1. Almost to the top of the mountain after negotiating a couple of hairpin turns, we look down on Clifton AZ from US 191. 05-01-2019.
2. Swinging my camera to the left, we see one of Freeport-McMoRan’s buildings and a hairpin curve on US 191. F-M plant. Morenci AZ.
3. We drove on up the mountain past the town and the plant to the pit overlook. F-M mine overlook near Morenci AZ.
4. F-M copper mine. Morenci AZ.
5. F-M copper mine. View 2. Morenci AZ.
6. Note the leaching beds on the waste dump. F-M copper mine. View 3. Morenci AZ.
7. F-M copper mine. View 4. Morenci AZ.
8. F-M copper mine. View 5. Morenci AZ.
9. F-M copper mine. View 6. Morenci AZ.
10. No pit railroad here anymore. F-M copper mine. View 7. Morenci AZ.
11. F-M copper mine. View 8. Morenci AZ.
12. These terraces were made decades ago at the beginning of open pit mining around Morenci. F-M copper mine. View 9. Morenci AZ.
13. Going back down the mountain is this tunnel on US 191. Near Morenci AZ.
14. F-M mill. Morenci AZ.
15. F-M conveyors bring the ore from the mine to the plant. There is a steady loud roar! Morenci AZ.
16. F-M mill. View 2. Morenci AZ.
17. Look at this operation on Google Earth...it’s massive! F-M mill. View 3. Morenci AZ.
18. Locomotives!! They weren’t here when we drove up. Part of Morenci is in the background. The brick building is a F-M office. I’m shooting out the car window while stopped on US 191. We’re looking at one of the busy gates to the plant. F-M 59-56-50. Morenci AZ.
19. I hastily took these from the busy plant road. GP38 50 was acquired new by previous owner Phelps-Dodge in 1967. F-M 50. Morenci AZ.
20. I don’t know the history of F-M 59. F-M 56 is a GP38-2 acquired new by P-D in 1976. I didn’t even get the number of the fourth unit! Morenci AZ.
21. F-M 50- ? –56-59. Google Earth reveals several sidings, yards and a shop. The trackage within the plant is extensive, but there appears to be locations where the line can be photographed outside the plant on its roundabout steep descent down the mountain to Clifton. From Google there appears to be more engines than these four. Morenci AZ.
22. The Douglas Branch is completely gone at Bisbee and Douglas. This was the old El Paso & Southwestern main line. SP Western Region TimeTable 4 Clifton Br.
23. Heading south out of town on US 191, I saw these engines out of the corner of my eye. This is South Siding Yard and appears to be the local base of operations. AZER 4001-4009. South Siding AZ.
24. AZER 4001-4009. View 2. South Siding AZ.
25. AZER 4001-4009 are B40-8s presumably from the UP nee-SP. View 3. South Siding AZ.
26. AZER 4009-4001. View 4. South Siding AZ.
27. I heard engines idling and looked to the north. A dimmed headlight revealed a train. It wasn’t moving, so we drove down the dusty access road to check it out. AZER 4000-2322-4003-4011 were parked with a train. The SP timetable special instructions reveal that the grade was very steep both directions from South Siding, and speed limits reinforce that. Perhaps G&W’s choice of B39 and B40 units with extended range high capacity dynamic brakes was predicated by the steep grades between Guthrie and Clifton. South Siding AZ.
28. AZER 4000-2322-4003-4011. View 2. South Siding AZ.
29. I figured the train would be parked at the yard, after all that would be closer to the blue port-a-john! AZER 4001-4009. View 3. South Siding AZ.
30. Watch out for snakes! AZER 4000-2322-4003-4011. View 4. South Siding AZ.
31. AZER 4011-4003-2322-4000. View 5. South Siding AZ.
32. AZER 2322 is listed as a B39-8, but with that number one would think it was a B23-8. AZER 2322-4000. South Siding AZ.
I’ve read the Images of America book Clifton And Morenci Mining District (2015) by Robert Chilicky and Gerald Hunt. I’ve acquired Railroads of Arizona Vol. lll (1984) by David Myrick recently, but have not started reading it. I can tell you that practically all of this book is devoted to the Clifton-Morenci area, and well it should with all the baby gauge, narrow gauge, dual gauge railroads, inclines, loops, bridges, tunnels, smelters, and mines that make the Clifton and Morenci area fascinating. Myrick always includes many detailed maps.
All for now.