Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad

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Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad
Black Mesa and Lake Powell RR Map.png
Eastbound train on the Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad, May 19, 2007. Note the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (N de M) livery on the locomotives
Reporting markBLKM
LocaleNavajo Nation, Northern Arizona
Dates of operation1973 (1973)–2019 (2019)
HeadquartersPage, Arizona

The Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad (reporting mark BLKM) is an electrified private railroad operating in Northern Arizona, USA within the Navajo Nation which transports coal 78 miles (126 km) from the Peabody Energy Kayenta Mine near Kayenta, Arizona to the Navajo Generating Station power plant at Page, Arizona. It is completely isolated from the national rail network and does not interchange with any other railroads. As a result, like metros, light rails, and trams, this is not controlled by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The line was constructed in the early 1970s and was the first railroad to be electrified at 50,000 volts. It is owned by the Salt River Project and the co-owners of the Navajo Generating Station.


The line is electrified by means of 50,000 volt (60 Hz) overhead catenary with electricity supplied by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.

During normal operations, the railroad operated three round trips per day.[1] Between 1973 and 1976, six E60CFs locomotives were purchased new. In 1999, some 1982/83 built E60C-2s were purchased from Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México and overhauled including conversion from 25 kv.[2]

Forty new aluminum coal hoppers were purchased from FreightCar America to replace some of the aging fleet of 30 year-old FMC and Ortner hoppers.

The railroad's final delivery to the Navajo Generating Station was August 26, 2019. The power plant is to shut down in December 2019 due to competition from cheaper energy sources.[1]

See also[edit]


  • Walker, Mike (1995). Steam Powered Video's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America: Arizona & New Mexico. Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom: Steam Powered Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 1-874745-04-8.
  • Carr, Wes. "Black Mesa & Lake Powell". Retrieved March 14, 2006.
  1. ^ a b Allen, Krista (August 22, 2019). "NGS coal train operators will miss 'best job in the world'". Navajo Times. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Unique Arizona electrified line to close The Railway Magazine issue 1422 September 2019 page 96

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°33′15″N 110°31′35″W / 36.55417°N 110.52639°W / 36.55417; -110.52639