Copper Basin Railway


This road operates on an ex-Southern Pacific branch, running from Magma Jct. to Hayden, with an ex-Kennecott Copper branch from Ray Jct. to the mine a few miles north. Operations started at 12:01 am June 1, 1986 using 6 SP GP35's, 4 ex SP SD39's and 3 ex Kennecott Copper GP39's. Within a few weeks the SP GP35's were gone and replaced by 8 GP9's and GP18's. They are running GP9's, GP18's, GP39-2's, 1 GP40 and 3 GP40-2's acquired from various other railroads. They also had 4 ex SP SD39's, but they proved too hard on the track, so they were traded for some more GP39's. Here are some photos, from shortly after startup to the present day.

The CBR has recently started to acquire new power in the form of rebuilt GP40's and GP40-2's starting with the 301 (GP40) delivered last year and then the 302 (GP40-2) was delivered in March of 2013. 2 more GP40-2's were delivered May 1, 2013 which are ex ICE units and orginally SP/SSW. Plans are to acquire more GP40's and to sell off the GP9 and GP18 units. The 204 is being stripped of usable parts and then will be scrapped; the 205, 206 and the 207 have been sold. Note that this is the second series of engines in the 300 series - the first 300's were ex SP SD39's as shown below.

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A Yellow cell background indicates the newest photos. New photos added June 17, 2013!

cbr_206.jpg (246426 bytes) Here is Copper Basin GP9 #206 at Hayden on Dec. 29, 1986 in the original color scheme, a somewhat hard to photograph light gray with light green lettering, and a dark green cactus.
cbr_301.jpg (209055 bytes) One of four ex SP SD39's is shown at Hayden on Dec. 29, 1986 undergoing some repairs. At first, the Copper Basin did not have an indoor facility, which was usually not too much of a problem. The SD39's were traded for more GP39's a few years ago, and last I knew they were on the Indiana Harbor Belt.
cbr_203.jpg (237078 bytes) Here are 3 GP's at Magma Junction on Jan. 11, 1987 with the Sunday afternoon local, which does not run on Sundays anymore! The local now runs between the SP (now UP) interchange and Hayden on a 'as required' basis, usually late in the afternoon or early evening.
cbr_401.jpg (255642 bytes) This is one of 3 ex Kennicott Copper GP39's acquired by the Copper Basin. Shown here at Hayden on Dec. 28, 1987.
cbr_402.jpg (243233 bytes) This another ex Kennicott Copper GP39, also at Hayden on Dec. 28, 1987.
This is a close-up of the cactus symbol as used in the Copper Basin's first paint scheme. Some thought it was hard to photograph, and it could be at times. Hayden, Arizona December 28, 1987.
cbr_203_1.jpg (208159 bytes) Here is GP18 #203 at Magma Jct. on Dec 9, 1988 fresh out of the paint shop in the new copper/gray color scheme.
cbr_204_2.jpg (213529 bytes) Here is another freshly painted unit, shown here at the SMARRCo interchange in Winkleman on Dec. 26, 1988. Update: this engine is now being scrapped at Hayden (April 2013).
cbr_204.jpg (276856 bytes) This is the roustabout leaving the SMARRCo interchange at Winkleman and headed to the yard at Hayden, and another freshly painted unit is on the point. Dec. 26, 1988. Update: this engine is now being scrapped at Hayden (April 2013).
cbr_at_ky.jpg (211271 bytes) Late afternoon on Jan. 22, 1989 finds the ore dumper train near Kearny headed east with 3 units still in the old paint schemes.
cbr_302.jpg (288693 bytes) The 3 operating SD39's are just arriving at Ray Jct. on May 14, 1990. The 4th unit, the 301, was used for parts to keep these 3 running.
cbr_302_1.jpg (302102 bytes) The ore empties are just east of Ray Jct. at Tunnel #2 on Sept. 30, 1991.
cbr_403.jpg (278127 bytes) The eastbound ore loads have just left Ray Jct. in the early evening of Sept. 30, 1991.
cbr_rj.jpg (237622 bytes)

Here is the northbound "unit train" headed north from Ray Jct. to the copper mine late in the afternoon of Sept. 5, 1994.

hlcx_4404.jpg (242150 bytes) This ex Amtrak GP40 worked for a while on the Copper Basin after the SD39-2's left and before more GP39-2's could be found. Shown here at Hayden, AZ. on Feb. 6, 1995.
cbr_trestle.jpg (251030 bytes) The old Sunday afternoon local has just left Magma Jct. and is headed back to Hayden. This small wooden trestle has since been replaced with a culvert and fill. This photo was taken with a 24mm wide angle lens on Feb. 19, 1995.

