road crossing between I-40 and the army depot), and there were once many logging railroads off to the north that connected in here. There are crossovers at East Bellemont, MP 354.5, along with a 4,984 ft. siding. The Arizona Divide is reached at MP 351 (with intermediate signals), at an elevation of 7,313 ft. (higher than Donner Pass!), after which the line descends at 1.4%, and at Riordan, with more intermediate signals, the line turns east again, passing beneath I-40, and curving its way back and forth through the forest on the approaches to Flagstaff, with an accompanying road on the north side. There are crossovers at West Flagstaff, MP 344.8, US 89 crosses below, and the beautiful Amtrak depot is passed on the north side of the tracks at MP 344.1, sandwiched between two road crossings at grade (Beaver and Skydome). There is an older stone depot east of the second road crossing, to the west of side tracks on both the north and south sides of the line. Many more logging railroads used to depart to the south in Flagstaff.
East of Flagstaff, the terrain alongside the track is once again empty and even more uninviting than to the west of Kingman, as the line descends 1500 ft. or so to Winslow. At the East Flagstaff crossovers, MP 342.1, the line turns northeast and crosses East Huntington, accompanied the whole way by US 89 on the north side, with several more streets crossing at grade along the way. At the (erstwhile) wye at Ralston Purina, it turns east again, and begins a 1.4% downgrade. At Cliffs, more logging railroads used to intersect the main line, from both north and south. There are crossovers at McPhetridge, MP 338.8, and detectors on both tracks at MP 336.8, and East Santa Fe Road crosses overhead. At Cosnino (MP 333.1), which has a road crossing at grade, the line starts to curve back and forth as far as East Darling. There are crossovers at West Darling, MP 329.5, and East Darling, MP 326.7, with Winona and County Road 394 crossing overhead between them. The Darling Cinder Pit, used as a ballast supply, and the sidings serving it, are visible on the north side of the line from the CR 394 overpass a half-mile east of the West Darling signals. County Road 394 now runs alongside to the south with I-40 just beyond. After long stretches of reduced speed limits through the Flagstaff area, line speeds are now 79 mph for passenger trains and 70 mph for freight trains. Following another minor road crossing, there are more intermediate signals and detectors on both tracks at MP 322.7, adjacent to the crossovers at Angell, where Angel Road also crosses the tracks. There are four signal bridges still in use (in April, 2006) on the stretch of line between Darling and Canyon Diablo.
The land is scarred by a number of usually dry gullies, one of which, Canyon Diablo, is spanned by a spectacular and justly famous bridge, 222 ft above the floor of the canyon. The line turns east-southeast, with three sets of intermediate signals and a number of dirt roads crossing, and crossing Canyon Padre on a smaller bridge before reaching Canyon Diablo. At MP 316, the downgrade lessens to 0.4%, and there are detectors at MP 315.5. The Canyon Diablo Bridge is at an altitude of 5,400 ft.; east of the bridge, the downgrade increases again to 1.0-1.4%. There are crossovers at West Canyon Diablo, MP 312.1, immediately east of the bridge (with the west facing signals west of the bridge), and then crossovers at East Canyon Diablo, MP 310.5, with a 6,436 ft. siding on the north side of the tracks, between them, followed by Ralston, MP 310.2. After crossing some more dirt roads, the line passes through Sunshine (MP 305.9, south track only), where there are detectors on both tracks. The line passes two more sets of intermediate signals, crosses another dirt road, passes under I-40, which crosses on two separate bridges, and crosses another minor road before Dennison (MP 300.4), with I-40 running closely parallel to the north. There are four more sets of intermediate signals, detectors at 291.2, the tracks separate a little, with the north track at a lower level than the south track, and there’s a road overbridge before reaching West Winslow. At West Winslow, MP 288.3, the line expands to three main tracks as far as East Winslow, MP 284.5. The Winslow yard extends along the south side of the main line, from West Pass, MP 286.7, to East Pass, MP 285.3, along with a station track on the north side. There’s another extra track on the north side west of the passenger platform. At Winslow itself, MP 285.6, SR 87 and SR 99 cross overhead (on the same bridge), and there is an Amtrak depot and the former Harvey House ‘La Posada’ (again in use as a hotel), both on the north side of the tracks, and some crossovers. Between West Winslow and the depot are (or were) locomotive facilities and an erstwhile icehouse. East of the depot, on the south side, is the former location of the stockyards. There is a spur on the north side, just east of the passenger platform.
