This portion of the Santa Fe Route is divided into the following subdivisions:
· Needles Subdivision from Barstow to Needles (mileposts from Albuquerque)
· Seligman Subdivision from Needles to Willaims Junction (and East Winslow)
Intermediate Signals: There is generally at least one, and preferably two in open country, set(s) of Intermediate Signals preceding each Absolute Signal (named location). Where Absolute Signals are too closely spaced for even one IS set, the approach signals for the succeeding block are placed as a second signal head on the absolute signals for the preceding block. The locations of some Absolute Signals changed, and others were added, with the conversion of these line segments to CTC in 1998-2002. The locations of many Intermediate Signals thus changed at the same time. Precise locations of many IS are thus not provided in this route description.
The entire Needles Subdivision is two main tracks, bidirectionally-signaled, and CTC-controlled by a dispatcher in Fort Worth, TX. The vast majority of the line has a 70 mph speed limit for freight, with many stretches having Automatic Train Stop fitted permitting a 90 mph speed limit for passenger trains. From Daggett, MP 737.3, where there is a crossover at the junction and another just east of the junction, the two main BNSF tracks continue in an east-southeast direction, over a bridge across a wash just east of the UP junction (but still west of the BNSF east-facing signals) and past those east-facing signals. There are intermediate signals at Cool Water (MP 735.9) and Gale (MP 732.1/2/3/4), a grade crossing at Hidden Springs Road (after which the Barstow/Yermo airport is alongside to the north), crossovers at Minneola with signal sets to the east and west and the station sign at Minneola (MP 731.2) in between, and a grade crossing at Minneola Road. All of these crossovers were installed in 1999 along with the CTC. The line continues straight ahead, with Old US 66 immediately to its right, as far as Newberry Springs, where the old highway crosses to the south side of I-40, while the rail line continues straight ahead. There are Intermediate Signals at MP 729.1/.2/.3/.4, and crossovers at West Newberry, MP 727.2 and East Newberry, MP 725.7, where there is also a 7352 ft. siding off track 1 (to the north side of the tracks). There are extra tracks on both sides of the line between West and East Newberry, with two additional tracks on the south side serving a ballast supply facility. After crossing Newberry Road, there is no paralleling road of any kind until crossing Port Cady Road, east of which there is a dirt road along the south side of the line. There are also crossovers at MP 724.3 (CP7245), the east end of the siding. At MP 720, the 0.7% rising grade from Barstow comes to an end, replaced by a 1% climb west of Pisgah and then 1.8% east of Pisgah to Ash Hill.
There are Intermediate Signals at MP 721.1/.2/.3/.4, MP 719.1/.2/.3/.4 and MP 716.1/.2/.3/.4. There are intermediate signals at MP 713.1/.2/.3/.4. An orthogonal dirt road crosses the line at Hector (MP 712.8), where there is an extra track on the south side of the line., a detector at MP 711.1, and more intermediate signals (MP 710.1/.2/.3/.4), and the line curves to the southeast and crosses another dirt road, passing under the two bridges of I-40 before reaching Pisgah, MP 706.6. There are crossovers at West Pisgah, MP 707.3, and East Pisgah, MP 705.2, with an extra track on each side of the line between them. Old Route 66 is again alongside the track, first on the south side, then crossing the line to the north side. At Lavic (MP 702.7, the speed limits drop for the traversal of the curvy section followed by the grades of Ash Hill. There is a spur on the south side of the line east of Lavic, and Intermediate Signals at MP 702.1/.2/.3/.4. The line crosses another dirt road, and then runs along the north side of a dirt road (with I-40 to the north side of the line) with intermediate signals at MP 700.1/.2/.3/.4, and MP 698.1/.2/.3/.4, detectors at MP 696.4, and Intermediate Signals at MP 695.1/.2/.3/.4, as the line curves due east, crosses over the dirt road and twists back and forth to Ludlow, MP 693.4, where there are crossovers and a setout spur on the south side of the line. The erstwhile Tonopah and Tidewater narrow gauge railroad once crossed the line here. There are detectors on both tracks at MP 691.8. Following another road crossing and a set of intermediate signals (MP 691.1/.2/.3/.4), the line heads east, rejoined by Old Route 66 on its north side, the latter crossing the line and turning away southeast before the line itself turns southeast through Ash Hill, MP 686.7. There are signal bridges and crossovers at West Ash Hill, MP 688.2, and East Ash Hill, MP 686.3. There are extra tracks on both sides of the line between West and East Ash Hill, with the one on the south side continuing eastward. All of this is across rolling terrain, populated only by scrub and desert animals, between numerous ranges of treeless mountains.
After crossing another dirt road at Ash Hill, the line again comes alongside Old Route 66, with two sets of intermediate signals intervening. The two tracks then separate for the descent of Ash Hill, with speed limits of 55 mph for passenger and 50 mph for freight as far as Siberia. The mainly westbound track (to the north/east side of the line) heads southeast through Klondike (MP 682.0), with an extra track on the north and south sides of the line, to maintain a 1.4% grade westbound, and then turns west-southwest, with a set of intermediate signals (MP 679.1/.2/.3/.4) east of the curve to rejoin the other track near Siberia, with the mainly eastbound track (to the south/west side of the line) heading directly downhill alongside Old Route 66, almost due south to Siberia. There are crossovers at West Siberia, MP 676.6, with an extra track on the north side for a short distance west of that location and eastward to East Siberia, and East Siberia, MP 674.6, where full line speeds resume. The rejoined line now resumes an east-southeasterly heading, with Old Route 66 alongside to the south, passing Intermediate Signals at MP 672.1/.2/.3/.4, Bagdad (MP 669.3), where there are extra tracks on both sides of the line and Intermediate Signals at MP 669.1/.2/.3/.4. The line and road continue together in the same direction to Amboy, with an east-facing setout track on the south side, intermediate signals (MP 666.1/.2/.3/.4), a detector at MP 665.0, and Intermediate Signals at MP 663.1/.2/.3/.4. There are crossovers at West Amboy, MP 661.8, and East Amboy, MP 660.0. Old Route 66 crosses to the north side and diverges from the tracks, being replaced by a dirt road on the north side to Saltus (MP 658.4), where another dirt road crosses the tracks. The line then turns east, with dirt road accompaniment on both sides, past an east-facing setout track on the south side, intermediate signals (MP 657.1/.2/.3/.4), through Bolo (MP 655.0), detectors on both tracks (MP 654.0), more intermediate signals (MP 652.1/.2/.3/.4), a road bridge overhead, and crossovers at West Cadiz, MP 649.0, to Cadiz, MP 648.1, where the former Santa Fe branch to Parker and Phoenix, now owned by the Arizona and California, branches off to the southeast.
At East Cadiz, MP 647.2, there are more crossovers and an extra track on the south side and the main line turns northeast, with dirt road accompaniment now on the south side. (A paved road south from Old US 66 crosses the tracks at the east end of Cadiz.) There are detectors at MP 644.5, an intermediate signals at MP 644.1/.2/.3/.4d. At Danby, another dirt road crosses the tracks, and there are Intermediate Signals at MP 642.1/.2/.3/.4 and MP 639.1/.2/.3/.4 crossovers at West Danby, MP 636.9, and East Danby, MP 634.7, followed by an east-facing setout track on the south side, intermediate signals at MP 630.1/.2/.3/.4, detectors at MP 628.1, and Intermediate Signals at MP 627.1/.2/.3/.4. At Essex (MP 626.2), there is another road crossing, an extra track on the south side heading east, and Old US 66 resumes accompaniment on the north side, until it diverges to the east-northeast while the line continues northeast, past another set of intermediate signals (MP 624.1/.2/.3/.4), with another paved road on the northwest side and a road bridge overhead. The line is now climbing steadily, from the low point at Cadiz to an upcoming summit at Goffs. There are crossovers at CP Fenner (MP 622.6) , another set of intermediate signals (MP 620.1/.2/.3/.4), the line passes under I-40, setout tracks at Fenner itself (MP 618.7), intermediate signals at MP 615.1/.2/.3/.4, detectors at MP 614.9, and Intermediate Signals at MP 612.1/.2/.3/.4.
There are crossovers at West Goffs, MP 611.6, and East Goffs, MP 609.2, with a 12,100 ft. siding on the north side of the line between them, with three main tracks eastward beginning at East Goffs starting in the first quarter of 2006. At the summit at Goffs, the accompanying paved road crosses from the north side to the south side (at Lanfair Road or Mountain Springs Road), and is now called Goffs Road, while both line and road head due east together. An ATSF branch north to Vanderbilt, CA, and Searchlight, NV, once headed northward from Goffs. The line is now descending to Needles, and the passenger speed limit has dropped to 70 mph. There are two sets of intermediate signals (MP 606.1/.2/.3/.4 and MP 603.1/.2/.3/.4), with an east-facing setout track on the south side between them, two more dirt road crossings, and an extra track on the north side before Homer (MP 601.5), more detectors at MP 600.7, and Intermediate Signals at MP 600.1/.2/.3/.4. After Bannock (MP 597.0), where the speed limits drop to 65-55 and there are intermediate signals (MP 597.1/..2/.3/.4) and an east-facing setout track on the south side, US 95 crosses the line and becomes the accompanying road on the south/west side (until it connects with I-40) as the line turns southeast with Piute Wash to its east. Between the US 95 crossing—Arrowhead Junction, MP 595.3, where there are more intermediate signals—and Ibis (MP 592.3, where the speed limits drop to 55-50), the tracks are again separated, with the north track making a wide curve to the north to provide a lower grade (1.4%) for westbound trains. There is a short spur on the north side of the line just east of Ibis, two sets of intermediate signals, and a short extra track on the north side just west of Java. At Java (MP 585.6), the line turns from southeast to just north of east, then turns southeast again to pass under I-40.
There is no accompanying road along this section, until after the line has passed under I-40 again to enter Needles. There are detectors at MP 584.6, intermediate signals at MP 584.3, intermediate signals at MP 582.3, crossovers at West Needles, MP 580.2 (west of the twin I-40 bridges), where the three tracks (as of the first quarter of 2006) reduce to two and the speed limits drop to 45-40 for the passage through Needles, and more intermediate signals. The passenger depot at Needles (MP 578.0) is on the west side of the tracks, while the yard and other facilities are on the east side of the tracks. In the depot area, there are four parallel tracks, with extra tracks on both sides of the line and crossovers among them at both ends of the station.
East of Needles (which is at only 250 feet altitude), the line continues southeast, again as two main tracks, CTC-controlled from Forth Worth, with some track segments in western Arizona having only recently (2002) been converted from Rule 251-based double-track absolute block signaling). The line runs along the west bank of the Colorado River, again with no nearby road accompaniment, through East Needles, where there are crossovers at MP 571.2, past Intermediate Signals at MP 569.3, until it turns east and crosses the Colorado River on a deck truss bridge at Topock, where there are more crossovers at MP 565.1, and then crosses over Arizona Route 66, the eastward continuation of Old Route 66. After crossing the river, the line climbs over 7000 ft to the Arizona Divide, west of Flagstaff. In the lower altitudes, the terrain is desert, just like the Mojave, as the line passes through Kingman Canyon. At first, the line continues due east, along the north side of the Sacramento Wash, with no nearby roads (other than I-40 a little to the south), passing detectors at MP 561.5 and crossing a dirt road before reaching Powell (MP 558.8). From Topock to East Griffith, the line speeds are again 90 mph for passenger trains and 70 mph for freight.
There are crossovers at West Franconia, MP 553.5, and East Franconia, MP 551.7, with a 9,473 ft. siding between them. East of Franconia, the line turns northeast to Haviland (MP 545.8). It then crosses Sacramento Wash and turns due north, crossing another stream and then Willow Creek at Yucca (MP 539.4), where there are more crossovers. The line passes under I-40 and through more detectors at MP 536.4, crossing another creek and then a dirt road before reaching Athos (MP 535.6). The line crosses Black Rock Wash and another dirt road on the way to Griffith. There are crossovers at West Griffith, MP 528.8 and East Griffith (MP 526.9), with a 9,169 ft. siding between them. North of Griffith, the tracks separate, and passenger train speed limits drop to 80 mph for the passage of the most rugged section of Kingman Canyon, with the south/east track passing through Harris (MP 521.5) and the north/west track passing through McConnico (MP 521.2), where a former ATSF branch north to Chloride once departed in a westerly direction. At McConnico, there is a siding and two-track yard which used to service the North Star Steel plant, a “mini steel mill” using an electric furnace. The facility has completely shut down since late 2003. From McConnico, Route 66 joins on the west side of the tracks for the rest of the way into Kingman. In Kingman (MP 516.4), the tracks turn from northward to eastward, crossing South Second Street and South Fourth Street. East of the latter, the depot is on the north side of the line, while to its north, former ATSF 4-8-4 3759 is stuffed and mounted in a park. US 66 runs parallel to the line, on the north side.
From Kingman to Seligman, the line is generally accompanied by the alignment of Old Route 66 (here, AZ 66), although the two are not always sufficiently adjacent to one another for viewing the lineside from the road. Along this stretch, the line is steadily climbing, passing the Hualapai Mountains and Peacock Mountains to the south of the line, the Music Mountains to the north, and then the Cottonwood Cliffs to the south. Leaving the deserts of the Colorado River valley behind, the hilly terrain is generally of the savanna grassland style, studded with separated trees, generally deciduous in nature. The line leaves Kingman headed northeast, ascending at a grade of 1.4%, passing signal 516.1/2 at the east end of the depot, the tracks separate for a short distance, crossing Stockton Hill and under County Road 245, passing intermediate signals (MP 517.1) and crossovers at Getz (MP 513.9). The line now descends at a grade of 0.9% through detectors at MP 512.5, passing under the I-40 bridges, passing more crossovers at West Berry (MP 511.5), crossing Diagonal Way at Berry, and passing crossovers at East Berry (MP 509.4), with extra tracks on both sides and then on the south side only, and a wye at the end of the extra track on the south side, before crossing Industrial Parkway, Mohave Airport Road, and Bruce Road at grade, with Route 66 running parallel on the west side. There are two sets of intermediate signals, the line starts to climb at 1.3% eastward from MP 504, and there are two more sets of intermediate signals with an extra track on the south side between them.
There are more crossovers at Walapai (MP 499.9), with minor roads crossing on each side, and more intermediate signals, before the line turns southeast at Antares, starts an 0.8% downgrade to MP 490, and enters Crozier Canyon towards Hackberry (MP 489.0), where another minor road crosses, with the line still accompanied by Route 66. Crossing another minor road and turning north-northeast past another set of intermediate signals, with an extra track on the south side, the line starts to climb again as it passes through the Hualapai Indian reservation at Valentine. There are more crossovers at West Valentine, MP 485.8, a minor road crossing at Valentine, and crossovers at East Valentine, MP 484.0, with a 9,100 ft. siding between them and another minor road crossing near Hualapai Indian School and one near the old location of Crozier. The line then turns generally northeast, curving back and forth through canyons, passing intermediate signals, detectors at MP 480.7, passing more intermediate signals and another minor road crossing, Truxton (MP 477.3), where there is an extra track on the south side of the line east to MP 476.x, more intermediate signals, crossovers at Cherokee (MP 473.7), a minor road crossing entering Yampai Canyon, more intermediate signals, and crossovers at West Peach Springs, MP 467.6, and East Peach Springs, MP 465.8, with a road crossing between them.
The line turns generally east, accompanied by IR 19 on the north side, passing intermediate signals and then Shipley (MP 461.4 on the north track), through Faught Canyon, a road crossing entering Nelson Canyon, and extra track on the south side before reaching the crossovers at Nelson (MP 460.2), where the rail-served Nelson Lme Plant is on the north side of the track. There is a tunnel in Nelson Canyon, two sets of intermediate signals, Fields, another road crossing, more crossovers at the summit at Yampai (MP 453.8), with an extra track on the north side of the line to its east, and detectors at MP 452.1 with an extra track on the south side to their east. Heading east-southeast, on a 1.4% descent east of Yampai, there are crossovers and a water tank on the north side of the line at West Pica, MP 446.8, an extra track on the north side between the sets of crossovers, a road crossing at Pica, crossovers at East Pica, MP 444.9, intermediate signals, and Audley, MP 439.6, where a 1.4% upgrade starts and there is another road crossing. Route 66 rejoins on the north side, there are intermediate signals and a turn due south to Chino, where Fort Rock Road crosses and the line starts a 1.4% descent, more intermediate signals and a short line separation, and then a turn just south of due east to crossovers at West Seligman, MP 429.8, where a business spur off I-40 crosses overhead and extra tracks through Seligman begin, and the facilities at Seligman (depot and former Harvey House on the north side, sidings on the south side). A line southeast to Prescott once headed off south of the main line at Seligman.
There are more crossovers at East Seligman, MP 427.9, followed by a bridge over the business spur off I-4, detectors at MP 426.9 and two sets of intermediate signalsMP 425.x and MP 423.x), with Route 66 still running parallel to the north. After passing through Pan, the main line turns east, crossing Route 66, and there are crossovers at West Crookton, MP 420.5, with a minor road crossing, and East Crookton, MP 418.3. The latter is the start of an alignment newly engineered in the late 1950s (brought into use on December 19th, 1960), known as the 'Crookton line change', to avoid the curving descent to, and sharply curving climb from, Ash Fork. The ‘new’ line generally follows the contour of the land, descending for 12 miles from Crookton to Eagle Nest, with speed limit 90-70, accompanied by a minor road on the south side, heading east-northeast, then north, and then east-northeast again after crossing a couple of minor roads, past three sets of intermediate signals (MP 416.x, MP 413.x, and MP 410.x) to crossovers at West Eagle Nest, MP 407.5, and East Eagle Nest, MP 405.5. There is a setout track on the north side between the crossovers. Eagle Nest is at 5,205 ft. elevation, and is the start of a 35-mile climb, with many cuts and fills to smooth the grade.
After another minor road crossing, the line then heads due east with a minor road on its north side before crossing another road and making a sweeping turn to the south with that road now on its southwest side, past detectors at MP 401.2 among three sets of intermediate signals (MP 402.x, MP 400.x, and MP 398.x), and a sweeping turn back to the east, with a couple of minor road crossings along the way. There are crossovers at West Doublea, MP 395.1, a turn to the northeast, and crossovers at East Doublea, MP 392.0. Along this stretch, the new line is visible from the old line down to Ash Fork (still used by Phoenix trains), and the old line is (less-easily) visible from the new line. The accompanying road crosses from the south side to the north side as the line curves northeast. There are two sets of intermediate signals (MP 390.x and MP 387.x) and then a deep cut which has a braced pipeline crossing overhead. Another sweeping curve takes the new line back to a southeasterly direction, through crossovers at West Perrin, MP 385.6, and East Perrin, MP 383.1. These are followed by two more sets of intermediate signals (MP 380.x and MP 377.x) and detectors at MP 377.6.
At Williams, the line crosses Airport Road and the Grand Canyon Railway, passes under I-40 and Route 66, and then turns east and joins with the old line to/from Ash Fork, at West Williams Junction (MP 375.0), which also has crossovers and an Amtrak depot on a 2400 ft. siding on the north side of the tracks, followed b crossovers at East Williams Junction, MP 374.3y. (The Ash Fork line still operates as part of the line to Phoenix.)