By Railfan & Railroad Staff
LAS VEGAS, N.M. — On November 18 and 19, 22 former Santa Fe semaphores were taken down along BNSF’s Glorieta Subdivision in northern New Mexico, between Las Vegas and Bernal. The signals were among the last of their type still in use on a Class I railroad in the United States.
For months, BNSF’s signal department has been preparing for the changeover, erecting new signals and infrastructure along the route. Over the years, the semaphores have been replaced as they failed, and in 2021, a pair of three-position, upper quadrant signals near Springer, N.M., came down after mechanical issues developed with one of them. But this time around, the railroad opted to replace nearly two dozen at once.
As of late November, only two stretches of semaphores remain on the old Santa Fe in New Mexico: 11 semaphores can still be found between Colmor and Wagon Mound, N.M., on the Raton Subdivision, and five west of Lamy, N.M., on the State of New Mexico’s Albuquerque Subdivision. Replacement signals for the western stretch on the Albuquerque Sub are already in place.