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Nostalgia & History > More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday"...

Date: 08/31/14 20:09
More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday"...
Author: ATSF100WEST

In this recently acquired image of Victorville, California, on Santa Fe's "First District" ("Cajon Subdivision" after October, 1985), there is far more to "take in" than JUST signals. At first glance, however, one might think it was an advertisement for Union Switch & Signal, what with a "Magnetic Flagman", a relay case, and an R-2 head mounted atop one of Santa Fe's ubiquitous "Cantilever" signal bridges. In the background, we see the backside of a US&S searchlight signal head too. Despite the plethora of hardware, the image date of May, 1968, was not inconsequential - and goodies are abound to savor.

• Squeaky clean "LOCAL" service Waycar 2012 sits in the pocket, available for use as necessary. It was built by the Santa Fe in 1942. I could not determine its disposition from Frank Ellington' book "Caboose Cars of the Santa Fe Railway" (Third Edition), despite a thorough roster compilation.

• According to Chard Walker' "Cajon - A Pictorial Album", and Phil Serpico' "Coast Lines Depots - Los Angeles Division", the yellow building visible in the distant yard, is the former Hesperia (California) Depot, moved to Victorville lock, stock, and barrel, in 1942, intended for a locomotive servicing facility.

• The year 1968 saw the Santa Fe stifled with a severe motive power shortage. On the Harbor District, the "Hobart Turn" (Hobart Yard - Watson Yard daily "turn"), was forced to use "mu'ed" Alco S2's and S4's in groups of four to six units, of those that had been retrofitted with m.u. and control stands from retired FT's. In addition to this quirky albeit necessary maneuver, the Santa Fe "transferred" a large number of their RSD5 fleet from Colorado and New Mexico, as well as their only RS2 - the 2099 - for use on the Los Angeles Division. The engine visible in the yard is one of them. The RSD5's remained in California long enough to be tagged in the 1969/1970 renumbering program, by changing the first number ("2") of each unit, to a "9".

• Note the Santa Fe System Standard "Speed Board", allowing eastbounds on the "South Track" a brisk 60 m.p.h. sprint, until the next "board" provides further direction.

• On the somber side and obviously not illustrated, this happened to be the very month that the Santa Fe discontinued Trains 19 and 20, "The Chief", (on my birthday, specifically).

Also not visible in this image, but directly across from the photographer, is the Santa Fe Victorville Depot, which would be closed as an "agency" after a devastating fire, leveling the structure on September 29, 1983. This depot was once home to the aforementioned Mr. Chard Walker, employed here by the Santa Fe as an Operator, after (I believe) leaving Summit. Although I never personally met him, he was so revered by his peers and railfan friends alike, that BNSF used his name for a new "Control Point" on Cajon Pass, after completing the triple tracking project on the hill. "C.P. Walker" is a set of crossovers between Main One and Main Two, situated between the "old stations" of Pine Lodge and Alray.

So, every picture tells a "story" (besides signals), and then some!

Thanks for looking back with me,



Date: 08/31/14 20:48
Re: More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday".
Author: The_Chief_Way

nice post, Bob
please bring it all back !

Date: 08/31/14 21:20
Re: More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday".
Author: Seventyfive

So much to enjoy in one photo! I have seen many wig-wags but cannot recall having seen the classic "STOP WHEN SWINGING" sign anywhere else. The spotlight (?) atop the wig-wag mast also is unique, isn't it? Don't think I have ever seen anything similar. Thanks for such a great photo.


Date: 08/31/14 22:17
Re: More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday".
Author: Ritzville

Great picture for signal lovers like myself. All the wig-wagged crossings in San Diego, which were many, all had the cat-eyed STOP WHEN SWINGING signs like the Victorville wig-wag. The cantilever 362 signal looks great also. Thanks for posting such an all around interesting picture.


Date: 09/01/14 03:11
Re: More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday".
Author: coach

In today's world, the WIGWAM signal would say "Accelerate when swinging!"

Date: 09/02/14 17:16
Re: More than meets the eye - Santa Fe "Signal Sunday".
Author: 90mac

I remember seeing it at work Robert.

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