Douglas to Courtland

The Courtland Branch

Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

This railway line was first built in 1908 by the Mexico and Colorado Railroad in order to provide parent company El Paso and Southwestern Railroad access to the lucrative copper mines in and around Courtland, AZ. Moreover, the construction of this line served as a strategic move by the EP&SW against the Southern Pacific Railway, who was seeking to build a line from their transcontinental route at Cochise, AZ southwards through Douglas and beyond to Mexico. Such a line could have likely proven devastating to the EP&SW, which already had a firm foothold along the Mexican border. Thus, the EP&SW built their line from their yards in Douglas to Courtland via Kelton (site of the junction between this branch and the Southern Pacific's Cochise-Douglas line), a distance of 25 miles.

The copper mines at Courtland proved a financial success for the EP&SW, at least initially. However, production began declining in the late 1920s, and were depleted by 1931. The Southern Pacific, having purchased the EP&SW outright in 1924, filed for abandonment of the line in 1932.

The city of Courtland, prosperous during the mining boom, is now a ghost town. The Arizona desert has preserved the former right-of-way of the Courtland Branch, and it can still be followed today.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

Docket Number: 9114 Date: 1/13/1932 Section: 1
App. of Arizona Eastern RR. Co., El Paso & Southwestern RR. Co. and Southern Pacific Co., their lessee, for certificate to abandon: 1) the Cochise-Douglas Branch, extending from Cochise to Douglas, a distance of 59.1 miles; 2) the Gleeson Branch, extending from Kelton to Gleeson, a distance of 6.4 miles; 3) the Courtland Branch, extending from Kelton to Courtland, a distance of 4.6 miles; and 4) the Commonwealth Branch, extending from Pearce to Commonwealth Mill, a distance of 1.2 miles; all in Cochise County, Arizona.
Length: 71.3 miles Citation: 193 ICC 8  
Also under this filing: The Cochise-Douglas Branch, The Gleeson Branch, The Commonwealth Branch   

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