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.