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Southbound out of Holbrook Arizona - C420-C424-C420-C424: What a great sound it wasWork took me to Arizona in June 2005. Thanks to the schedule I had a day off so I drove to Snowflake Arizona to see what was happening on the Apache Railway. The Apache was an all Alco operation hauling traffic from the mill at Snowflake to the BNSF interchange at Holbrook. They operated a fleet of RS11 and RS36 (since retired) along with C420 and C424 (ex CP), all kept in excellent condition by the shop forces. How could an Alcophile not pay a visit? I arrived at the shop complex in Snowflake just as the dayshift ended. Unfortunately that meant that there was no one to give me a tour of the shops. However the lady in the office said I was free to photograph things from the road that ran along the tracks. This was fine as there was plenty to shoot there. The mortal remains of an ex SP RS11 behind the shops
RS36 700, 900 and 800 hanging out on the dead line beside the road
Snowbird Canadians hide in the shop
Drop bottom gondola. Ex?
Alco engine blocks, trucks and RS32 right by the road
Turn of the 20th century tank cars on archbar trucks? Check.
Fallen flag woodchip cars were common in Snowflake. NP, GN, WP, BN and others were everywhereI asked if anything was running, and she said there should be a southbound out of Holbrook later in the afternoon. I decided it was worth taking a drive up to Holbrook to see what I could get. I arrived at Holbrook to find the Apache was switching the interchange, which was backlit. After a few photos I elected to set up on the south end of the interchange to wait for the train to head out.
In relative short order the train was ready to depart, and the chase was on. I hopscotched the train from Holbrook south, shooting it at various locations along the way. There were many photogenic locations to choose from, and the clean green and white paint scheme was very eye catching.
The light was failing and the track went away from the main road. I started off along one of the side roads but large signs warning of a disease outbreak (I want to say plague or similar but my memory fails me here) and saying non-essential travel in the area was prohibited stopped me from following the train further.All in all it was a well spent few hours with the Apache. The mill in Snowflake shut down in 2012, but the railway still operates today after it was purchased by local interests to keep the line from being scrapped. It survives on car storage and car repair today. It is one of the few all Alco operations that you can still find today. It is worth a visit.
This article first appeared on ageologistchasingtrains.blogspot.com
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