Apache Railway

The Apache Railway runs south from the BNSF interchange at Holbrook to the paper mill west of Snowflake. They have a fleet of pristine Alco's, including 3 ex CPR C424's, and 4 C420's (from the L&N and N&W).

Would you like prints of most any of these slides? Go to Desert-Rails.com for details!

The Apache ran a special passenger train with 2 privately owned cars on June 3, 2006 - photos below.

As most everyone knows by now, the paper mill at the Snowflake Shops is closing at the end of September 2012 and that will mean a much smaller Apache Railway operation. Despite the loss of the paper and coal traffic to the mill, they are still going to keep running for the foreseeable future hauling pig feed to a very large farm south of Holbrook, plus they are also storing and hauling fracking sand for the Preferred Sands operation at Sanders, AZ. Instead of running 4-5 days a week as they are now, likely they will run once or twice a week after the mill closes on September 30.

I have been trying to get a few more shots of the Apache lately, and I have just added 7 new photos. There are a lot more to come..... 6 of the 7 new photos are digital and the new photo's cells have a light yellow background. More new photos added January 2, 2013 of the events of September 27, 2012 when all 6 roadworthy units were used to move some sand cars.

apa_903.jpg (232430 bytes) Here is an ex SP RS11 stored at Snowflake on Oct. 23, 1985, in the Apache's Bi-Centennial scheme. I think these units were eventually sold to Mexico.
apa_obs.jpg (268037 bytes) This is the Apache's observation car, at Snowflake Oct. 23, 1985. This car was sold to the Yuma Valley Railway, and is used on their passenger trains.
apa_700.jpg (255516 bytes) Here is Apache #700, one of three RS36's bought new. In recent years this unit was restricted to yard service around the paper mill, and likely will be the first of the "new" Alco's to be retired, account bad wiring.
apa_at_HB.jpg (218317 bytes) The northbound train is arriving at the Holbrook interchange with the Santa Fe (now BNSF) on April 25, 1987. The train usually runs to Holbrook once a day, arriving there in the early afternoon.
apa_10.jpg (238658 bytes)

After Stone Container bought out Southwest Forest Products, the Alco's were painted a very attractive green and white. Here is a southbound train just south of Holbrook on July 30, 1994 as monsoon storm clouds build in the background.

apa_3units.jpg (217528 bytes) On June 14, 1995 the train is at the junction switch to Snowflake headed southbound with loads for the paper mill.
apa_81995.jpg (179761 bytes) On Aug. 19, 1995 I got the northbound train near the junction switch to Snowflake, Arizona snaking around a curve.
apa_81995_2.jpg (157804 bytes) How often does this happen?? The sun actually came out briefly during this monsoon thunderstorm while the southbound train was climbing the hill just out of Holbrook. A rare example of being in the right place at the right time :). August 19, 1995.
apa_at_holbrook.jpg (194820 bytes) On a beautiful August afternoon around 5pm the northbound train is just arriving at Holbrook with 2 of the new "Canadians" (the ex CPR C424's) under Kodachrome skies. August 4, 1998.
On June 3, 2006 The Apache ran a special passenger train with 2 privately owned cars and two of the C424's. Shown here at the Snowflake Shops ready to board.
View from the cab of No. 99 while passengers are boarding.
Looking back at our train just before leaving the shops.
All on the main! Clouds of nice Alco smoke boil out of the 99 and the 98.
A few miles up the track we stopped for the first of two runbys.
The second runby....
Arriving at Holbrook - the Amtrak unit was set off for mechanical problems.
The BNSF Local is switching cars as we uncouple the passenger cars and run to the west end of Holbrook yard to run around them.
Hot Rail Westbound! A BNSF double stack is headed westbound at a high rate of speed.
One of the Apache crew members is making the joint on the private cars.
"Fred" is being installed and checked prior to departing Holbrook.
Just leaving Holbrook headed south.
There is a large pig farm at Mile 15, and here is a view of the feed unloading facility.
A small part of the pig farm.
Back at the Snowflake shops the train is positioned for the passengers to detrain.
Another view of the passenger cars once everyone has left.
The 2 C424's are now being put away for the night. This slide and the next two were shot on Fuji Provia 100F film.
The units are being positioned in the shops for the night. Compare this Provia 100F shot with the one 3 frames above, which was shot on Kodachrome 64. There is a noticeable difference....but you decide which one is "better".
The 3 RS36's have been retired and stored for a while now, and they are being used for parts.
As things turned out, this was one of the last Apache photos I took using film....shown here at about Mile 5 southbound doing what Alco units do best - making lots of smoke! April 15, 2011. Provia 100F film.
And this is my first digital photo of the Apache. Holbrook, Arizona on August 14, 2012.
Here is a northbound train just south of Holbrook at Mile 3. September 14, 2012.
After a little bit of switching the train is on its way back to the Snowflake Shops. Shown here just north of the Hwy 377 crossing. September 14, 2012.
Same as above, backed off on the zoom lens.
A little ways west of Snowflake Junction - September 14, 2012.
Same as above, backed off on the zoom.
The following photos were taken September 27, 2012 when all 6 of the Alco units were used to move some sand cars around and switch out loads for the BNSF at Holbrook. Here they are starting to lift well over 120 cars at Snowflake headed west. September 27, 2012.
Six Alco engines working hard can make a lot of smoke! Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.
Same as above backed off on the zoom. Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.
Now they are pulling about 100 cars off the Holbrook Main and then after clearing the junction switch they will shove these cars down the Snowflake Branch. Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.
Up close at the junction as they pull west. Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.
121 cars makes for an interesting photo as the train is going downgrade and up at the same time as well as snaking around a S-curve. Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.
It is almost sunset as the train heads for the barn with their work done for the day. Snowflake Junction, AZ - September 27, 2012.

Back ] Home ] Up ] Next ]

This Web Page and all photos on it copyright 1985-2013 by Ted Ellis. All rights reserved.