The Winslow Yard is used, among other things, for removing cars destined for Phoenix from westbound main line trains, and making them up into trains for Phoenix, and for breaking up trains from Phoenix and adding their cars to eastbound main line trains. (In 2005, this only applies to manifest trains. Intermodal cars to and from Phoenix are swapped as blocks of cars into and out of other intermodal trains at Clovis, NM.)
East of Winslow, the line is accompanied on the north side by US 180 as far as Cottonwood Wash, and on the south side by the Little Colorado "river", after crossing it just east of the East Winslow crossovers (MP 284.5, where the number of main tracks reduces to two). The entire line is two main tracks, CTC-controlled from Fort Worth, with some track segments having only recently (11-6-2001) been converted from Rule 251-based double-track absolute block signaling). Line speeds increase, again, to 90 mph for passenger trains (meaning Automatic Train Stop is installed) and 70 mph for freight trains as far as Gallup (except that the passenger train speed drops to 80 mph between Pinta and Navajo, inclusive). The line climbs generally from Winslow to the Continental Divide at Gonzalez, initially with an 0.3% grade as far as Joseph City.
The line continues east southeastward, through Hobson, four sets of intermediate signals, Hibbard (MP 274.8), where there are additional tracks on north and south sides of the line and a grade crossing at their east end, two sets of intermediate signals, the detectors at Hardy (MP 270.4), three more sets of intermediate signals, and Manilla (MP 265.4), with I-40 running quite close by on the north side. At Joseph City, MP 262.4, after more intermediate signals, a road crosses from north to south and there is a large electricity generating plant (Arizona Public Service) on the north side of the line, along with a number of sidings for coal trains. The line dips southeastward, past more intermediate signals, through Penzance (MP 258.6), with a grade crossing at the west end and an extra track on the south side, and turns east on mostly level track past three more sets of intermediate signals to Holbrook, MP 253.0. Central Avenue runs on the north side, the junction with the Apache Railway south to Snowflake is made, with the exchange sidings along the south side of the tracks west of the town, and extra track on the north side, with crossovers between them. The former ATSF depot is on the south side, east of the junction and the grade crossing of SR 77. East of Holbrook, the line heads generally east-northeastward, through Petrified Forest National Park and then between various sets of brightly colored cliffs, as it rises slowly to Gallup and the Continental Divide beyond it. The specific grade east of Holbrook is 0.6%.
There are five sets of intermediate signals, detectors at MP 247.4 and crossovers at Arntz (MP 243.5), which has extra tracks north and south. After two more sets of intermediate signals, the line crosses the Rio Puerco (which it does repeatedly along this stretch of line). There are four more sets of intermediate signals before the line passes through Carrizo (MP 238.3), crossing some dirt roads along the way, three more sets of intermediate signals, and crossovers at Adamana (MP 232.3), which also has extra tracks north and south with rail-served industry using tank cars on the north side. In June, 2007, there are signs of construction of extra tracks on the south side, both east and west of Adamana, complete with new signals turned sideways at the west end of each such area. The road through Petrified Forest National Park passes overhead. There are three more sets of intermediate signals, more detectors at MP 225.2 and crossovers at Bibo (MP 222.8). After two more sets of intermediate signals, the passenger train speed limit drops at Pinta (MP 219.2), which has extra tracks north and south and a road crossing., There are crossovers and wye tracks to the Coronado subdivision heading southward to the Comanche Generating Station near Coronado, at West Coronado Junction, MP 215.9, and at East Coronado Junction, MP 214.8, followed by another set of intermediate signals. Just west of West Coronado Junction, the line crosses the river on a deck girder bridge, and crosses it again just east of East Coronado Junction, after which the river is on the south side of the tracks for awhile.
