Signal Replacements on BNSF's Augusta, KS - Ft Worth, TX Line

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Hello everyone,

I have some bad news regarding the BNSF mainline between Augusta, KS and Ft Worth, TX - this pertains to the Red Rock and Ft Worth Subdivisions. As far as I am aware, this is the last major BNSF line that, up to this point, still had most of the original ATSF era US&S searchlight signaling still in place on the route. Well, because of the new Positive Train Control (PTC) upgrade requirements recently enacted by the FRA a few years back, BNSF is now in the process of upgrading the entire corridor between Kansas and Texas with all new PTC compatible signaling, which means the end is near for all of the remaining Santa Fe era searchlights on this line. I first noticed a change happening back in March when I drove up to Guthrie, OK to capture some BNSF footage at the ATSF signal bridge which was still in place at Milepost 352.09 on the Red Rock Sub. When I drove by the depot in downtown Guthrie, I saw the pieces for a new bridge cantilever signal lying by the tracks in the yard. Further down the line, I observed new signal masts had been put up next to the existing searchlights near MP 359 at Seward. Since then, BNSF has quickly worked their way south and has put up new "Darth Vader" hooded trilights and PTC antennas at all of the sidings and points where the searchlights are still in place; the new signals are turned to the side for now and haven't been activated yet, but it's only a matter of time. When I drove from OK to TX a few weeks ago, the signal crews hadn't made it south of Gainesville yet, but they're rapidly working their way south through OK, and I'm sure it won't be long before they'll get all the way down to Ft Worth. I didn't think to get any pictures of the signal work, but I'll be back along the line next week, and I'll try to get some pictures then.

Bottom line for OK and especially North TX railfans: Get your pictures and videos of this line while you can, this is the last major BNSF artery with mostly original ATSF era signaling intact, and those Santa Fe searchlights are about to be history.
 
It's bad news in the sense of losing another piece of American railroading history from a railfan's perspective (railfans being the target audience of this forum). But you're right that the upgrades are ultimately needed, and in that sense, it is good news, certainly from a railroading perspective.
 

Tacoma Tom

New Member
I agree that it's bad news. Rail fanning is becoming more boring with modern signals, concrete ties, welded rails, and lack of telegraph poles. But I also understand that eventually everything comes to a end.
 

setxrailfan

John 3:16
As I understand it any signals governing train movements that use moving parts to indicate signal aspect are required by the FRA to be removed from service and upgraded to modern standards.

On the BNSF I have seen searchlight singanls loaded into gondola cars going to scrap.
 

troygly

Member
I see the BNSF in Nebraska is also replacing the H2 signals on the Lincoln to Denver line this was 1 month ago.
 

papio

Active Member
I see the BNSF in Nebraska is also replacing the H2 signals on the Lincoln to Denver line this was 1 month ago.
Most of the old signals are still in operation with the new ones in the ground but turned away from the tracks. They installed the new ones between Lincoln and Ashland during Feb thru Apr of 2011 and I've heard that they're one piece of the PTC implementation program.
 

troygly

Member
Most of the old signals are still in operation with the new ones in the ground but turned away from the tracks. They installed the new ones between Lincoln and Ashland during Feb thru Apr of 2011 and I've heard that they're one piece of the PTC implementation program.
Makes sense, I like the the H2 signals I had one from the Rock Island got rid of it kicking myself for doing that.
 




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