Friday, July 17, 2020

The Southern Pacific Railroad's South Line (ex-El Paso & Southwestern)

The El Paso & Southwestern Railroad ran in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico during its existence. Constructed in the late 19th and early 20th century, the railway owned and operated many lines that connected to the mining industry. (Right-of-way)

Image: Paul McGuffin, 2010, via Abandoned Rails.

In 1912, the main line reached its full extent, extending from Tucson, AZ to El Paso, TX. The collapse of copper prices following World War I greatly affected the railroad, and it was leased to the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1924. The SP used the EP&SW as a parallel main line to their own Transcontinental Route, dubbing it the "South Line". 

EP&SW 168 at El Paso, TX. 1/21/1949. Image: Otto Perry via American-Rails
The South Line handled both passenger and freight trains, and remained profitable through its existence. Nonetheless, the Southern Pacific chose to abandon much of the South Line in favor of a single mainline between Tuscon-El Paso in 1959, since there were little sources of traffic along the route. The line remains in service between Anapra, NM and El Paso, TX in the east, and Rancho del Lago, AZ and Benson, AZ in the west.

Southern Pacific Railroad
Docket: 20737 7/28/1959 Section: 1(18)
"Appl. for auth. to abandon portions of (l) the South Line in the Tucson and Rio Grande Divisions between M.P. 1022.480 at or near Mescal, Ariz., and M.P. 1046.390 at Benson Junction, Ariz., a dist. of approx. 23.910 miles in Cochise County, Ariz, and (2) the South Line in the Rio Grande Division between M.P. 1108.941, at or near Douglas, Ariz. and M.P. 1317.817 at or near Anapra, N. Mex., at dist. of approx. 208.876 miles in Cochise County, Ariz. & Hidalgo, Grant, Luna and Dona Ana Counties, N. Mex., together with all sidings, spur tracks, facilities and appurtenances."
Citation: 312 ICC 685&696 (Abandoned Rails)

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