At Navajo (MP 213.3), which also has extra tracks and a road crossing, the 90 mph passenger train speed limit resumes. This section of the line was totally rebuilt in late 1998 as part of the preparation for the cutover to bidirectionally-signaled CTC operation. There are three more sets of intermediate signals before the line passes through Chambers (MP 205.9), which has extra tracks on the north and south sides, a vertical tank or silo along the north side tracks, and a road crossing with easy access from I-40 just to the north. There are intermediate signals, detectors at MP 202.4, and Cheto (MP 202.2), where a road bridge passes overhead, and then extra tracks on the south side. After two more sets of intermediate signals, the line crosses over the river, which continues along the north side of the tracks. At Sanders, there is also easy access from I-40 on a major road that crosses the tracks. After two more sets of intermediate signals, Houck (MP 191.2), just below 6,000 ft. on the 0.6% ascent to the Continental Divide, has extra tracks on both sides of the line with lineside industry on the north side of the north tracks, and road access from I-40, a short distance away to the north. Detectors at MP 188.1 are preceded by two more sets of intermediate signals, a road crosses the line from north to south, and after more intermediate signals the line passes Allentown. There are five sets of intermediate signals and IR 9402 crosses before reaching the town of Lupton (MP 180.4), immediately adjacent to I-40, which also has extra tracks on both sides of the line.
After crossing into New Mexico near MP 180, I-40 crosses overhead and SR 118 accompanies the line to the north, there are crossovers also named Lupton (MP 176.1), detectors at MP 175.9 on the south track and MP 175.5 on the north track, and SR 118 crosses the line to connect with the adjacent I-40. After a set of intermediate signals and a slide detector fence at Manuelito (MP 174.2), the line crosses over the river and is then between the river and I-40 east of there. Following two sets of intermediate signals, a road crosses the line at MP 171. There are crossovers and wye tracks (to the Defiance subdivision north to coal mines at Carbon, P&M South and P&M North)) at West Defiance, MP 167.0, where County Road 1 crosses the line, and East Defiance, MP 165.0. There are intermediate signals at MP 164.x and 163.x, the line turns almost due east, with US 666 to its south, through the crossovers at West Gallup (MP 161.3, where there is a wye to the spur north to the Anaconda Mill), and crosses County Road 1 (again) and under I-40, Rob-Roy Road, Munoz Road and SR 602, passing intermediate signals at MP 159.x before reaching the Amtrak station and former ATSF depot on the south side of the line at Gallup, where 'El Navajo' Harvey House was once located, MP 157.6. There is a rail-served cement facility on the north side of the line at the west end of the yard at Gallup, which is on the north side of the line, west of the passenger station’s location, with an extra track on the north side east of the yard as far as East Gallup. At the east end of the station are some spurs on the south side of the line.
From the crossovers at East Gallup, MP 156.6, the line heads east, passing under I-40 again with US 666 still on the south side, past detectors at MP 153.9, past a yard with many tank cars and a lineside industry behind it on the north side, through Zuni (MP 151.6), and passing beneath the SR 566 overhead road bridge, to McCune (MP 149.3). A line south to the Fort Wingate Army Depot goes off at a wye, and there is an extra track on the south side heading east. At Wingate (MP 146.5 on the north track only, with storage tracks for tank cars), there is another road bridge overhead followed a few miles further along by another with CR 27 which then follows along on the north side to crossovers at Perea (MP 144.6X), a former junction with a southerly logging railroad, where the line splits into two quite widely separated tracks. There is a long stretch with speed limits of 90 mph passenger and 70 mph freight as far as East Grants. North of the tracks are ranks of brightly colored sandstone cliffs, all the way from Perea to Grants.
Both tracks head east, and then make sharp turns to the south, the north track crossing CR 27 and passing through North Guam (MP 136.7X), with an extra track on the south side, and a road crossing, and the south track paralleling CR 27 through Ciniza (MP 136.9) and South Guam (MP 136.2), where there is a road crossing, and then coming much closer together (but not quite adjacent to one another) near Coolidge (grade crossing on south track) and turning east again past detectors at MP131.3 (on each track). The south track crosses SR 122 at grade. The tracks cross the Continental Divide at 7,275 ft. elevation, which, on this route, is not only an anti-climax, it’s almost unnoticeable, being almost level, and at a much lower altitude than summits on either side, albeit ones that are hundreds of miles away. There is an 0.6% downgrade from the Continental Divide to Grants.
