El Paso to Sierra Blanca

At El Paso (Union Depot) (MP 1295.9), where the speed limit is 20 mph, there is an on-line fuel rack adjacent to the station on the north side, and the station facilities are on the south side, with the former Santa Fe platforms beyond them. The ex-SP line turns east-northeast, there is a road bridge overhead, and there are crossovers at Civic Center (MP 1296.0), and the line then runs in a cutting with concrete retaining walls and several road bridges overhead, and passes beneath the Civic Center in tunnel, emerging at the crossovers at Campbell Street (MP 1296.5), where Six Main Tracks start, with a number of yard tracks on the south side of the line, and the speed limit rises to 30 mph. Two tracks split off on the north side immediately east of the tunnel, and then run parallel to the others with some facilities and two other tracks in between.

There is a hold signal at CP S1298 (MP 1297.0), and those yard tracks spread out to become a large yard on the south side of the line, past the crossovers at Dallas Street (MP 1297.4). There is a road bridge overhead and then there are wye junctions on both the south and north sides of the line at Tower 47 (Cotton Avenue) (MP 1297.6), with the west leg on the south side curving away to pass between buildings and the line from the south wye going to the Mopac Yard, El Paso South Yard, and across the river to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. From the north wye, the former El Paso & Northeastern, later SP, line to Tucumcari and the former Rock Island, now "Cotton Rock" route to Kansas City, splits off to the north (with the two parallel tracks on the north side trailing into it), with extra track on the south side.

There is no fuel-rack at this location on that line; hence the additional fuel rack adjacent to the station. There is, however another on-line fuel rack, with four parallel sets of facilities, at least two of them on-line, adjacent to the roundhouse on the ex-T&NO main line east, east of the crossovers at East Leg Wye (MP1297.9), as the line turns east, and west of the crossovers at Piedras Street (MP 1298.2), east end of the El Paso facilities, where the old T&NO trackage starts.

There is a major road bridge overhead, with a rail-served industry on the north side of the line to its east, signals, two grade crossings, another rail-served industry on the north side, and three grade crossings. The Double Track, Automatic Block Signals line turns east-southeast, with the speed limit now 60 mph, curves a couple of times back and forth, with a road bridge and then a dual road bridge overhead, a cemetery on the south side, a road bridge overhead, and a grade crossing, and then turns southeast, past Intermediate Signals at MP 825.6, a grade crossing, a road bridge overhead, a ditch alongside to the south, a grade crossing at Glenwood Street, and another grade crossing, with a Texaco spur on the north side, the Fort Bliss Spur (MP 823.3, an eastern El Paso bypass, also serving Chevron Oil and Phelps Dodge at this end) trailing in from the north, and Adair Yard along the northeast side of the line, to Alfalfa (MP 822.8) at the east end of the yard, where there is a signal bridge, and then past a road bridge overhead, with a ditch still on the south side, a signal bridge at Rosedale (CP SA 820), a road bridge overhead, a grade crossing, a signal bridge carrying Intermediate Signals, with the ditch turning away to the south, three grade crossings, Intermediate Signals at Ysleta (MP 816.7), a street alongside to the south, two grade crossings, a street alongside to the north, and Belen (MP 815.2), where DT ABS ends, and single track, CTC, starts.

Down in the broad river plain in the first fifty miles or so east of El Paso are irrigated fields and orchards that provide strong contrast to the scrub that is still evident in un-irrigated areas. The line continues southeast past a dual highway bridge overhead, right at Belen, a grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, three grade crossings, a street alongside to the south, Buford (MP 813.7), a detector at MP 811.0, where the line speed increases to 79-70, a grade crossing, a bridge over irrigation, the 8,705 ft. siding on the north side at Clint (MP 808.9-807.1), a grade crossing, a rail-served lumber yard on the south side, a spur on the south side, a grade crossing immediately west of the industry that the spur serves (and has a separate grade crossing at the same street), a dirt road grade crossing, four grade crossings, a detector at Fabens (MP 800.2), extra track on the north side, a grade crossing, a street alongside to the south, a grade crossing, a street alongside to the south, two grade crossings, Intermediate Signals, two dirt road grade crossings, the 11,589 ft. siding on the south side at Tornillo (MP 794.9-792.5), a grade crossing within the siding, and two dirt road grade crossings within the siding.

The line turns east-southeast, away from the road on the south side, and the speed limit falls to 70 mph, past Intermediate Signals at MP 790.8, a detector at MP 788.8, with new signals on the south side at the detector, not yet in service in July 2006, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over an arroyo, Intermediate Signals at MP 786.6, a bridge over an arroyo, just west of the west end of the 9,978 ft. north side siding at Iser (MP 784.6-782.6), which has new signals, not yet in service in July 2006, at both ends (triple lights replacing ex-SP searchlights), with extra track on the north side near its east end, and where it turns south-southeast, still following the valley of the Rio Grande, past a bridge over an arroyo, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals, with new signals erected but not yet in use in July 2006, a bridge over an arroyo, Intermediate Signals at MP 776.8, a bridge over an arroyo, a detector at MP 776.2, a water tank on the south side, a grade crossing in Fort Hancock (MP 776.0). a bridge over an arroyo, a dirt road alongside to the south, I-10 dual bridges overhead, a highway comes alongside to the south, a bridge over an arroyo, and the 8,306 ft. south side siding at McNary (MP 771.0-769.3), a road bridge overhead in the siding, and a dirt road grade crossing in the siding.

The line turns east-northeast, away from the Rio Grande, past a bridge over an arroyo, Intermediate Signals at MP 767.x, a detector (box on the south side) at MP 765.5, an embankment, a cutting, and six bridges over culverts, and then curvily east past Intermediate Signals at MP 763.6, the 7,835 ft. south side siding at Finlay (MP 761.7-760.1), two bridges over culverts, Intermediate Signals at Gypsum (MP 758.1), where the speed limit is briefly 55 mph before the 70 mph resumes, no highway alongside to the south, a cutting, a bridge over an arroyo, curving mountains to the east across the desert floor, and the 8,479 ft. south side siding at Small (MP 752.2-750.4). There is a bridge over a dirt road, a cutting, the line turns south-southeast, a steel trestle, a bridge over an arroyo, a detector (box on the north side) at MP 748.4, an embankment, a bridge over an arroyo, the 8,507 ft. north side siding at Lasca (MP 747.0-746.2), with extra track on the north side at the east end of the siding, an embankment, a bridge over an arroyo, two dirt track grade crossings, a bridge over an arroyo, a highway alongside to the south again, the end of the curving mountains, and the line turns east-southeast at Intermediate Signals at Ethokan, where a spur heads away on the north side followed by one trailing in (is this a wye?), past a dirt road grade crossing to the 10,425 ft.  south side siding at Sierra Blanca (MP 739.2-737.2), where there is extra track on the south side, and then the junction where the ex-T&P line to Fort Worth continues straight ahead as the main line, and the Sunset Route turns southeast, as the diverging route.