Tucson to Deming

At Tucson, 36th Street (MP 987.7), where the speed limit is 45-40 and there are two extra tracks on the south side, the SP "North Line" once continued southeast, but today's Two Main Track, CTC, main line turns south to cut over to the erstwhile EP&SW right-of-way once known as the "South Line", turning southeast at South Line Junction to take up that EP&SW right-of-way, with speed limit 79-70 and a spur heading away to the south, passing a wide road bridge overhead, a grade crossing, a grade crossing just west of Intermediate Signals at MP 989.7, MP 990, a bridge over an arroyo, a highway alongside to the southwest, a detector and Intermediate Signals at MP 991.5, MP 992, a road bridge overhead, Intermediate Signals at MP 993.5, a grade crossing, signaled extra track on the southwest side, Wilmot (MP 994.8), where a spur from Davis-Monthan Air Base trails in from the north, a road bridge overhead, MP 995, Intermediate Signals at MP 995.7, MP 996, Rita, a spur heading away to the south, Intermediate Signals at MP 997.5, a grade crossing with a divided street, and detectors at MP 997.9.

The split between the two eastward tracks, the original SP (now "Track 2") down in the curving valley of the local watercourse, and the former EP&SW (now "Track 1") up on the level ground, is just east of a road bridge overhead at the signals Vail Crossovers (MP 1000.0), where the ex-SP "North Line" once trailed in from the north. At this point, Track 1 is the more southerly of the two lines, both of which are still heading southeast. Track 2 passes Vail (MP 1003.5) as it descends into a cut with a speed limit of 35 mph, while track 1, on the plain above, passes Intermediate Signals at MP 1003.7, a grade crossing, Empire, two bridges over arroyos, Intermediate Signals at MP 1007.3, and a bridge over an arroyo.

At Cienega Creek, in a nature reserve, the upper track (Track 1) turns northeast, also with speed limit 35 mph, and crosses the lower track (Track 2) and the creek on a steel trestle, followed by an embankment that strides northeast across the desert, and then a cutting, a curve further northeast, and a dirt rod grade crossing, before the line turns southeast again to pass a bridge over a dirt road, Intermediate Signals at MP 1011, a dirt road grade crossing, track 2 visible to the southwest, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a culvert, Intermediate Signals at MP 1014.7, Marsh, where there is a spur o the north side, a cutting, a bridge over a culvert, a detector (box on the southwest side) at MP 1016.4, embankment with track 2 visible to the west, and Catalina, before turning east in a cutting, with track 2 just to the south, past two bridge over arroyos, track 2 visible to the south, and two more bridges over arroyos, to the 4,063 ft. summit at Mescal (MP 1023.3).

Track 2, where the speed limit falls to 28-25, twists back and forth past a detector at MP 1012.5, Irene, Pantaro, and Buell, where it turns south and then makes a counter-clockwise horseshoe back to the north, with a detector at MP 1017.5, with part of the line on an embankment and just one bridge over a dirt road on this whole stretch, and then turns east past Amole to Mescal (MP 1023.3). At Mescal, all the onetime railroad artifacts (semaphores, water tank, coaling station, etc.) are now gone, with only the minimal number of modern signals present. The former EP&SW "South Line" once turned away southeast, and then south, at this location.

East of Mescal, where there are crossovers as the tracks come back together, and a dirt road grade crossing, and through Benson to Cochise, where once there was only a single track, there is now double track (operated as Two Main Tracks, CTC, not as direction of traffic single lines in each direction). The original SP "North Line" continues east, with speed limits 60-55, past a grade crossing at MP 1023.6, a bridge over drainage, Intermediate Signals at MP 1025.3, a bridge over drainage, detectors at MP 1025.9, a bridge over drainage, crossovers at Chamiso (MP 1029.3), a cutting, detectors at MP 1030.7, as the line turns southeast, beneath dual road bridges overhead, and then curves around east again, descending past a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, and a grade crossing just west of the shack, to Benson (MP 1032.6), where there is a passenger station (shack) on the south side of the line, an old depot on the south side, a grade crossing, and a road alongside to the south, followed by a wye junction in the open country as the main line curves northeast, with the southward San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad, which now operates the former EP&SW line south of Benson Junction, some miles to the south, a bridge over a road, extra track on th south side, a through truss bridge over the San Pedro River, a grade crossing, crossovers at Fenner (MP 1035.0), where the line turns northeast and starts to climb steeply, and the speed limit drops to 45-40, a dirt road grade crossing, detectors and Intermediate Signals at MP 1036.7, where the line turns southeast as cuttings and embankments alternate, a bridge over an arroyo at MP 1037.1, I-10 on the north side, detectors at MP 1038.1, where the line turns south, and a bridge over an arroyo at MP 1038.3.

