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We waited near the Mountainair depot for the train we saw in the siding at Willard to come up the hill. It is beginning to warm up and melt the snow as Extra 8702 West comes by the station. Notice how the snow that had been between the rails in the siding earlier in the day has almost disappeared. Pictures above are on disk 61. Steve took the picture below from the embankment to my right.
CTC was installed between Belen and Mountainair in 1943 to ease the strain from war time traffic. Before the war the line had about 16 trains a day. During the war it was seeing 30 trains a day plus returning helper engines. The second segment of Clovis Belen CTC was installed between Mountainair and Vaughn 67 miles in 1944. The US&S CTC machine was located on the second floor of the Mountainair depot. The machine had 86 levers controlling 44 power switches. The CTC between Belen and Mountainair improved freight train velocity. The average for westbound trains went from 15 to 25mph and eastbound speeds doubled from 7 to 15mph. After the CTC installation on the Belen to Vaughn district, the number of crews dying on the 16 hour law dropped from 3.8 per day to maybe one crew every ten days. During 1944, ATSF installed interlocking at Vaughn to control the single track between Vaughn and Joffre. Six signals were moved and 12 removed in preparation for adding a second track. After the second track was completed, the US&S interlocking was modified to control 5 switches with 12 levers. During double track installation in 1944, the ATSF added US&S signals as follows: 1 semaphore and 6 color light between Clovis and Gallaher, 17 semaphore and 3 color light between Melrose and Gallaher, and 10 semaphore and 1 color light between Vaughn and Joffre. CTC was in operation Joffre to Yeso by January 1, 1945. The third segment 94 miles between Melrose and Joffre was completed in 1945. The ATSF installed 30 power switches, removed 169 semaphore signals and installed 164 color light signals. During the second segment installation, 13 sidings were lengthened to 2 miles or more and signals placed in the middle of these sidings to facilitate rolling meets. Double track segments didn't get CTC until after 1950.