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Arizona \ Arizona Narrow Gauge Railroad

Arizona Narrow Gauge Railroad.

By Randy Hees

P roposed to connect the Denver & Rio Grande with Tucson and on to the Gulf of California by a group of businessmen from Tuscon, lead by William H. Culver. The Arizona Narrow Gauge Rialroad was organized and incorporated in 1882 and recieved approval by the state legistlature on Feburary 16, 1883. Construction began on July 6, 1883 starting at the Southern Pacific depot in Tucson, northward along what is today Fairview Ave to a crossing of the Rillito Wash. A taxpayers' suit regarding bonds sold by the railroad to the county halted construction in 1884. Construction would not resume until 1886 when county superviors ordered interest payments to resume on May 4, 1886.

Construction resumed on June 1st, and soon work began on a 386 foot long bridge across Rillito wash. On July 24th, to celebrate the completion of the bridge, a excursion was run over the entire 6 mile length of the line. Work continued through August and by September, 10 miles of track were in place, with an additional 30 miles of grade completed towards it's goals of Oracle and Globe. Despite the progress, a downpour destroyed the Rillito wash bridge in September 1887 and construction was again halted.

In November 1887 the company reorganized and its name changed to the Tucson Globe and Northern Railroad, proposing conversion to standard gauge with an extension to meet the Denver & Rio Grande at Espanola, New Mexico. The rails were removed and equipment sold in 1894. The railroad was in part financed by Arizona Territoral and Pima County Bonds. Litigation over those bonds continued long after the railroad was gone, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court on four separate occasions before the bonds were finally retired in 1953.

Revised: December 28, 2015
Hilton, George W. (1990). American Narrow Gauge Railroads. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2369-9.
Myrick, David (1975). Railroads of Arizona, Vol 1. Howell North: Berkeley California.
Myrick, David (1975). Railroads of Arizona, Vol 3. Howell North: Berkeley California.
Hubbard, Howard A. "A Chapter in Early Arizona Transportation History: The Arizona Narrow Gauge Railroad Company." University of Arizona Bulletin Vol V, No 3, Social Science Bulletin No 6 (April 1, 1934).

Reference Material Available Online:

Equipment Roster.

Arizona Narrow Gauge Railroad Equipment Roster - Compiled by Randy Hees.


Prospectus of the Tuscon, Globe and Northern Railroad Company of Arizona. Google Books Icon

Arizona \ Arizona Narrow Gauge Railroad
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