After leaving Superior AZ, and stopping by the Ray copper mine overlook, we proceeded on to Hayden to find out what the Copper Basin Railway was doing.
I obtained much information from at two part article on DRGW.Net by Nathan Holmes. The article comes from 2004, but practically all of the info is still current. The article in Trains from April 2018 is very helpful also.
1. This map came from the DRGW.Net article. We didn’t do anything from Ray Jct. west to Magma Jct. Click here for a larger map image.
2. This caboose on display in Kearney is supposedly ex-Copper Basin Ry., but I can’t confirm. CBRY cab. Kearny AZ.
3. CBRY cab. View 2. Kearny AZ.
4. Building A Railroad plaque. Click here for a larger map image. Kearny AZ.
5. CBRY 403-208 parked on the east side of the locomotive/car shop at Hayden Jct. I signed a release at the dispatcher’s office which allowed me to shoot from the parking areas but not go any farther than this. No. 403 is an ex-Kennecott Copper GP39-2 that was inherited from the previous owner of the mine. ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Co.) now owns the mine and the railroad. 208 is an ex-BN, nee-CB&Q GP9. Hayden Jct AZ.
6. CBRY 501 is an ex-Kennecott Copper GP39-2. 304 is an ex-HLCX, nee-SSW GP40-2. 402 is an ex-KCC GP39. I obtained roster info from The Diesel Shop website. CBRY numbering system is confusing. This lashup will be handling the “Unit” or “Acid Train” later in the afternoon. CBRY 501-304-402. Hayden Jct AZ.
7. CBRY gon 341067 has a load limit of 181,800. It was built for Southern Pacific (previous owners of the line) and used to haul ore concentrate. I think it was built in 1972. AT&SF had similar, if not identical, cars. Hayden Jct AZ.
8. Sue was very tired, so we checked into a motel in Kearney. The OT-1 westbound ore train was called for 4:20 PM and the “acid” or “unit” train for 5:40 PM. Here it rolls west through Kearney behind 502-401-301. There is now only OT-1 daily, but it operates in each direction, with different crews and several times. I think they make 3-4 round trips – approx. 16 miles each way – from Ray Mine to the Hayden dumper. Several years ago CBRY operated an OT-2. CBRY 502-401-301. Kearny AZ.
9. These guys don’t poke around. The speed limit from Hayden Jct. to Ray Jct. is 30 MPH. CBRY 502-401-301. View 2. Kearny AZ.
10. CBRY 1526 hopper has air-activated (I think) doors. Most of these cars came from Kennecott Copper. Kearny AZ.
11. CBRY 1252 hopper has a capacity of 1720 cubic feet. They were always moving, so I didn’t see when they were built. Kearny AZ.
12. CBRY 1252 hopper. View 2. Kearny AZ.
13. I think CBRY 1237 hopper was built in 2013. Kearny AZ.
14. OT-1 west approaches Ray Jct. AZ. CBRY 502. Ray Jct AZ.
15. CBRY 502. View 2. Ray Jct AZ.
16. Now on the Ray Branch OT-1 faces a steep grade up to the mine. CBRY 502-401-301. Ray Jct AZ.
17. On the left is the line west to the connection with UP at Magma Jct. CBRY 502. Ray Jct AZ.
18. In the Kennecott days I’m not sure how this operation was handled. KCC had three GP39 and 39-2s (nos. 1-3) and a couple more that probably came from Utah. Presumably KCC handled the ore and concentrate, and SP came to Ray Jct. from Magma Jct. to set off and pick up everything else. I’ve seen a photo of KCC 1-2-3 at Hayden Jct. CBRY 502. Ray Jct AZ.
19. This Brownhoist crane was formerly Kennecott Copper. CBRY crane. Ray Jct AZ.
20. OT-1 grinds up grade on the Ray Branch at Kelvin AZ. CBRY 502-401-301.
21. CBRY 502 and 401 are ex-KCC. Kelvin AZ.
22. “GP40M-2” is ex-FURX, exx-CSX and SBD and nee-L&N. CBRY GP40M-2 301. Kelvin AZ.
23. CBRY 1221 hopper was built 03-2011 and has a volume of 1720 cubic feet. Kelvin AZ.
24. CBRY 1239 hopper. Kelvin AZ.
25. Crossing AZ 177, OT-1 heads up into mine property through a cattle crossing. CBRY 502. Kelvin AZ.
26. OT-1 from AZ 177 as it climbs up to the Ray mine load-out. CBRY 502-401-301. Ray mine AZ.
27. The road on the lower left is the main entrance to the Ray mine...protected by a guard house. CBRY 502-401-301. Ray mine AZ.
28. At the Ray mine overlook, this plaque commemorates the former town of Sonora that was consumed as the giant copper mine pit expanded. Sonora historic marker Ray mine AZ.
29. Even though it is the beginning of the evening shift, ore is still being loaded in the Ray mine. ASARCO Ray AZ copper mine.
30. After running around their train of empty gons, OT-1 will shove their cars almost to the end of the track on the lower left. The load-out is near the stockpile. ASARCO Ray AZ copper mine.
31. I rushed back to Ray Jct., for I knew the “Acid train” would be coming soon. OT-1 had given up the Ray block, so the “Acid Train” could come up to the mill. CBRY 501-304-402-504 have 13 cars. Ray Jct AZ.
32. CBRY gon 341139 appears to have been built in 1969. The placard “3077” signifies low grade radioactive solids. Ray Jct AZ.
33. CBRY is ex-SP with the same number. CBRY 341028 hopper. Kelvin AZ.
34. CBRY 341028 hopper. View 2. Kelvin AZ.
35. Looking east at Kelvin toward Ray Jct. CBRY end Ray block. Kelvin AZ.
36. At the same location looking west on the Ray Branch with the mine in the background. Wonder where they stole the speed limit sign! CBRY begin Ray Block. Kelvin AZ.
37. With the “acid train” safely tucked away, OT-1 gets the blocks to return to Hayden Jct. CBRY 301-401-502. Kelvin AZ.
38. With the ex-L&N GP40 in the lead OT-1 heads east to Hayden. This is the beauty of digital...just bump up the ISO and blast away! CBRY 301-401-502. Kelvin AZ.
39. OT-1 has about 40 loads of copper bearing ore for the crusher and smelter at Hayden. CBRY 301. Kelvin AZ.
I’m wore out! My day started at about 3:30 AM in Florence, KY...three time zones back. I pick up Sue at the motel, and we go to Old Time Pizza in Kearney for one of the best pizzas we’ve ever eaten. We sleep well!