There are intermediate signals at MP 1039.1, two bridges over gullies, Intermediate Signals at MP 1041.3, extra track on the south side, a grade crossing, a flange greaser on the south side west of MP 1042.25, the line turns east past a bridge over a culvert at MP 1043.0, a bridge over an arroyo just west of the crossovers at Sibyl (MP 1043.6), where the speed limit is 40 mph, there is a bridge over a gulley, and the line turns northeast, north, east and east-northeast, with a bridge over an arroyo, a bridge over a dirt road, and Intermediate Signals at MP 1046.3 in among the curves, past a bridge over a culvert at MP 1046.5, Intermediate Signals at MP 1048.1/2/3/4, just west of MP 1048, where there is a flange greaser on the south side, three bridges over gullies on an embankment, a dirt road grade crossing, crossovers at Tully (MP 1050.3), a flange greaser on the south side, detectors at MP 1051.8, the speed limit rises to 55-50, and Intermediate Signals at MP 1052.7, to Dragoon (MP 1053.5), site of a 4,613 ft. summit, where a branch to Johnson once headed north and there is a west-facing extra track on the north side.

The terrain east of Tucson, and especially between Benson and Dragoon, has become quite mountainous in nature, as it climbs up toward the various summits. The line turns east, past extra tack on the south side, Intermediate Signals and a grade crossing at MP 1053.9, Intermediate Signals at MP 1055.7, and then north-northeast at Mancero (Intermediate Signals at MP 1057.5), past detectors at MP 1059.3, crossovers at Apache (MP 1061.3), AZEX Spur, where a line to the AZEX Cochise Power Plant heads east at a wye, a dirt road grade crossing, extra track (a double-ended spur) on the east side, and Cochise (MP 1065.8), where the two Main Tracks reduce to single track, CTC, and an SP branch to Douglas once headed south-southeast.

The terrain turns into areas of large salt flats and dry lakes, as the line continues northeast, across Wilcox Dry Lake, where there are signs of roadbed construction for the second Main Track on the south side, in August 2007, past a detector at MP 1071.8, Hado, the 8,379 ft. siding on the southeast side, with extra track on the southeast side at Willcox (MP 1072.6-1074.3), where a spur to the Mascot Mine at Dos Pasos once headed east and there is extra track on the south side, a dirt road grade crossing, a detector at MP 1077.0, Drury, where the line turns northeast, Raso (MP 1081.2), a 4,380 ft. summit, where Two Main Tracks begin again (for the westbound ascent that ends at this point) and the line gradually curves east as it descends, with speed limit 65-60, past Intermediate Signals at MP 1085.x, a bridge over a gulley, Intermediate Signals at MP 1088.x, detectors at MP 1088.2, a bridge over a gulley, Intermediate Signals at MP 1090.x and Alrich, a bridge over a gulley, a bridge over a road, and the dual I-10 road bridges overhead, to signals at Luzena (MP 1091.8), the foot of the grade, where there are crossovers and the speed limit rises to 79-70.

The line turns just south of due east, past a detector at MP 1094.0, Cholla, signal bridges and crossovers at West Bowie (MP 1096.7), there is a grade crossing, the depot used to be on the south side, where a road runs alongside through the town, and crossovers (? or Intermediate Signals?) at East Bowie (MP 1098.3), where the Arizona Eastern Railway serving the copper mines at Globe, heads away north at a wye. The second Main Track on the south side was completed, east of East Bowie and west of San Simon, between late August and late October 2007.

There is a hold signal at CP S1100 (MP 1099.6), two bridges over gullies, a detector at MP 1102.6, two bridges over gullies, I-10 runs just beyond a frontage road to the south, Intermediate Signals at MP 1103.1/2/3/4, there are five bridges over gullies, a dirt road grade crossing, a bridge over a gulley, three dirt road grade crossings, three bridges over gullies, crossovers at Olga (or now Karro) (MP 1105.4-1107.0: one is Intermediate Signals and the other is the crossovers), three bridges over gullies within the siding, and detectors at MP 1110.0.

There are Intermediate Signals at MP 1110.1/2/3/4, crossovers at San Simon (MP 1112.5), a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 1114, a grade crossing, a bridge over drainage, detectors at MP 1119.0, crossovers at Vanar (MP 1120.8), I-10 alongside to the east/south, and crossovers at Cavot (MP 1126.2), where the speed limit falls to 45-40 and the line crosses from Arizona into New Mexico, curving around and then turning southeast, south, and northeast again, and a dirt road grade crossing, a short double-ended spur on the south side and an extra track on the north side, just west of the crossovers at Steins (MP 1129.7), where the speed limit is 55-50, with detectors at MP 1131.9, as the line turns northeast, and I-10 alongside to the southeast.

