Apache Railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Apache Railway
Apache Railway system map.svg
Reporting mark APA
Locale Holbrook-Snowflake, Arizona
Dates of operation 1917–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Snowflake, Arizona
Apache Railway train, just south of Holbrook, Arizona, 2010
0.0 BNSF junction, Holbrook
9.3 Blair
27.4 Tours
Snowflake Junction
Shops, Paper Mill
34.8 Snowflake
37.5 Taylor
44.9 Silver Lake
54.8 Bell
61.7 Sponseller
72.0 McNary

The Apache Railway (reporting mark APA) is an Arizona short-line railroad that operates from a connection with the BNSF Railway (BNSF) at Holbrook to the Catlyst Paper paper mill at Snowflake, Arizona, 38 miles (61 km). The APA was acquired by Catalyst Paper from Abitibi Consolidated in 2008. The Snowflake paper mill shut down permanently on September 30, 2012, leaving an undetermined fate to the railroad.[1]


16,000 cars per year (1996 figure)[citation needed]

  • recycled fiber
  • pulpwood
  • wood chips
  • coal
  • paper
  • chemicals
  • grain


The Apache Railway was incorporated on September 5, 1917. Grading for the railroad began on October 1 and by March 1918 the rails were being laid. One year later, on September 6, 1918, the track reached Snowflake. The railroad continued building south from Snowflake and reached McNary on April 5, 1919. Construction of the entire 72-mile (116 km) line from Holbrook to McNary was completed on July 1, 1920, and the APA was listed as a class II railroad common carrier.

From October 1, 1931, until 1936, amid the great depression, the APA was placed in receivership.

A tourist railroad, the White Mountain Scenic Railroad, operated steam powered passenger excursions over the Southwest Forest Industries-owned line from McNary to the logging camp of Maverick, AZ, beginning in 1964. As track conditions deteriorated, the excursions were cut back in later years halfway from Maverick. In the final years, it operated north from Pinetop Lakes to a place called Bell on U.S. Route 60. In 1976, the railroad ceased operations and moved its equipment to Heber City, Utah to be used on an excursion there known as the "Heber Creeper." The line from Maverick to McNary, with some elevations exceeding 9,000 ft (2,700 m), was removed in 1982 after the McNary sawmill closed.

By the 1980s, Apache Railway was Arizona's only remaining logging railroad. The track from Snowflake to McNary was abandoned in 1982.

Passenger service[edit]

Apache Railway offered passenger service until the 1950s. In July 1954, the mixed train operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing McNary at 7:15am, arriving Holbrook at 12:15pm, departing there at 1:30pm and returning to McNary at 7:00pm.[2]

Motive power[edit]

The Apache Railway uses ALCO Century 420 (C420) and C424s.


Abandoned routes[edit]

Abandoned in 1982.

  • Snowflake (interchange with the now defunct Standard Lumber)
  • Taylor
  • Silver Lake
  • Bell (Sedan)
  • Sponseller (with several lumber spurs into the forest to the east)
  • Pinetop Lakes (with several lumber spurs into the forest)
  • McNary (interchange with Southwest Forest Industries)
  • Camp 28 (with several lumber spurs into the forest)

In addition, a 2 to 3 mile (3–5 km) section of track used to run from south of Tours to Snowflake. Today's line runs from Tours to Snowflake Junction.


  1. ^ Catalyst Paper: "Catalyst to permanently close Snowflake recycle paper mill." http://catalystpaper.com/media/news/community/catalyst-permanently-close-snowflake-recycle-paper-mill
  2. ^ The Official Guide of the Railways: 937. July 1954. 
  • Robertson, Donald B. (1986). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: The Desert States: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers. p. 65. ISBN 0-87004-305-6. 
  • Stindt, Fred A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (5th ed.). Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 0-89024-290-9. 
  • Walker, Mike (1995). Steam Powered Video's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America - Arizona & New Mexico. Kent, United Kingdom: Steam Powered Publishing. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1-874745-04-8. 
  • Carr, Wes (2004). "Apache Railway - the Southwest Railfan". trainweb.org. Retrieved March 17, 2006. 
  • Cloud, Karol; Komanesky, John (2005). "Apache Railway motive power". TheDieselShop.us. Retrieved March 17, 2006.