David Barrow's Fourth District Machine

As described in my article in Model Railroader August 2009, in 1986 my friend Jay Miller told me that the Santa Fe was discarding several TCS cabinets from their office in Amarillo, Texas. Some friends and I went there and after bidding on the contents of the 8th floor where the machines were stored, I bought all the machines there. My idea was to bring one of the cabinets to Austin, but after taking into account the weight of the heavy steel cabinets loaded with relays we decided instead to strip several of them of their parts. I used these to build a 5′ replica machine for my railroad at that time. Later on when I built other railroads modeling industrial areas in Lubbock, I gave the cabinet to Tommy Holt. Several years ago I was pleased to hear that the original Santa Fe Fourth District machine had been saved and in storage in Lubbock for the intervening years. It is now in a store front in Slaton.

In 2008, I began discussions with Mike Burgett that led to building a 5′ new cabinet modeling that length of the 7 ½’ machine that had been used by the Santa Fe for the Plains Division Fourth District controlling Slaton, Texas to Lubbock and west to the California main line. I drew the track plan and Jay helped me find a company in Dallas to etch the replica. The new machine cabinet is in place downstairs from my current railroad modeling the Fourth District with new front panels and track plan lights by Mike. At this writing in August, 2012 we are operating the layout signals by computer and we’ll be wiring the front panels and track diagram this fall.

-David Barrow