Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico

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The Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico (reporting mark SPM)[1] was a railroad subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company in Mexico, operating from Nogales, Sonora, to Mazatlán, Sinaloa. The Sonora Railway Company began construction in 1880 and opened a link to Nogales in 1882; it was a subsidiary of the American "Sante Fe" line and was subsidized by the Mexican government. The Southern Pacific bought the Sonora Railway Company in 1898 and operated it as the "Southern Pacific of Mexico" until 1951.

The main line ran 260 miles from the Sonoran town of Nogales, just across the border from Arizona, to the city of Guadalajara, stopping at several northwestern cities and port towns along the way. Owned by the Southern Pacific Company, which operated a highly profitable railroad system north of the border, the SP de Mex transported millions of passengers as well as millions of tons of freight over the years, both within Mexico and across its northern border. Lewis (2007) reports it rarely turned a profit. Lewis contends that SP executives, urged on by the media of the day, operated with a reflexive imperialism that kept the company committed to the railroad long after it ceased to make business sense.

It was sold to the Mexican government in 1951, becoming the Ferrocarril del Pacifico.


  1. ^ The Official Railway Equipment Register. Railway Equipment and Publication Company. 1917. p. 536.
  • Lewis, Daniel (2007). Iron Horse Imperialism: The Southern Pacific of Mexico, 1880-1951. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ. ISBN 0-8165-2604-4.
  • Signor, John R. and Kirchner, John (1987). The Southern Pacific of Mexico and the West Coast Route. Golden West Press, San Marino, CA. ISBN 0-87095-099-1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) online review
  • Robert A. Trennert, Jr., "The Southern Pacific Railroad of Mexico," The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Aug., 1966), pp. 265–284 online at JSTOR

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