The tracks come back together at the crossovers at Gonzales (MP 128.8), with an extra track on the south side as far as the SR 57 bridge, crossing SR 122 more than once in the area, and remain so, crossing SR 122 again and then under SR 57, to Thoreau, MP 124.1, where they separate again, though not as widely as before, and where another logging railroad once went off to the south. The south track crosses SR 122 and another road, and passes through South Chaves and the north track crosses SR 122 and the other road while passing through North Chaves, and crosses SR 122 again east of North Chaves, and then again further east. There are two sets of intermediate signals (MP 123.3 and MP 120.3), with a dirt track grade crossing between them, before passing the wye with the line north to the Plains Electric Generating Station at West Pegs, MP 118.5, and East Pegs, MP 117.7, just before the lines come back together. There is a grade crossing at MP 114.98, crossovers at West Baca, MP 114.8, where a road crosses the tracks, along with the west wye to the line northeast to the Lee Ranch Mine. There are extra tracks on both sides of the line between West Baca and the east leg of the wye and more crossovers at East Baca, MP 113.3. The line now crosses CR 23 and turns almost south with a frontage road and I-40 on its west side, past detectors at MP 111.1, over occasional road crossings and bridges over streams, and through Bluewater (MP 107.2), which has a road crossing and an extra track on the south side followed by an extra track on the north side, intermediate signals adjacent to another crossing of SR 122 which now follows along the west side, and additional road crossings.
The line passes more intermediate signals, crosses SR 605 and passes through Reid (MP 100.7), passes an industry and siding on the north side, crosses SR 53 which moves from following on the west to following on the northeast, crosses SR 53 again followed by Ice Caves Road, and passes the crossovers at West Grants (MP 98.3) with West Santa Fe Avenue on its north side, turning southeast to pass through Grants, which has a siding and setout tracks on the north side and then the old depot and industry on the north side and a siding on the south side. The line passes under BR I-40, and passes the crossovers at East Grants (MP 94.3), with Old US 66 running to the north, passing detectors at MP 90.5 after crossing under Old US 66, and turning generally east at the Intermediate Signals at Anzac (MP 86.4/5), with more detectors at MP 85.4. East of here, ‘mesas’, some of which have Indian villages atop them (for reasons of defense), replace the cliffs. Speed limits are 79-70 to Dalies following a reduction to 60-55 through Anzac
The line then enters the Acoma Indian Reservation, passes over I-40 and crosses two streets (including IR 27) at grade, passes crossovers at McCartys (MP 82.7) with IR 343 running alongside to the south, passing intermediate signals at MP 80.x, crosses IR 344, with IR 34 now on the north side, crosses IR 345 after which there an extra track on the north side, passes intermediate signals at MP 78.x, and crosses IR 30 at Acomita (MP 76.3, on the north track only, with the famous Acoma Pueblo and Sky City on the mesa itself off to the south). After crossing IR 26, there are detectors at MP74.4, another crossing of IR 26, I-40 passes overhead and IR 241 crosses at grade. Intermediate Signals at MP 72.2 IR 244 is now alongside to the south, and then IR 50 followed by SR 124 to the north.
In the Laguna Indian Reservation, the lines passes Laguna Crossovers (MP 71.1), Laguna on the south track with extra tracks on the south side, and another Laguna on the north track with extra tracks on the north side. The line crosses under SR 124 as it turns north, followed by Intermediate Signals at MP 68.2, Intermediate Signals and detectors at MP 65.8, on a short jog north crossing IR 502 on the way with Intermediate Signals at MP 64.x to its east followed by a through truss bridge over a river. There are more Intermediate Signals at MP 63.4 and at MP 61.4, and a Santa Fe emblem carved on a rocky cliff on the north side of the line before Quirk (where there are setout tracks on both sides), There are crossovers at Marmon (MP 58.7), east of a road crossing, after a jog back south. The line now heads southeast, under I-40 again, followed by intermediate signals at MP 54.x and more road crossings, with the Sandia Mountains appearing dead ahead, to Suwanee (MP 47.2), where SR 6 is alongside to the north, and which has crossovers and a north side extra track east of the crossovers, followed by another separation of the tracks about a mile further along.
