Railfanning Deep in the Desert at the Arizona Railway Museum

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Railroad history runs deep in Arizona and nowhere is that more apparent that at the Arizona Railway Museum.

Since 1983, the museum has preserved and interpreted the state’s railroad history. In 2006, the museum moved to its current location at the southwestern edge of Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix.

Two items in its collection are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. They are Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive No. SP 2562 (and Tender No. 8365) and Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car.

The museum boasts an impressive collection of locomotives and rolling stock, including a pair of items on the National Register of Historic Places. They are Southern Pacific Railroad No. 2562 (and Tender No. 8365) and Railroad Steam Wrecking Crane and Tool Car.

What’s particularly interesting about this museum is the extensive collection of freight cars on display. They include a three-dome tank car (G.R.Y.X. No. 799) built in 1938 for the W. R. Grace Co. and a single-dome tank car with riveted tank body build in 1942 for Southern Pacific.

Among the museum’s many highlights are:

  • Southern Pacific Railroad No. 2562: Baldwin Locomotive Co. built this 2-8-0 in 1906 for the Southern Pacific. In August 1956, the railroad donated the engine to the city of Chandler, which placed it on display at the train station; it was moved to Armstrong Park in 1969. Since 1984, when it was placed on the Arizona State Historical Register, members of the Arizona Railway Museum have maintained the locomotive. No. 2562 moved to its current location in July 2006.
  • Magma Railroad No. 10: Baldwin built this DRS 6-6-1500 in 1950 for the McCloud River Railroad, where it operated as No. 29. Magma purchased the engine in 1969, and it served the railroad from 1970 until 1991. The company donated it to the museum in 1994.
  • Southern Pacific Railroad (SPMW) Nos. 7130 and 7131: Bay City Industrial Works built No. 7130, an oil-burning, steam-driven, non-self-propelled railroad wreck crane, in 1910 for the Southern Pacific. It was renumbered No. 7130 in 1969 and remained in service until 1989. Meanwhile, American Car and Foundry Co. built No. 7131, an auxiliary tool car, in 1949 for the Southern Pacific. The car features custom-made compartments to carry tools, equipment and supplies. The museum acquired both cars in 1989.
  • Chicago & Northwestern No. 5022 B: General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division (EMD) built this E8 in 1950 for use ferrying suburban commuters to and from Chicago. It later served Metra as No. 519 and retired from commuter service in 1991. The locomotive moved to the museum in 2006.

For more information, visit azrymuseum.org.

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 272 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.