El Paso and Southwestern Railroad

1881 to 1890s line

In 1881 the Phelps Dodge Coporation decided to build a Railroad servicing all the copper mines throughout Southeastern Arizona. They named the Railroad  The Arizona and Southeastern.

Some years down the line, the Railroad was extended from Bisbee AZ to Douglas AZ. The line was extended to haul copper to the smelter in Douglas.

1902 to 1907 extension

In 1902, the line was again extended going northeast toward Rodeo, NM. Around that same time, Phelps Dodge asked The Southern Pacific Railroad if they can connect their line to theirs in what is now Road Forks, NM. However Southern Pacific denied their request. So Phelps Dodge decided to head north a little ways then head north Toward Animas, New Mexico and on east.

The Phelps Dodge Coporation took The Southern Pacific RR to court in letting them connect to their line in El Paso, Texas. The judge ruled in favor of the Phelps Dodge Coporation. In 1907 the line reached all the to El Paso and connected to the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Railroad’s name was then changed to The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.

Shortly after the extension opened up, Phelps Dodge started running passenger trains on their line.

In 1924 Southern Pacific started running their trains on the EPSW.

In the late 1950s the Railroad was losing profits, due to Semi trucks becoming stronger and easier to haul copper, and in 1960 the line was declared abandoned.

In 1965 The Phelps Dodge removed the tracks and most of the bridges. Eventually most of the stations were torn down as well.

A citizen from Animas recalled:

In 65 during school, the valley heard the train and was excited because there had not been a train in 5 years. Another of the community ran down to the Railroad in excitement, only to learn the train was just their removing tracks.

EL Paso, Texas Depot
Tucson AZ Depot
Douglas AZ Depot
Columbus, NM Depot

Today most of the EPSW grade is intact and can be seen following along Highway 9 and U.S. 80. Out of the all the train stations from the Railroad, only 4 are known to have survived.

There is one a couple locomotives left in existence, but only one is photographed.


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