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Block swapping on the Santa Fe Railway Albuquerque Division

Block swapping on the Santa Fe Railway Albuquerque Division Santa Fe Railway engines at Bellemont swapping blocks of cars

On May 24, 1988, train 823 was picking up empty auto racks at Bellemont set out earlier by train 777. The train had engines 5137, 5138, 2304, and 2773. Bellemont is at milepost 355.

Santa Fe Railway engines at Bellemont station sign Santa Fe Railway engines doing block swapping at Bellemont Santa Fe Railway engines on train symbol 823 at Bellemont

The Santa Fe wanted to downgrade the yard at Winslow, so instituted block swapping for the road crews. On the Albuquerque Division (Winslow to Williams Jct.) this primarily involved Phoenix traffic. Westbound trains for Los Angeles or Richmond that had traffic for Phoenix would stop somewhere between Winslow and Williams Jct. and set out the cars for Phoenix at one of the old sidings. Later a train to Phoenix would stop and pick up these cars. Going the other way a train out of Phoenix would stop at a siding between Williams Jct. and Winslow to set out cars for connecting eastward trains. Later designated trains headed to Chicago, Tulsa, Dallas, or Houston would stop and pick up these cars. Here at Bellemont you are seeing a block of empty auto racks out of Phoenix that is destined for Kansas City. Disk 70