Passing Over the EsPee

In Vaughn, New Mexico the Santa Fe (literally) crosses over the Southern Pacific Railroad (the EsPee, as it was affectionately known). Mr. Delano recorded this scene as they were passing above the EsPee mainline. Note the coaling tower, along with the huge water tank and penstock. Off in the far distance one can make out the rather large two-story Southern Pacific station, along with a smaller building and a large storage tank.

There doesn’t seem to be much here beyond that. A look at Google maps shows this location still exists, with the BNSF Railway crossing over the Union Pacific. There is what appears to be an interchange track connecting the two lines, but beyond that, there is not much else. The structures are gone now, replaced by what appears to be a trailer near where the wooden structure is in the foreground.

Jack Delano photograph, March, 1943.

Passing Over the EsPee

4 thoughts on “Passing Over the EsPee

  1. Jack, any idea what that dead end spur on the left is. Are they digging something or is this a runaway track from some uneven grade?

    • Brendan, it’s hard to say what that spur is. Looking at the hi-res original, the car on that spur looks like a flat car with a small crane on it. The track just beyond the car is going up an incline built up with dirt (which looks fresh in the photo). It ends with a pair of crossties as “bumpers”. That sharp curve leading to the track though gives me pause. It seems that a runaway car (or train) would turn over in that curve before reaching the incline. This, and most of the rest of the track is gone now. The Google Maps view (Vaughn, NM) shows just the mainline and a passing siding (likely the track running behind the coaling tower). One can also see what I suspect was a small yard down beyond the distant curve, with only the mainline and outer track left. The depot was likely at the start of that yard. That fence line in the photo is still there!

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