Here is a loaded ore train just leaving Ray Junction headed towards the dumper. Ray Junction, Arizona - February 17, 1996.

An empty train is rounding the curve at Ray Junction headed towards the mine. February 17, 1996.
The Sunday afternoon train is westbound near Florence on December 29, 1996.
On the CTC Board Magazine's DINA day I got this shot of an eastbound ore train near Ray Junction on January 4, 1997.
This is the "Unit Train" rounding the curve headed towards the mine at Ray Junction, AZ in June of 2004. These units have all been recently repainted, and they look real nice. Update: this engine has been sold (April 2013).
On a nice pleasant and warm May afternoon I got the westbound empty train near Kearny. May 8, 2005.
A few minutes later I got the same train headed north on the Ray branch, and the late afternoon sun lights up the freshly painted engines, especially the copper colored handrails and nose stripes. May 8, 2005.
It was a nice spring day at Ray Junction on March 12, 2010 as the OT-1 headed south from the mine. All photos from this one on are shot on Provia 100F film...as much as I miss Kodachrome film, it is history and time to move on. I am very happy with the Provia results!
The same train as above just east of Ray Junction about to head into Tunnel 2. March 12, 2010.
Later that afternoon I got the OT-1 (empties) headed westbound towards Ray Junction at a crossing near Kearny, Arizona. March 12, 2010.
In gorgeous late afternoon light the OT-1 empties round the curve at Ray Junction and head north on the Ray block to the mine. March 12, 2010. As it turned out this is my last Copper Basin photo taken with film - starting with the next photo they are all digital!
This is one of my first digital photos of the Copper Basin. I had bought a Canon 7D a couple of days before this and I made a quick trip to the CBR to give the camera a test. Here is the OT-1 headed east near Kearny, Arizona. Camera is on "full auto" - i.e., auto exposure, auto focus and image stabilization on. Train was moving about 30 mph and the auto focus worked perfectly! Doubt that I will be shooting too much more film... October 28, 2011.
It was a pleasant winter day in December when I decided to give the new digital camera a full day's workout. Here is the morning OT-1 arriving at Ray Junction. One advantage of digital is that annoying background distractions can be easily removed, as in a stop sign. December 30, 2011 at Ray Junction, Arizona.
Here is the same train as above a couple of miles east of Kearny. December 30, 2011.
At the dumper in Hayden. December 30, 2011.
Here the OT-1 is on its way back to the mine. Shown here at Kearny, Arizona December 30, 2011.
The OT-1 is rounding the curve at Ray Junction. December 30, 2011.
Here the OT-1 is at Ray Junction in the perfect afternoon sun, and with the zoom at 320 mm it makes for a good photo, if I may say so! December 30, 2011.
Same train as above, just backed off on the zoom. December 30, 2011 at Ray Junction, Arizona.
Another late afternoon shot in the so-called "golden hour" of light at Ray Junction. Here are 2 GP18's and a GP9 headed to Magma Junction on the local train. The third unit (208) is a GP9 but has radiator sections from a GP18. December 30, 2011.
Here is the Copper Basin's first new engine in several years. It is an ex SCL GP40 that was rebuilt by Metro East Industries in St. Louis, MO. Shown here the day it was delivered by the UP at Magma Junction, Arizona on January 9, 2012.
A few days later I got the new engine on its first revenue run at Kelvin, Arizona on the southbound OT-1. January 18, 2012.
Same train as above eastbound in downtown Kearny with Teapot Mountain in the background. January 18, 2011.
Here the OT-1 is at the Hayden Dumper. Note the 3 units each have a slightly different shade of gray. January 18, 2012.
The OT-1 is westbound near Kearny, Arizona. January 18, 2012.
Here the OT-1 is turning north towards the mine. The 501 has recently been repainted - note the gray is considerably darker than on the 301. Ray Junction, Arizona - January 18, 2012.
There was a work train shuttling water from the Ray Mine to a contractor's water tank at Ray Junction. Here it is following the OT-1 to the mine for another load of water. January 18, 2012 at Ray Junction.
Here are a few shots from my latest trip to the Copper Basin....this is the morning OT-1 headed east from Ray Junction. March 23, 2012.
Westbound unit train near Kearny, Arizona...March 23, 2012.
This is the unit train in the late afternoon sun just west of Kearny. March 23, 2012.
Same as above at Ray Junction. March 23, 2012.
After another long hot summer and the arrival of cooler weather it was time to make a run to the Copper Basin and see what has been going on there. Here OT-1 is headed east with another trainload of copper ore. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 7, 2012.
