Magma Arizona Railroad

The Magma Arizona Railroad (reporting mark MAA) was built by the Magma Copper Company and operated from 1915 to 1997.

Magma Arizona Railroad
Magma Arizona Railroad Engine No. 6
HeadquartersSuperior, Arizona
Reporting markMAA
Dates of operation1920–1997
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Previous gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Magma Arizona Railroad
UP Phoenix Subdivision
at Magma Junction
Arizona State Route 79
Florence Junction
U.S. Route 60
Hewitt Station (Queen Valley)
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Magma Engine No. 5 switching in Superior, 1967.

The railroad was originally built as a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge line, but was converted to 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge in 1923. Originally headquartered in Superior, Arizona, the company primarily hauled cattle and copper on 30.2 miles (48.6 km) of standard gauge track to and from the Southern Pacific mainline in Magma, Arizona, between Florence and Queen Creek.

BHP purchased the Magma Copper Company and its lines in 1996 for A$3.2 billion and suspended rail operations on this line a year later.

The Magma was the last industrial short line railroad to use steam power, dieselizing on September 4, 1968.

Revival edit

The railroad has since changed hands and is currently owned by Resolution Copper, a joint venture of Rio Tinto and BHP. Exploration in 2001-2003 resulted in the discovery of a large copper ore body some 7,000 feet (2,100 m) beneath the surface of lands just three miles (4.8 km) east of Superior. If the mine is eventually reopened, it is highly likely the Magma Arizona will be revived to transport the one billion short tons (910,000,000 t) of ore to off-site smelters. Discussions with representatives of Resolution indicate the Magma Arizona name will be kept if the mine and railroad are both reopened, which may occur after feasibility studies are completed in 2009.

Locomotives Roster edit

Engine#10 at the Arizona Railway Museum

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Engine No. 3 arrives in Williams to be displayed at future State Railroad Museum". Williams News. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  2. ^ Warnick, Ron (2016-01-15). "$500,000 grant accepted for Arizona State Railroad Museum". Route 66 News. Retrieved 2021-03-15.
  3. ^ McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. "Attractions and Exhibits". Archived from the original on 2007-01-02.
  4. ^ The Center for East Texas Studies (2000). "TSR Roster". Archived from the original on 2005-03-08. Retrieved 2005-04-02.
  5. ^ Southern Oregon Chapter National Railway Historical Society (1999-03-14). "Medco 8". Archived from the original on 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2005-04-02.
  6. ^ "The Baldwin Diesel Zone". The Baldwin Diesel Zone. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  7. ^ Arizona Railway Museum. "ARM Equipment Roster".

Bibliography edit

Chappell, Gordon. Rails to Carry Copper: A History of the Magma Arizona Railroad. Boulder, Colorado; Pruett Publishing Company, 1973. Includes over 200 photographs, maps, and scale drawings.

External links edit