Trains.com

Signals, the Passage of Time, and a Great Railroad Revelation all in the Cajon Pass area!

1310 views
6 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 291 posts
Signals, the Passage of Time, and a Great Railroad Revelation all in the Cajon Pass area!
Posted by croteaudd on Sunday, March 3, 2024 10:02 PM

I was a ‘good kid’ and my parents rewarded me by letting me go anywhere and whenever I wanted, with bikes and cars!

Colton, California was my residence.  Thereat, Santa Fe signals were red, yellow. and green, with yellow in advance of yellow to crossover.  A few higher 40 M.P.H. speed switch signals were flashing yellow in advance of red over green.

My dad and I both had motorcycles and we both went many places together.  Once, by myself, I got daring and ventured out to the High Desert and saw a new (to me) signal indication.  The automatic block signaled line had red, yellow, YELLOW OVER YELLOW, and green!  Some years later that yellow over yellow became simply flashing yellow.

It wasn’t long after that I was stunned by a revelation of sorts.  All the signals on Cajon Pass were left track running signals on bridges and cantilever structures, but in Victorville and east the signals were all simple MAST ones on the right track. That meant somewhere in the Victorville area one track must go over the other!  Eventually I found where, in the Frost area, at M.P. 39.1.

In 1972 CTC came to Cajon Pass, and all signals were red, yellow, and green, with 50 M,P.H. crossovers at control points.  Interestingly, absolute signals DID NOT have TWO red lights as with red over red, but red over dark!  For those that want to see a photo of such, such was in the Steinheimer TRAINS article “Cajon Pass Revisited,” the photo of the west eastbound signals at Summit, I think in 1974.  I think Summit was triple tracked in 2007 or 2008.  The Silverwood connection came (I believe) in 1998 or 1999..

A peculiarity with Santa Fe back in the 50’s and 60’s was that crossing gate arms were black and white, unlike red and white for Southern Pacific and Union Pacific.  It is unknown what the other many railroads around the country used.

Perhaps others here at the forum will have Cajon Pass area thoughts to contribute.  It is hoped something herein hit home with readers, both old ones like me and the younger generations.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,849 posts
Posted by tree68 on Sunday, March 3, 2024 10:23 PM

A dark signal is to be interpreted as it's most restrictive aspect.  Thus. red over dark would be the same as red over red.  Probably like approach-lit signals, just a way to save battery power, especially in the days when the signals ran only on battery.

Back before standardization, crossing gates were often black and white stripes, vs red and white, across much of the country.  Along that line, I've seen yellow stop signs, too...

 

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 13,468 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, March 4, 2024 10:00 AM

croteaudd

A peculiarity with Santa Fe back in the 50’s and 60’s was that crossing gate arms were black and white, unlike red and white for Southern Pacific and Union Pacific.  It is unknown what the other many railroads around the country used.

Not a peculiarity.  Black and white crossing gates were the norm in the rest of the country.  A local variation was the South Shore Line, their crossing gates were black and yellow.  Slightly off topic, the gates for vehicular movable bridges in the City of Chicago were black, dull orange and white.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    February 2005
  • 2,320 posts
Posted by timz on Monday, March 4, 2024 12:47 PM

croteaudd
A peculiarity with Santa Fe back in the 50’s and 60’s was that crossing gate arms were black and white, unlike red and white for Southern Pacific and Union Pacific

Wasn't black and white the usual around the US? Maybe even on UP and SP?

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,319 posts
Posted by rdamon on Monday, March 4, 2024 3:12 PM

A couple from the searchlight days in November 2002

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,823 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, March 4, 2024 11:06 PM

tree68

A dark signal is to be interpreted as it's most restrictive aspect.  Thus. red over dark would be the same as red over red.  Probably like approach-lit signals, just a way to save battery power, especially in the days when the signals ran only on battery.

Back before standardization, crossing gates were often black and white stripes, vs red and white, across much of the country.  Along that line, I've seen yellow stop signs, too...

 

 

Many railroad signal rule charts have aspects that include a dark signal head.  Even some where the top head is dark and the bottom head is lit.

I remember black and white gates on crossings into the 1970s in Iowa. The gates at some crossings were still made out of wood.

Jeff 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 291 posts
Posted by croteaudd on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 2:19 AM

timz:

Your question is difficult for me to reply to because Colton, CA in the early 1960’s where I lived was rather archaic as far as crossing gates were concerned. There were hardly any!  Wigwags were everywhere, and flashers was only here and there!  Back then Los Angeles was the stronghold for gates!  In Colton, I Street (now Valley Blvd.) had wigwags and a towerman actually controlled the gates!  But that was about it.  Oh, N and E Street had flashers.  Once, in the back seat of my parents car about 1962 we were on the freeway and went over 7th Street (now Mission Inn Ave.) in Riverside and I was absolutely shocked both UP’s and Santa Fe’s grade crossings had crossing gates!  At the time, I believe 8th Street (now University Ave.) was closed and an underpass was being constructed.  To this day I have no idea how the UP street running on Vine Street, both main and siding, became single-track right before where an underpass was being constructed!

https://maps.app.goo.gl/HKvgfiuNB1b8aHC88

You'll have to paste the above link into a separate window.  My failsafe method of using .TXT documents actually failed!  This forum really must be a lost cause!  It is hoped the new one comes soon!

As time progressed, the UP street running was abandoned and Santa Fe tracks a block to the east were used.

rdamon:

Thanks for posting the photos.  I know exactly where both are at, plus have been to or by both many times.  Way before that Main Street overpass was constructed, circa 1960, my dad stopped (on the other side of the now bridge) one dark night and we both sat there and watched a bunch of first generation powered trains go by!

 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy