SPRR Yuma District - The East Line
The Yuma Territorial Prison was built here
in 1876 adjacent to
The weather is pleasant in the winter and furnace-like during summer; long ago the heat was a bit more bearable but the intense agriculture along the river has forced up the humidity and so made the heat more sweltering.
As along most of the rest of the railroad, the Espee shares their right-of-way with oil and gas pipelines and telecommunications companies.
732.5 West End YUMA Yard Limits
End Single Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
Begin Double Track Automatic Block Signal (ABS)
EB/WB Absolute Signals
Signpost WB "END OF DOUBLE TRACK"
Signpost WB "BEGIN CTC"
Signpost EB "END CTC"
Speed Limit: EB 25 MPH; WB 25 MPH
To the east the railroad runs under double-track ABS (Automatic Block Signal) control all the way to MP737.4 at the east end of East Yard. Westbound the railroad maintains single-track CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) jurisdiction for just 0.4 miles to MP732.1, where two-main-track CTC begins and continues west.
The following five miles of double track are run with respect to the current of traffic: the #1 (north) track provides westbound service while the #2 (south) track sees eastbound traffic. All of the signals controlling this double track are set up for operation in those directions. For instance, any time a westbound train is run on the south track, it is said to be running against the current of traffic (ACOT), and so is controlled by certain rules governing that service.
The turnout that joins the #1 and #2 tracks
immediately east of the
On the low hill immediately along the side
of the tracks rests the old Yuma Territorial Prison, built in 1876 by
its own inmates. It is now
Besides all the historical information
and artifacts concerning life in general in the surrounding country,
the museum also displays a few drawings and photos of the river crossing:
before the railroad; after arrival of the railroad in 1877; and lastly,
a particularly nice photo (hidden, of course, in a back office) taken
of the old highway bridge during its construction, before the current
railroad bridge was built. Of
course, that old highway bridge (
Also note the "No Trespassing - SPT
Co." sign at the east portal of the
Interstate 8 Overpass
SP Maintenance of Way Facility
The west-facing switch off the #2 track just north of the Interstate 8 overpass is the Yuma Yard lead; this drill track parallels the double-track main all the way to the end of the East Yard at MP737.7.
The east-facing switch on the yard lead
under the overpass is the junction point with the Yuma Valley Railroad. The YVRR is an Espee branchline that extends
about six miles downriver to a water desalinization plant. At one time the branch continued all the
way down the
The Espee MofW facility is south of the Interstate overpass; the access road to this yard leads in from the intersection of St. Thomas Road and First Street, back at the stop sign at the foot of the old highway bridge.
SP Section House
Crew Change Facility
SP Police Station
Begin Gila Line
This station was built in the mid-Twenties
to service the new mainline when the current
The original station building is now home
There are two train platforms; the one
between the tracks is accessible via a passenger subway that lies just
south of the
The present SP building is the two-story structure just south of the passenger walkway; the SP Police hang out on the first floor, and their vehicles are the white trucks parked out front. The second floor houses the crew change quarters, the Amtrak ticket office, and probably the local Yuma Line Desk operator (that's the Yardmaster, more or less: Rule 7(a) specifies that "Trains must not enter or depart yard unless authorized by trainmaster").
On the east side of the tracks, across from the station, are the footings of a long-gone water tank.
This is technically the end of the Los Angeles Division and the beginning of the Tucson Division; however, Rule N in the Espee Rulebook specifies that the first five miles of the Gila Line (to the east) is under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Division.
732.8 Access to Railroad from
A dirt incline leads up from
The tracks cross Giss on a 50'-steel through-plate girder bridge; the bridge is wide enough to also provide room for the westside access road.
733.0 145' AMSL; +0.2% EB
Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH (#2 Track); EB 25 MPH (#1 Track)
733.1 Block Signals: WB 7331/7333
According to the timetable, Rule 301 specifies that the "Signal 7333 governs westward movement through crossover to main track only and will remain dark until crossover switch is open".
733.5 Abandoned Alignment approaches from West
The original route through
734.3 SUBWAY Station
Block Signals: EB 7340 - WB 7341
155' AMSL; +0.6% EB
The crossover allows westbound traffic
on the #2 (south) track to move onto the #1 track. The switch on the #2 track, just east of
the crossover, provides access to the east end of the Yuma Yard lead. Often, if a westbound train will be laying
On the west side of Interstate 8 at the
734.4 Block Signals: WB 7341/7343
Grain Loader on East-facing 0130 Spur off Drill Track
Rule 241: "Train or engine must be
authorized to move against current of traffic before passing signal
7343". An obscure road
leads down from
Access along the tracks to the east is available from the dirt parking lot west of the McDonalds; a fine path passes around the west side of the "YUMA" water tank, then drops down to parallel the tracks at about MP734.6.
734.5 Speed Limit: EB 50 MPH; WB 25 MPH
The mainline begins to curve to the east.
734.8 West Switch
The wye is south of the mainline and is switched off the drill track that parallels the main.
The Diesel Facility performs minor service
on locomotives, mainly just enough to keep them running to either
The plant is on the south side of the right-of-way, sitting in the middle of the triangle formed by the wye trackage. The wye tail track juts out to the west about two-tenths of a mile. Speed limit on Diesel Facility trackage is 5 MPH.
The access path along the north side of
the tracks continues both east and west; the soil is a little silty
but passable. To the west the road eventually gets to
A dirt road leads in from
735.0 185' AMSL; +0.6% EB
735.1 Dragging Equipment DETECTOR (#1 Track)
735.2 Speed Limit: WB 40 MPH
The 0314 switch connects the east leg of the wye to the drill track that parallels the mainline to the south.
735.3 East-facing Spur 0353 (#1 Track)
Spur 0353 joins the north main; the spur
leads west and downhill to serve a couple of industries that front on
The north trackside access path continues east all the way to the Pacific Avenue Overpass at MP735.6.
735.4 East-facing Spur 0401 on South Drill Track
West-facing Spur 0405 on South Drill Track
Both of these industry spurs connect to the drill track that parallels the double track mainline along its south side.
The northside access path passes under
the overpass bridge and continues both east and west. A rough trail from the southwest corner
735.6 West East Yard Crossover
A signal bridge lies east of the Pacific Avenue Overpass; on it are two signals controlling eastward progress on the #1 (north) track through the crossover to the west end of the East Yard ladder track.
Block Signal: WB 7359
East Yard stretches east for the next two miles; it is often used to hold trains for extended periods, and it is also where outgoing produce trains are assembled.
The single signal controls westward movement on the #1 track.
The dirt path along the north side of the
tracks continues west under the
736.0 220' AMSL; +0.1% EB
736.6 Avenue 3E Overpass
Avenue 3E is an offramp from both directions
of Interstate 8, about 0.5 miles north of the railroad.
736.8 Military Base Spur Track
An east-facing spur separates from the
south side of East Yard and parallels Avenue 3E south, throwing off
a further few east-facing spurs on its way to the Marine Corps airfield
that doubles as
737.0 225' AMSL; +0.0% EB
There is limited access along the north side of the tracks from the Avenue 3E bridge to about MP737.2. Of course, with a proper four-wheel drive vehicle, the sky's the limit (but you weren't interested in the sky, it was the tracks you were after).
For everyone else, most all trails lead
737.2 Signpost WB 40 MPH
End Two Main Track Absolute Block Signal (ABS)
Begin Single Track Centralized Traffic Control (CTC)
Absolute EB Signals
East-facing Spring Switch
West-facing Industry Spur (#1 Track)
Signpost EB "Begin CTC"
Signpost WB "End CTC"
This marks the end of the Yuma Yard limits, which start back at MP732.5. Here at the east end of East Yard, the ladder track joins with the drill track that has paralleled the main line since MP732.6. A east-facing spring switch, just like the one back at MP732.5, controls the junction, allowing eastward traffic on the drill lead to get onto the #2 track without requiring the switch points to be controlled elsewhere.
To the east the railroad runs under CTC
(Centralized Traffic Control) procedure nearly 250 miles to a point
just west of
Toward the west, five miles of double track are run with respect to the current of traffic: the #1 (north) track provides westbound service while the #2 (south) track sees eastbound traffic. All of the signals controlling this double track are set up for operation in those directions.
For instance, any time a westbound train is run on the south track, it is said to be running against the current of traffic (ACOT), and so is controlled by certain rules governing that service.
737.5 High-Speed Equilateral Switch
Absolute WB Signals
The #1 and #2 tracks join at a fancy, east-facing equilateral turnout; this style of switch is used so that east and west traffic need not slow when choosing one route or the other. All in all, it's a very impressive piece of trackwork.
A dirt path leads to the tracks from
737.7 West-facing 0440 Spur on Drill Track
Begin Gila Subdivision,
West-facing 0443 Spur on Drill Track
Signpost EB 79-65 MPH
Speed Limit: EB 79-65 MPH; WB 50 MPH
This is the end of the jurisdictional reach of the Los Angeles Division, Yuma Subdivision; to the east lies the Tucson Division and its Gila Subdivision. A white post, five feet high and about six inches square is planted in the dirt along the south side of the mainline, marking this division point.
Access to this point is available from
"Jack T. Baillie Co., Inc
Carton Yard & Field Truck Operations"
This path will lead more or less due south to a large open area near the tracks. Walk the rest of the way.
Attempting to drive west along the north
side of the right-of-way is difficult; there is a path that eventually
crosses an industry spur at MP737.5.
This path then leads through a graveled parking lot to
738.0 225' AMSL; +0.0% EB
To the east please refer to the Gila Subdivision Guidebook.