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Tucson Streetcar plus Depots and more 1/29/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I got up and went to a McDonald's that was open to have a sit-down breakfast. We then drove to the Convento and Congress station of Sun Link and parked. A few minutes later, we saw our first Tucson Streetcar that we would ride.

The car arrived at Avenida del Convento station. Sun Link, also known as the Tucson Streetcar, is a single-line streetcar system in Tucson, Arizona, that began service in July 2014. The system's 3.9-mile route connects the Arizona Health Sciences Center (including University Medical Center), the University of Arizona campus, the Main Gate and 4th Avenue shopping and entertainment districts, downtown Tucson, the Tucson Convention Center, and the Mercado District under development west of Interstate 10. The streetcar project's overall cost of $196 million was met through a combination of local funding sources and federal grants. The streetcar shares a common payment system with the Sun Tran regional bus service. Tucson Streetcar is currently free due to the pandemic situation in Arizona. We rode east to the Helen Street station where we detrained for pictures.

The Tucson Streetcar at Helen Street. One side of this car was wrapped and the other side was not, so most of my pictures were taken on the unwrapped side on the way back to where we started.

An interesting sculpture at the Helen Street station. Now sit back and enjoy a trip back through the University of Arizona and then downtown Tucson on Sun Link.

A trip aboard the Tucson Streetcar. The car returned to where we started at Avenida del Convento and I detrained for more pictures.

The Tucson Streetcar at the west end of the line. From here we drove east to the El Paso and Southwestern Tucson station.

The 1912 El Paso and Southwestern station in Tucson.

The railroad emblem is displayed proudly on the building.

The interior of this unique station.

The Arizona Historical Society plaque on the side of the station. Next we went to the Southern Pacific station in town.

The 1907 Southern Pacific station which is also the Amtrak station in Tucson.

The murals and the dispatching board in the waiting room.

Out in front, there is a semaphore signal.

Southern Pacific 2-6-0 1673 was very difficult to photograph because the Southern Pacific Transportation Museum was closed and the gates were locked.

Part of the present maintenance facility of the Tucson Streetcar. We left here and headed out toward Patagonia.

On the way there, I photographed Mount Wrightson. We continued on to Patagonia.

The 1904 Southern Pacific station which is now City Hall and the courthouse in Patagonia.

The plaque on the building.

Mining cars on display.

The train order semaphore signal on display.

The train order semaphore story.

The display boards in front of the depot. We continued our adventure.

On the way to Tombstone.

The 1903 Southern Pacific station. It was donated to the City of Tombstone by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1961 who turned it into the first permanent home of the Tombstone City Library. Local school children named the new library "The Reading Station".

Elizabeth and the Southern Pacific station in Tombstone.

This boxcar is going to be used for a planned museum.

Southern Pacific caboose 1057 sits on original rails from the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad in Fairbank in 1903.

Unknown Southern Pacific caboose.


The beautiful clouds on the way to Douglas. We stopped at Subway for a sit-down lunch and gassed up the car.

The 1905 El Paso and Southwestern freight house in Douglas which is now the YMCA.

The historical plaque on the building.

The El Paso and Southwestern passenger station built in 1913 which is now the police department.

The fabulous artwork of the El Paso and Southwestern on the building. To the east of this building there is a mining railroad display which is very impressive.

Calcine tank car from the Douglas Reduction Works.

The descriptive plaque of that car.

A dinkey motor from Bisbee's Sacramento Pit transferred to Phelps Dodge in Douglas.

The descriptive plaque of that locomotive.

Calcine motor of Copper Queen Reduction Works in Bisbee, later used in Douglas.

The descriptive plaque of the motor.

Baldwin Electric Trolley Motor used in the Jerome-Clarkdale mining operation and later transferred to Douglas Reduction Works.

The descriptive plaque of the motor. Next we drove north to Willcox.

The 1884 Southern Pacific station in Willcox, now the city hall.

The plaque on the building.

The Southern Pacific train indicator signals on display.

The way you pay your bills in the City of Willcox.

Mascot and Western Railroad combine in Willcox. The railroad ran from Willcox eastward to the mining town of Dos Cabezas, where it served the Mascot mines. The mine never really made a big go of it when compared to places such as Morenci and Ray, and now is a ghost town. The railroad was abandoned in 1932 with the rails pulled up the following year. According to Railroads of Arizona, Volume 1, the coach was bought second hand. After abandonment, it became a residence near the Southern Pacific tracks then ended up being a storage shed on a farm near the Airport on Taylor Road west of town. The coach body was recovered in the late 1990's from the farm and was taken to downtown Willcox where it was restored to the condition it is in now. Information from From here we drove to the Apache Nitrogen Products Plant in St. David.

Apache Powder Company 36" gauge 0-4-0F 3. Apache Nitrogen Products, formerly Apache Powder Company, began in 1920 as a manufacturer of black-powder-based explosives for the mining industry. We then drove into Benson.

San Pedro and Southwestern caboose 1 lettered for Southern Pacific.

The replica Southern Pacific station in Benson built in the mid 1990's.

The dedication plaque on the building. From here we checked in to the Copper Stay Inn and went to Denny's for dinner, then wrote this story before calling it a night.