Verde Canyon Railroad

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Verde Canyon Railroad
Verde Canyon Railroad engines.jpg
Preparing to leave from Clarkdale
LocaleYavapai County, Arizona, United States
Commercial operations
Built byAtchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Original gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned byClarkdale Arizona Central Railroad
Operated byVerde Canyon Railroad
Reporting mark(?)
Length20 mi (32 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Closed to passengers(?)
Preservation history
1989Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad
takes over the track and
resumes freight service
1990Verde Canyon Railroad started up
Verde Canyon Railroad
Verde Canyon Railroad
BNSF junction
0.0 Drake
18.3 Perkinsville
Verde River
38.0 Clarkdale
Terminal at Clarkdale

The Verde Canyon Railroad is a heritage railroad running between Clarkdale and Perkinsville in the U.S. state of Arizona. The passenger excursion line operates on 20 miles (32 km) of tracks of the Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad (AZCR), a shortline. The Verde Canyon Railroad has its depot, headquarters, and a railway museum in Clarkdale, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Sedona.


Route in 1930

The tracks on which the Verde Canyon Railroad runs were opened in 1912 as part of a north–south branch line linking a copper smelter at Clarkdale and the copper mines at Jerome to Santa Fe Railway tracks passing through Drake. The Santa Fe Railway owned and operated the 38-mile (61 km) branch line from 1912 to 1988.[1]

David L. Durbano bought the branch line in 1988.[2] Passenger service between Clarkdale at milepost 38 and Perkinsville at milepost 18, resumed in 1990 under the name Verde Canyon Railroad.[3] Milepost 0 of the AZCR is at Drake, where the line meets the BNSF Railway system.[4] The AZCR track to Drake is still used for hauling freight even though the excursion line stops at Perkinsville.[5]

Excursions involve a 4-hour, 40-mile (64 km) round trip from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back.[4] Scenes from How the West Was Won were filmed at Perkinsville in 1960s.[5] The route follows the Verde River, crossing bridges and trestles, and passes through a 680-foot-long (210 m) curved tunnel.[6] Between milepost 30 and Perkinsville, most of the land along the railroad right-of-way is in the Prescott National Forest or the Coconino National Forest (across the river).[7]

The railroad carries about 100,000 passengers per year.[2] In 2005 the Verde Canyon Railroad celebrated its one-millionth passenger,[8] and the following month was named an "Arizona Treasure" by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.[9]


The John Bell Railroad Museum is part of the depot complex in Clarkdale. Housed in an old boxcar, the museum displays rail artifacts and photographs, many of which came from Bell's personal collection.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rail, p. 6
  2. ^ a b Rail, p. 2
  3. ^ Rail, pp. 5, 17
  4. ^ a b Rail, p. 17
  5. ^ a b Rail, p. 30
  6. ^ Rail, p. 29
  7. ^ Rail, p. 25
  8. ^ Rail, p. 4
  9. ^ "The Western Group: Verde Canyon Railroad, LC". The Western Group. 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  10. ^ Rail, p. 7

Works cited[edit]

  • "Rail: The Official Magazine of the Verde Canyon Railroad". Clarkdale, Arizona: Verde Canyon Railroad. 2011. OCLC 41598511.

External links[edit]