There are Intermediate Signals at MP 1133.x, crossovers at Mondel (MP 1134.6), or now Alkali Flats, where the speed limit becomes 79-70,, and the line passes three bridges over drainage, Intermediate Signals at MP 1138.x, an extra track on the north side at Gary (MP 1140.6 to 1142.3), where there is the former location of a detector at MP 1140.8, Intermediate Signals and a bridge over drainage before turning east into Lordsburg, where a former SP line to Hachita, on the EP&SW  running some way to the south, once headed southeast, the ex-SP "Clifton Branch" (serving the Morenci copper mines) trails in from the west-northwest, with an extra track on the north side of the main line plus two extra tracks beyond it, that then become four before trailing in to the main line at the crossovers, the speed limit is 60 mph, there is a bridge over a street below, a street alongside to the south with buildings on the south side only, a passenger station on the south side of the line, where the depot has been replaced by an Amshack,  crossovers at MP 1147.6 and Intermediate Signals at MP 1149.7.

The evidence of roadbed grading on the south side of the line east of Lordsburg, in July, 2006, has become Two Main Tracks by June, 2007. The line continues east-southeast, and the speed limit rises to 79-70, with I-10 alongside to the south, past a dirt road grade crossing, detectors and Intermediate Signals at MP 1152.0, crossovers? at Ulmorris (MP 1152.3), Intermediate Signals at 1153.9, where the line turns southeast, detectors at MP 1156.3, a bridge over a gulley, Intermediate Signals at MP 1157.2, a bridge over a gulley, crossovers at Lisbon (MP 1158.6), with extra track on the north and south sides, Intermediate Signals at MP1160.0, a dirt road grade crossing, seven bridges over gullies, Intermediate Signals at MP 1163.4, a detector at MP 1165.0, Intermediate Signals, two bridges over gullies, Intermediate Signals, and two bridges over gullies, signals and crossovers at Separ (or now Barrow Pit) (MP 1166.3), with extra track on both sides, a bridge over a gulley, a grade crossing and Intermediate Signals at (MP 1167.8).

The line turns just north of east at Hidalgo (MP 1171.4), where a long Phelps-Dodge branch from the Hidalgo Smelter trails in and there are crossovers, with three extra tracks on the south side trailing in at MP 1172.7, with I-10 alongside to the south, passing Ladim, a detector at MP 1174.3, Intermediate Signals at MP 1174.6, extra track on the south side at the former location of Wilna (MP 1176.3-1177.9), before crossing the Continental Divide, which is virtually unnoticeable at this point, a dirt road grade crossing, and crossovers at County Line (MP 1180.x). There is a detector at MP 1181.2, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 1183.1/2/3/4, just west of the detectors at MP 1182.9, and Intermediate Signals 1184.x, high speed crossovers and a double-ended spur on the south side at Gage (MP 1186.1), Intermediate Signals at MP 1188.x, a grade crossing, a bridge over a gulley, MP 1189, crossovers at MP 1189.x, Intermediate Signals at MP 1191.x, a detector at MP 1192.2, Intermediate Signals at MP 1192.x, detectors at MP 1193.3, just west of the grade crossing at SR 418, Mongola, a dirt road grade crossing, a double-ended spur and two extra tracks on the south side extending from West Tunis (MP 1195.x) to Tunis (MP 1196.x), a signal bridge at MP 1199.x, a bridge over an arroyo, Intermediate Signals at MP 1201.1/2/3/4, detectors at MP 1202.2, a bridge over an arroyo, a dirt road grade crossing to a ranch on the north side, Intermediate Signals, a dirt road grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at MP 1204.x, and a hold signal at CP S1207 (MP 1207.2).

On the west side of Deming, the Southwestern Railroad line from Whitewater, and branches beyond that, trails in from the northwest, and an erstwhile EP&SW line from Hermanns, on the EP&SW main line just north of the Mexican Border, once trailed in from the south-southwest. There is a bridge over a divided highway, crossovers (MP 1207.x), where the connection to the former Santa Fe line departs on the north side, MP 1208, a grade crossing at Berg Street (MP 1208.2) and a passenger station on the north side of the line at Deming (MP 1208.x), between the ex-SP and four ex-Santa Fe tracks there, with two residual yard tracks and connecting tracks east of that location. The ex-Santa Fe line heads away east-northeast at the east end of Deming (although its connection with the former SP line is west of the location of the depot).