The CBR set out this caboose all decorated with lights for the Christmas season. The caboose is ex Ray & Gila Valley and is over 100 years old. Hayden, Arizona - December 7, 2012.
The unit train is about to cross the highway as it arrives at Hayden with empty hoppers from the smelter. It was a warmer than usual fall this year and even the desert wildflowers are confused! Hayden, Arizona - December 7, 2012.
The unit train is now the local and is shown here arriving at Ray Junction headed west towards Magma Junction. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 7, 2012.
OT-1 is southbound as it arrives at Ray Junction. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 7, 2012.
And just a few weeks later I was back there again on another gorgeous winter day here in Arizona. One change I noted from the above trip is that they are now using 4 of the "big geeps" (GP39/39-2/GP40) instead of the usual 3. Here they are running around their train after pulling through the dumper (in the background) and then they will push the train through the dumper, and then head back to the mine. Hayden, AZ - December 28, 2012.
After the above train dumped their copper ore and switched power with another set of 4 units they are at Ray Junction headed towards the Ray Mine. They are diverging from the old SP main and headed up a slight grade on the Ray Branch. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 28, 2012. Effective telephoto zoom of 320 mm.
Same train as above at 50 mm. It was a gorgeous clear (but cold - for me!) day. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 28, 2012.
After a couple of hours they are now loaded and heading back to the dumper at Hayden. They run around the train in the mine account the load out tracks are stub ended. Another 'tele-mash' 320 mm shot ;). Ray Junction, Arizona - December 28, 2012.
Backed off on the zoom the train passes some old cacti just before sunset. Ray Junction, Arizona - December 28, 2012.
Last February we had some unusual weather in that there was actually some snow in the desert! Here is a photo of the OT-1 westbound at Ray Junction with some snow on the hills. February 21, 2013.
The Copper Basin recently acquired some new ore cars to replace the ones that have to be scrapped account old age (sounds like me!) - Ray Junction, AZ - February 21, 2013.
This is a sequence of the OT-1 southbound at Kelvin (Ray Junction area) - this shot is at 320mm (200mm lens on a 7D crop camera) - Ray Junction, AZ - February 21, 2013.
Backed off on the zoom - Ray Junction, AZ - February 21, 2013.
Here is a shot taken at 24mm - Ray Junction, AZ - February 21, 2013.
Just by luck I happened to be in Tucson when the 207 was headed east to the St. Louis area. This 'rolling roster' was taken near Houghton Road on the east side of Tucson. March 17, 2013.
Of course the chase was on and here the train is headed downhill at Benson. The 207 sure looks small compared to those big GE's! This engine is now working for the FTRL as a switcher at a ethanol plant. March 17, 2013. Link to photo of the engine as it is now.
A couple of months later I was once again shooting photos of the CBR - here is the OT-1 approaching Ray Junction. April 3, 2013.
This is the newest Copper Basin engine shown at Hayden a couple of days after delivery. It is ex Idaho Northern & Pacific 4506, built as L&N 3012. April 3, 2013.
This engine has been sold and will soon be traveling back east to work for a shortline. Hayden, AZ - April 3, 2013.
OT-1 rounds the curve at Ray Junction and is headed north to the mine for another trainload of copper ore. April 3, 2013.
How often does one see a clean set of GP18's anymore? Here is the Local at the east end of the Ray Junction yard. April 3, 2013.
More new power! Here are two ex ICE units shown minutes after delivery at Magma Jct., AZ on May 1, 2013. This unit was ICE 4207 and originally SP 7246 and is now CBRY 304 (2nd).
A roster shot complete with high sun and dark nose. Magma Jct., AZ - May 1, 2013.
Another roster shot complete with high sun and dark nose. Magma Jct., AZ - May 1, 2013.
The two units front coupled with high sun. Magma Jct., AZ - May 1, 2013. The 303 was ICE 4204 and originally SSW 7268.
What cars front coupled??? Photoshop removed it! Magma Jct., AZ - May 1, 2013.
The 303 on one of its first revenue runs - Hayden Junction, AZ - May 22, 2013.
The old and the new....the 303 passing the 206 that has been sold to a shortline in Illinois. Hayden Junction, AZ - May 22, 2013.
Here is the 205 at Magma Junction being interchanged to the UP for movement to the St. Louis (MO) area. After 27 years of dependable service on the CBRY it has been sold to a shortline in Illinois. June 8, 2013.
The 205 at Magma Junction June 8 2013.
The 205 and the 206 along with a flat car loaded with copper anodes. Magma Junction, AZ - June 8, 2013.
A close-up of the copper anodes on a flat car at Magma Junction. June 8, 2013.

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