From Lordsburg we headed northeast to the Hurley and Silver City area. This is a copper mining district where the Southwestern Railroad operates over former AT&SF track.
1. Southwestern Railroad - Western division - Layout.
2. The former AT&SF depot at Hurley used to be home base for local AT&SF crews. I suppose the main base now is Deming. Southwestern RR depot. Hurley NM.
3. Looking north from the depot at the small yard and wye. Southwestern RR yard. Hurley NM.
4. Improvements are underway. The tank cars are probably for sulfuric acid. Southwestern RR yard. Hurley NM.
5. Sand tower from Santa Fe days. Southwestern RR terminal. Hurley NM.
6. Southwestern RR 29 and 9710. AT&SF used RSD-5s, SD39s and U23Cs on this line. Hurley NM.
7. GP30 29 is former Phelps-Dodge, and it is still in P-D paint. I’m not sure which mine it was used at. P-D operated Tyrone in this district and Morenci AZ to the west in Arizona. Southwestern RR GP30 29. Hurley NM.
8. Southwestern RR GP30 29 closeup. Hurley NM.
9. Southwestern RR GP40 9710 is ex-CSX, SBD, SCL, nee-ACL. Hurley NM.
10. Tank cars are stored on the wye that used to serve the Kennecott smelter. Southwestern RR terminal. Hurley NM.
11. Looking south toward the Hurley depot. Southwestern RR terminal. Hurley NM.
12. Main line of the AT&SF Deming Dist. from Whitewater to Silver City was abandoned years ago. Rand McNally railroad map. Click here to view a larger map image.
13. I don’t know the type of steam locos AT&SF used on this line. It had to be something powerful because of the very steep grade on the Santa Rita and Fierro branches. AT&SF Deming Dist 1942. Click here to view larger image.
14. This map is in the First Quarter 2010 issue of The Warbonnet, The Official Magazine of the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society. The 14-page article on the Santa Rita District is an excellent account of operations in the 1970s. The frequent mine-to-smelter shuttles ended in 1982 when Kennecott decided to move concentrated ore from the mine to the smelter through a slurry pipeline. Santa Rita Dist map. Click here to view a slightly larger image.
15. This is a segment of the 1972 employee timetable also came from the article. Santa Rita District employee timetable. Click here to view a larger image.
16. Former AT&SF depot at Bayard NM, looking north.
17. ex-AT&SF depot. View 2. Bayard NM.
18. Looking south toward Hurley. ex-AT&SF depot. Bayard NM.
19. Looking northeast from Bayard at the outcrop of the Chino operations of Freeport-McMoRon Inc. Chino Mine outcrop near Bayard NM.
20. Bridge on inactive Southwestern RR just north of Bayard NM.
21. Another Southwestern RR bridge on the former AT&SF Santa Rita District near Bayard NM.
22. Southwestern RR Hanover Jct. with the community of Cobre and the mine. Hanover Jct NM.
23. At Hanover Jct., the main line of the Santa Rita Dist. led up the steep hill to the interchange with Kennecott Copper’s pit railroad at Santa Rita. The Fierro District branched to the left. Southwestern RR. Hanover Jct NM.
24. Looking south (eastward) on the Santa Rita Dist. toward Bayard, Hurley and Deming. Southwestern RR. Hanover Jct NM.
25. Colorado Fuel & Iron rail rolled in 1934. ex-AT&SF 112 lb rail.
26. I saw tank cars at the Tyrone Mine. Southwestern RR Quick Guide.
27. Chino mine head frame of a copper deep mine near Hanover NM.
28. Former AT&SF Fierro District near Hanover. The ruling grade is 3%. Southwestern RR near Hanover NM.
29. At Hanover we turn east off NM 356 onto NM 152 to check out the Chino (aka Santa Rita) open pit copper mine overlook. Freeport-MaMoRon has built this overpass for their big end-dumps to access a new area. This truck appears to be heading north toward Fierro empty, so presumably it comes back south with ore. Chino Mine haul road. Hanover NM.
30. Chino Mine pit near Hanover NM.
31. The overlook was closed because the edge is breaking off into a haul road. However I climbed the slope above the road and took this. Look at Google Maps to see the enormity of this open pit mine. Chino Mine pit near Hanover NM.
32. Chino Mine pit near Hanover NM.
33. I bought this postcard in Silver City. Like Ruth NV, Bingham UT and Ray AZ, Santa Rita NM was absorbed by the expanding copper mine. Santa Rita mine postcard.
34. Kennecott Copper used electric locomotives for their pit haulage until at least the mid-60s. KCC copper mine. Santa Rita NM.
35. KCC copper mine. Another view. Santa Rita NM.
36. KCC copper mine. Santa Rita NM.
37. KCC Santa Rita. Copper pit 1940s.
38. KCC Santa Rita. Copper pit 1964.
39. This is Empire Zinc Company’s shaft. There was a major labor struggle here in 1950 over higher wages paid to Anglos than Hispanics for the same type of work. You can check out the history of Hanover on the web. Empire Zinc Co head frame. Hanover NM.
40. Looks like the tipple site. Empire Zinc mine site. Hanover NM.
41. Above the tipple site was this unloading ramp. Empire Zinc mine site. Hanover NM.
42. Looking south (eastward) toward Hurley. Southwestern RR siding Empire Zinc. Hanover NM.
43. According to a website the “federal building” was formerly the depot. AT&SF mixed trains 53 and 54 made scheduled stops at Hanover in 1942. U S Post Office. Hanover NM.
44. From Fierro looking at a haul road with end-dumps struggling south toward the Chino plant. Chino Mine haul road. Hanover NM.
45. Looking south at Fierro. The railroad continued on up a gulch, but it was an active mine site. Fierro is largely a ghost town, reminiscent of declining camps in the Appalachian coal fields. Southwestern RR. Fierro NM.
46. The KCC smelter at Hurley in the 1960s. Santa Fe operated a shuttle train between the mine and the plant. This is a dumper job used on all three shifts. smelter. Hurley NM.
47. The smelter is gone, but the Hurley post office is still an active location. KCC smoke stack. 1960s. Hurley NM.
48. Chino Copper concentrator. Hurley NM. 1924.
49. Southwestern RR depot. Hurley NM.
50. Looking north (westward) toward Hurley depot. 05-01-2019. Southwestern RR depot. Hurley NM.
We headed through Silver City and over to Clifton AZ, another copper citadel.