Santa Fe Southwestern Railway    Santa Fe Southwestern Railway
   Southern Nevada/California


 Rolling Stock


 Email this site 
 to a friend

RR Xing


The Santa Fe Southwestern was chartered in 1910 as a Class 3 narrow gauge line, built primarily to serve several local mines. The original route stretched north 62 miles from Pretloe on the Santa Fe main, to the mines at the town of Clear Creek. The line prospered from the start and by the beginning of the Depression, the railroad had gained Class I status. The Depression saw the closing of all but one of the mines the railroad served, a copper mine, and almost the demise of the railroad itself. Miraculously, the railroad survived and with America’s entry into World War II prompting a sudden demand for copper, the only remaining mine on the line secured the railroad’s future. As the demand for copper grew, so did the demands placed on the railroad’s aging equipment. Revenue from the increasing copper shipments also steadily grew. In order to meet this increased demand, the company found that it needed bigger and better equipment as well as better track. Using money generated from the increased copper shipments, the line was standard gauged and equipment was leased from the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe. By the close of the war, the line had been not only upgraded but also extended. It wasn’t but a few years later that the route was realigned and the original segment between Elwood and the connection with UP was to be abandoned in place.  Since the rails were never pulled, this portion was treated as out of service trackage.  The new alignment, which connects with the original main and the UP near Jean, Nevada, was a faster, less strenuous route that allowed quicker movement of new bridge traffic from the UP connection south to the Santa Fe main with cars bound for customers on the SFSW.  The resulting increase in traffic was something that the railroad was now more than prepared for.  With the new traffic, plus the upgraded track, the railroad found itself in a position to start making orders for higher tonnage hoppers to handle increased ore shipments.  The increased revenue also allowed the company to buy its first diesel locomotives.  By buying an F7A/B set from the leased Santa Fe equipment and an SD9 from SP, the railroad was able to retire its last steam engine, a 2-8-2 Mikado, and thereby totally dieselizing its operations.  Instead of being retired, though, the steam engine was reassigned to the power the executive train.  As a steady cash flow developed, the railroad focused on more motive power and equipment. By 1990, the SFSW rostered six locomotives and in early-1991, the railroad unveiled its current corporate image with the purchase of two new GE C40-8’s. That same year the F7 was taken out of regular service and placed into a new assignment as the new executive unit. The steam engine it replaced performs its latest role hauling excursionists along the railroad plus occasional appearances on employee specials and business trains.

See More Railroads Space for this website provided free by Dallas Model Works