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AT&SF Railway piggyback train symbol 188 near Houck, Arizona

AT&SF Railway piggyback train symbol 188 near Houck, Arizona

Train 188 is coming through the cut just west of Houck on July 13, 1988. It has engines 5175, 5323, 5515, 5848, and a GE in the ill fated Kodachrome paint scheme. This cut was made during a line relocation in 1948 and eliminated some tight curves on the old alignment. If you look to the left of the lead unit in the picture below you can see part of the old alignment. Few railfans venture into this area even though it is just off the interstate. The top two pictures are on Disk 67

AT&SF Railway piggyback train symbol 188 crossing the Puerco River near Houck, Arizona AT&SF Railway original alignment along the Puerco River near Houck, Arizona

You can still see the original alignment from the right-hand lane of eastbound Interstate 40. On a more recent trip I took a couple snap shots with my video camera. I am standing on the original right of way. The desert weeds have pretty much taken over this spot and it is hard to tell there was ever a railroad here. In the picture below, I moved to the other end of the guardrail on the freeway and looking at one of the bridge abutments. You can see the original abutment that was from cut stone while the new portion on the left was poured concrete.

AT&SF Railway original alignment along the Puerco River near Houck, Arizona AT&SF Railway original alignment along the Puerco River near Houck, Arizona in 1943

This is what it looked like in 1943 as Jack Delano's westbound train negotiated these sharp curves to follow the river through this narrow canyon. The caboose is about to cross the bridge that was supported by the abutments you see in the other picture. US 66 was about a quarter mile west of this canyon. After the Santa Fe removed the tracks, the highway department rebuilt US 66 and that alignment is what the eastbound lanes of I-40 use now.

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