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Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Discussion of early railroads and "honorary" narrow gauges.

Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby John Coker » Wed May 02, 2012 9:34 pm

We often overlook the long-gone standard gauge lines that challenged the limits of engineering in their day. The most well known example is the Mount Tamalpias and Muir Woods RR, which ascended 2000 feet in only a few miles. That was done with small Shays. Deep in Central Arizona was the Bradshaw Mountain Ry. It ascended 2000 feet in less than 10 miles through 10 switchbacks to the high and remote camp of Crown King. It did this with several Brooks 2-8-0s that were standard gauge copies of the C&S/RGS #74 . The BMRR was a subsidiary of the Prescott and Eastern, that ran to mining towns of Humboldt and Mayer. Eventually the ATSF absorbed these lines, but kept the its unique Brooks 2-8-0s working into the late 1940s. It quit running to Crown King in 1926, but ran to Mayer until 1959 and to the smelter in Humboldt until 1962. Today Crown King, like many old mining towns is a beautiful vacation hamlet. The station is a home, and the town has a little store and a fantastic old saloon. Ghost railroading this line is fun
You proceed down from Mayer to Cleator Store/Bar. Go in and have a beer(no matter what time of day), then post a dollar bill on the ceiling with the moniker "El Coke" written across it, with a marker pen (behind the bar) in big letters. Then proceed up FR 259 to Crown King. On the way you will encounter the switchbacks and even a couple of tunnels. The road is on the grade most of the way. In the last gap into Crown King you will cross over bridge from r.r. days.
Reference material. ...Try "Ghost Railroads of Central Arizona" by John Sayre. It was reprinted several times, and could still be in print. Mayer was the site of another interesting 20" gauge road, the Hackberry and Iron Queen R.R. It had a couple of Porters, and ran from 1890 to about 1915. David Myrick's "Railroads of Arizona, Volume 5 has great coverage of this road. Myrick's last Arizona book is coming and it covers the very interesting railroading in Central Arizona. I will review it when it gets here.
.
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby John Coker » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:23 pm

I can't believe how many people read this post. So I am adding some photos of this unique Southwestern road.
BMRR #53.jpg

Look at this beautiful Brooks product! ALCO had owned this Upstate New York builder for 4 years, but the clean lines, inboard piston valves, squarish domes and futuristic design make it a Brooks.

BMRR map.jpg

Map of this subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary of the ATSF. Note the 10 switchbacks below Crown King.

's store.jpg

Jim Cleator's store at Turkey Creek (later Cleator) Arizona, 1914. Elevation still is 3500 feet .This store is now a little saloon. Be sure to nail you dollar bill with "El Coke' written on it to the wall or ceiling Not drinking beer? They have soft drinks and coffee too!
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby John Coker » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:37 am

Next we go to Middelton (their spelling). The first train arrived here in 1903. Elevation is 3985 feet. This was the location of a trestle, water tank, section house, depot, turntable, ore bins at the bottom of an aerial tramway, which were located at the tail of switchback #1. What makes this station interesting is the railroad facilities, a warehouse for smaller mines and ranchers, and the shipper on the end-of-track.

BMRR Middelton map.jpg

Note the passing siding, house track, and long spur to the ore bins. Lots of switching!

BMRR Middelton.jpg

A nice overview of Middelton, showing all the mentioned features. The ore bins for De Soto copper mine's tramway are obscured, but looked similar to the Cerro Gordo tipple at Keeler, California.The last train left this station in 1932.

BMRR Middelton switchback.jpg

Here is another nice photo of a train negotiating the first switchback.

Middelton and Crown King have great potential for modeling either the prototype or as a freelance railroad. As you will see, the Bradshaw Mountain RR was standard in gauge only. I am taking this from books, and maybe that isn't legal, but I want to expose more information about this obscure railroad to this group. I do highly recommend that you look for John Sayre's Ghost Railroads of Central Arizona and Myrick's Railroads of Arizona Volume 5. Please inquire at www.karensbooks.com first (you would think I owns stock in this online bookstore but the owner is an old friend). I am busy getting ready for winter in the Southern Rockies, a bunch of stuff to fix, and a commission to do, but plan to add more photos as I have time to do so, so please be patient and stay tuned.
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby elminero67 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:30 pm

Good stuff-the Bradshaws are full of old mines, roads and historic sitesm and as John mentioned the Bradshaw Mountain Railroad pushed the limits of what standard gauge railroads were intended. Great day trip up from Phoenix if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
Ironically I've been putting the finishing touches on an article for another railroad near Mayer that interchanged with the Bradshaw Mountain Railroad, the 20" Hackberry Railroad. Any chance you have any info on the interchange, a small siding optimistically called Arizona City (Less romatically known as Bogg's Smelter)?
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby John Coker » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:19 pm

EM- Here are two maps of the Hackberry RR. Click the picture for enlargement.

Hackberry RR Map-basic.jpg

This first one is basic-for clarity.

Hackberry RR Map-1973 USGS.jpg

This one shows the basic map superimposed on a USGS 1973 aerial photo.
Garrie Tufford furnished this info some years ago, Garrie was quite a raconteur, loquacious and very smart. He had extensive material of all kinds of tramways, and the 20" gauge Hackberry tramway was a magnificent obsession. I haven't heard from him in a while- he might have picked up his last orders West.
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby elminero67 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:29 pm

Thanks John-that is very helpful. Garrrie does(did? I havent spoke to him in years either) great research and was able to visit the area before it was developed: The area labelled as Boggs smelter on Garrie's maps has been excavated for a gravel pit while the area north of the highway has been turned into 10 acre "ranchettes." I drove around the "ranchette" neighborhood for a while trying to identify a RR grade. I think one ol' boy was about to call the sherriff (or get his 30-06) if I scoped out his house one more time. The tailings to the Iron Queen and Boggs mines are still evident, but not much else. The ROW south of the smelter is still intact and makes for a nice, albeit short, walk to the Hackberry Mine.

Here is a pic of the ROW as of last week:
Image
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby Solomani » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:09 pm

A right of way made when labor was relatively cheap. There was a lot of work in making that stone retaining wall.

-John
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby elminero67 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:58 am

Good point-it is a well built grade for such a small railroad, but could only have been done when labor was affordable. It has been a while since Ive been on the Bradshaw Mountain grade by Crown King, but I dont recall seeing dry stacked retaining walls on that grade.
The Poland branch of the Bradshaw Mountain RR is not as steep or rugged as the Crown King section, but had some interesting architecture i.e. stamp mill and a turntable on a (vey small) trestle.

Here is a link to a digital archive that has some good pics of the area:

http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/searc ... tle/ad/asc

as a footnote, I suspect tha Garrie Tufford was so enthusiastic about the Hackberry as he stumbled accross a small colection of photographs on that line that have not been published. Photographs of these little desert narrow gauges are exceedingly rare-Prior to that I believe only one photograph (of the Porter on a trestle) of the Hackberry has been identified or published. That photograph can be found in the digital archive posted above.
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Re: Arizona's incredible Bradshaw Mountain Railway

Postby elminero67 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:50 pm

here is a beautiful period map of the line from Mayer to Crown King;


http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/singl ... 189/rec/21
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Hackberry RR -then and now

Postby John Coker » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:28 am

Here is a page that Garrie Tufford sent me years ago.
Hackberry- Tufford.jpg
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