Arizona Central Railroad

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Clarkdale Arizona Central Railbus
Arizona Central Railroad system map.svg
Reporting markAZCR
LocaleCentral Arizona
Dates of operation1989–present
PredecessorAtchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
HeadquartersClarkdale, Arizona

The Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad (reporting mark AZCR) is an Arizona short-line railroad that operates from a connection with the BNSF Railway at Drake, Arizona. The AZCR runs 37.8 miles (60.8 km) from Drake to Clarkdale, Arizona. An excursion train also runs on the line through Verde Canyon and is operated by the same owners under the Verde Canyon Railroad. The AZCR is owned by David L. Durbano (The Western Group).


The AZCR handles 1,500 cars per year of inbound coal to the Phoenix Cement Company and shipping outbound cement.[1]

The Verde Canyon Railroad carries 100,000 passengers per year (2013 figure).


Verde Valley Railway[edit]

From 1913 to 1989 the line was operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe Railway). On November 17, 1911, the Verde Valley Railway was chartered as a non-operating subsidiary of the Santa Fe Railway. Construction from Cedar Glade (west of Drake) to Clarkdale was immediately commenced on February 13, 1912, and was completed on February 1, 1913, at a total cost of $1,286,061.[citation needed] It was built to support the copper mines at Jerome, Arizona. On December 31, 1942, the Verde Valley was conveyed to the Santa Fe Railway by deed.

On April 14, 1989, the Santa Fe Railway sold the Clarkdale branch to David L. Durbano's The Western Group. The new railroads were named the Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad for freight and the Verde Canyon Railroad for passenger service. Passenger service resumed in November 1990.

Motive power[edit]

The AZCR has four locomotives that were all built in the 1950s. The railroad has one EMD GP7 (AZCR 2164), one EMD GP9 (AZCR 3413) and a pair of EMD FP7s (1510 and 1512, used to power the excursion)


The route is nestled between two national forests and adjacent to a designated wilderness area, follows the Verde River the entire way and features a 680-foot (210 m) long tunnel and many bridges.


  • Robertson, Donald B. (1986). Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: The Desert States: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers. p. 112. ISBN 0-87004-305-6.
  • Lewis, Edward A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (5th ed.). Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. p. 28. 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. 9, 15. ISBN 1-874745-04-8.

External links[edit]