El Mirage to Waddell and McMicken

The Ennis Spur

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Looking northwest from near the Northern Road grade crossing, the abandoned spur to Luke Air Force Base can be seen. It has been severed near its connection to the Ennis Spur proper. Photo by Mike Palmer, February 2009.

This multi-branched spur line was first built in the 1940s by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe to serve both farmers in the area and Luke Air Force Base. The spur split from the AT&SF mainline in El Mirage at a junction called "Ennis Station", and then zig-zagged its way for 12 miles to Waddell and McMicken, both unincorporated communities west of Phoenix. These endpoints once served produce distributors, who would load their fresh produce onto reefers.

Over time, parts of the line fell into disuse for the usual reasons: urban development, the switch to road trucks, etc. As of 2010, BNSF still uses parts of the spur to serve four online customers, with an average of one train per day visiting the area; the rest of the spur has been abandoned, with sections of track removed. However, active tracks still reach as far as Fennemore, about 9 miles from Ennis Station.

According to some news articles from 2008 in the Phoenix Business Journal, the area around the spur is ripe for more business and industrial development, and BNSF is planning to capitalize on the expected growth by refurbishing a majority of the line in order to serve the influx of potential customers. They expect that traffic along the spur will increase within the next few years.

The interactive map shows the Ennis Spur in its entirety.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

ATCHISON, TOPEKA & SANTA FE RAILWAY
Docket Number: 17316 Date: 11/13/1950 Section: 1(18)
Application and supplemental application of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company and The California, Arizona and Santa Fe Railway company for abandonment of 5.86 miles of the latter company between the stations of Beardsley and Waddell, within Maricopa County, Arizona.
Length: 3.86 miles Citation:  

Great information and photos you have collected here. There is print and anecdotal evidence the track to the north connected with the Phoenix Sub at Beardsley. Further, satellite and aerial views of the Beardsley area show evidence of the former wye track connection. See David F. Myrick's "Santa Fe to Phoenix" book for more information, if you already haven't.

http://www.aeromoe.com/Peavine.html

Moe Bertrand
El Mirage, AZ
2/3/2010

[Hey Moe, I see the wye you're talking about in Beardsley -- fascinating. Thanks for the info!  —Greg Harrison]

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I havent been able to find any concrete evidence of this, but I'm pretty sure that the Luke AFB spur actually at one time went all the way south to the UP/SP West line on the east side of Goodyear airport. If you look on google maps, you can see an abandoned spur going north from goodyear airport, which makes it as far north as a bit north of McDowell road, where it gets erased by a new golf course. tracing this north, it lines up perfectly with the Luke AFB spur with only a few miles break thanks to new construction. given that there is almost no industry along this route, I think its safe to assume it was a through-line at one point.

Henry R
Chandler, AZ
2/24/2014

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actually you can forget that comment, i had missed the section about the Litchfield Park Industrial lead... whoops!

Henry R
Chandler, AZ
2/24/2014

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