In the Isleta Indian Reservation, there are detectors at MP 45.7X on the south track and MP 44.5 on the north track adjacent to intermediate signals, and locations called Garcia (MP 42.2), each of which has a road crossing, with an extra track on the north side of the northerly instance. Both tracks head south and then southeast, with IR 548 running between them and later crossing the north track. There are intermediate signals at MP 37.x. The mountain almost dead ahead as the line heads south is just northwest of Socorro, NM! The tracks come back together, with extra tracks on the north side just west of the lines coming back together, and with SR 6 alongside to the north, at the crossovers at Rio Puerco (MP 33.9), with a bridge over a river just east of the crossovers. The line heads roughly east, with curves back and forth past intermediate signals at MP 30.x and 28.x, and past detectors at MP 28.3, to Dalies (MP 27.4).
As the line starts to descend into the Rio Grande valley, the freight and passenger mains separate, with sidings alongside the freight line at Dalies and an old water tank in the vee of the junction. The two-main-track freight line heads southeast to Belen, passing the crossovers at Felipe (MP 5.5), passing under I-25, crossing Lopez Road and SR 314, and joining with the original main line south from Albuquerque to El Paso at Belen Junction (MP 0.0). The Belen yard and on-line fuel racks are on the east side of this southerly-heading line between Belen Junction and El Paso Junction, south of the SR 309 overbridge, while the erstwhile passenger depot is on the west side, on 1st Street.
From the junction at Dalies, the single track CTC-controlled passenger line, with a setout track on its east side, heads northeastward to Albuquerque down a 1% grade, alongside Huning Road, past intermediate signals, under SR 6, passing more intermediate signals through Sandia, where there is a road crossing, passing more intermediate signals and then Paquita, crossing another road where there are more intermediate signals, passing under I-25 and under SR 314, with an extra track on the west side of the line, to the junction with the original main line south from Albuquerque to El Paso at Isleta (MP 12.6). The line continues northward, across IR 88 and SR 147, crossing the Rio Grande on a through girder bridge and climbing at 0.5% after crossing the river, passing intermediate signals, coming alongside Bates Road and passing under I-25 again, through Barr with 2nd Street SW now on the west side.
The line crosses SR 47 adjacent to intermediate signals, passing an industrial park (with an intermodal lift) on the east side of the line with five separate facing spur tracks departing eastward into that area, passing Kinney, and crossing Bowers Road, SW (or Prosperity Avenue, SE), after which there is another eastward spur into the industrial park, this one trailing in. The line then crosses Rio Bravo Boulevard SE, where the Bernalillo County/International Sunport RailRunner station has a platform and parking lot on the east side of the line, passing Rio Bravo (MP 906.4), where a short branch heads east, crossing SR 500, after which a spur track trails in from the west, and passing Abajo (MP 903.8), and Ajax, where CTC ends and double-track absolute block track warrant control begins.
The line continues past the yards (mainly on the west side of the tracks, but with a few tracks on the east side), under a road bridge, passing intermediate signals and the former maintenance shops on the west side, and then the RailRunner yard on the east side, passing under Lead Avenue SE, and reaching the passenger station at Albuquerque (MP 902.4). The depot on the west side of the station, on 1st Street SW, is a replacement for the former ATSF depot that burned in the 1990s, used by both Amtrak and Greyhound. (There is also a local bus terminal in this area, named the Alvarado Transportation Center.) The Alvarado Hotel (a Harvey House) was once located here, also. There were on-line fuel pads north and south of the passenger platforms as recently as November, 1998, but these have been removed by April, 2006. The north end of the station passes above Central Avenue, E.