Tempe to Mesa

The Mesa Branch

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Looking west towards Tempe from Rural Road. The Valley Metro line branches from the abandoned line here and continues on its own right-of-way to the south. Photo by Mike Palmer, February 2009.

This abandoned railway line was built by the Maricopa & Phoenix Railroad (by that time called Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa Railway) to reach Mesa from its mainline at Tempe. Aerial photos from 1930 show the branch was solely used at that time for storing rolling stock, although there was industry at the ends: Creamery siding to the east, and several sidings around the North Mesa depot.

The Maricopa & Phoenix shared its station at North Mesa with the Phoenix and Eastern Railroad, which built a spur from its mainline to the southwest to access the station. The P&E trackage ran adjacent to the station on the opposite side of the M&A tracks.

This line also hosted the original "Creamery Siding". This siding became the end of the line after the 193 ICC 769 filing (below), and the name "Creamery" was thereafter used to denote the former "P&E Junction" to the west. At that point, the entire stretch from Normal Junction to Mesa Junction, including the Creamery Spur (and later, Ocotillo Power Plant spur) was collectively referred to as The Creamery Branch.

When both the P&E and M&P were merged into Southern Pacific predecessor Arizona Eastern Railroad, this line quickly became superfluous and was slated for abandonment in 1933. The eastern part of the line that connected with the P&E remained; see The Tempe Branch.

Rail remnants are hard to find west of Dorsey Lane in Tempe; other remnants of the right-of-way are being used as an alley to access some of the local businesses. The western portion of the line, where it connects with the UP secondary main, has been rehabilitated for use by Valley Metro, Phoenix's new light rail system, opened in December of 2008.

Thanks to Mike Palmer and Greg Rose for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
Docket Number: 10079 Date: 7/17/1933 Section: 1
App. of Arizona Eastern RR. Co. and Southern Pacific Co., its lessee, for certificate to abandon (1) that part of the Mesa Branch at Tempe, a distance of 0.623 mile, (2) that part of the Mesa Branch between Creamery and Mesa, a distance of 4.517 miles, and (3) that part of the Casaba Branch between a point one-half mile from Pozo Junction and Casaba, a distance of 4.357 miles; all in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Length: 8.874 miles Citation: 193 ICC 769  
Also under this filing: The Casaba Branch   

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