This branch line was built in 1908 by the Arizona and Colorado Railroad (a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad) for two purposes:
- To access the lucrative copper mines in and around Courtland (which competitor El Paso & South Western was intending with their Courtland Branch at the same time)
- On a bigger scale, to reach Mexico further south
Construction on the line started in Cochise, on the Southern Pacific's transcontinental line, and headed south, first to Courtland initially with prospects to build further south to Douglas then eventually into Mexico.
The line reached a connection with the EP&SW's Courtland Branch at a junction named "Kelton", just east of Courtland and 25 miles south of Cochise. Instead of building into Courtland proper though (which the EP&SW had already accomplished), the A&C built the Gleeson Branch that ran from Kelton to just south of Courtland and into Gleeson.
Construction continued southward to Douglas in 1909, but before reaching there, the president of the Southern Pacific, E. H. Harriman, died. Progress on building the line came to a halt, a mere mile shy of Douglas. By the time SP re-evaluated the prospect of completing the line, the mines at Courtland were in recession, and with it revenues generated along the portion of the line between Cochise and Kelton. The SP decided to leave the line as-is: a dead-end line in the middle of the southern Arizona desert.
Production of copper at the Courtland mines began declining in the late 1920s, and were depleted by 1931. The SP filed for abandonment of the line soon after.
Courtland, prosperous during the mining boom, is now a ghost town. Interestingly enough, while the northern half of this line between Cochise and Kelton/Gleeson was profitable, the southern half of the line, between Kelton and its abrupt ending in the middle of nowhere, never saw a train.