Desert Rails

Here are some photos of various Arizona railroads, from small short lines to the BNSF and UP. There is a real variety of railroading to be seen in this state, what with the varied terrain from the hot baking deserts (temps can be over 120F during the summer) to the high country around Flagstaff (with winter temps well below zero)! Just be prepared for just about everything, from rattlesnakes to frostbite.

The cells with the yellow backgrounds are new and/or updated.

Apache Railway

This line runs between Holbrook and the paper mill just west of Snowflake. They are well known for their pristine fleet of Alco C420's and C424's. The C424's are ex Canadian Pacific units. It was just recently announced that the paper mill near the Snowflake Shops is closing by the end of September. This will change a Apache a lot. New photos posted January 3, 2013.

Arizona Central Ry.

This former Santa Fe branch is now well known for their passenger trains running through the Verde Valley, and for their ex-Alaska RR FP7's painted with a large eagle on the sides.

Arizona Eastern Railway

Another former SP branch, this road runs between Bowie (on the SP/UP) and Globe, hauling copper products. They have some ex UP (nee WP) GP35's. They also had some ex BN (nee GN) and ex SP GP20's. This road was sold recently to the G&W family of railroads. Power is now ex SP/UP B40-8's in the usual orange and black. New photos posted January 3, 2013.

Arizona & California

Another former Santa Fe branch, they run between Parker and Wickenburg (with track rights into Phoenix) with a well maintained fleet of GP38's and SD40M's.

Black Mesa & Lake Powell

This is a small isolated coal hauling railroad in Northeastern Arizona that is using electric power, and is very paranoid about photography, especially around Page. 


Another big merger was the Santa Fe and Burlington Northern. Here are some photos of the varied motive power that is now found here in Arizona.

Copper Basin Railway

This is a former SP branch, running from Magma Jct. to Hayden, with a former Kennicott Copper branch from Ray Jct. north a few miles to the mine. They run GP9's, GP18's, GP39/39-2's and GP40-3's. They added a GP40-3 in January 2012, another GP40-3 in April 2013 and 2 GP40-3's in May 2013. 

Grand Canyon Railway

This is the former Santa Fe branch from Williams to the Grand Canyon. This is a first class operation, running ex LS&I and CB&Q steam, and ex VIA/CN FPA4's on their passenger trains to the Grand Canyon.

Magma Arizona Railroad

This shortline used to run between Superior and Magma Jct., but has been shut down for the last few years now. They were well known for running doubleheaded Baldwins, and also Alco RS3's.

San Manuel Arizona Ry Co.

Known as SMARRCo, they run between San Manuel and Hayden. This road was built in the late '50s to haul copper to the Copper Basin (then SP) at Hayden. This railroad is now shut down as of June 25, 1999, account the copper mine and smelter at San Manuel being closed. Update! The SMA is back in business running once or twice a soon I hope :).

San Pedro & Southwestern

They run south out of Benson on a former SP branch. They had passenger trains with some California Skunk equipment, and there is also some freight service. A link to a photo of their new power was posted here January 3, 2013.

Santa Fe

This high speed double track mainline runs across northern Arizona, and has widely varied scenery from near sea-level at Topock to 7335 ft crossing the Arizona divide just west of Flagstaff. This is now the BNSF.

Southern Pacific

The fabled Sunset Route runs across southern Arizona from San Simone to Yuma, and there are all sorts of photo opportunities on this line. This is now owned by the Union Pacific via merger with the Espee.

Union Pacific

Since the merger of SP with the Union Pacific, things have changed of course, and here are some pictures of the Great Yellow Fleet here in Arizona. The UP 844 Steam Special photos are now up for your enjoyment! Posted December 13, 2011.

Yuma Valley Railway

This is a small tourist road running out of Yuma. I think they have shut down for a while.

Other Arizona RR Photos

Here are some photos that don't really fit into the other pages, such as movie trains, private car moves, Amtrak, industrial units and so on.

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