Seligman to Prescott

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  • States: Arizona   
  • Railroads: P&AC   

The Prescott and Arizona Central Railroad

Part of the Prescott & Arizona Central Railroad right-of-way can be seen here, heading northward through Willow Lake Park, northwest of Willow Creek Reservoir. Photo by Andy Odell, May 2013.

The Prescott and Arizona Central Railroad was the first railroad to reach Prescott, starting from Seligman to the north. This line only lasted several years due to a number of reasons, among them was the fact that is wasn't very well constructed. Proof of this can be seen when one tries to find remnants of the old ROW today....virtually no evidence of its existence can be found, save for the northern-most section in Railroad canyon just south of Seligman.

It serves as the first major abandonment in Arizona.

Thanks to James for contributing information about this route.

I may have discovered what might be some parts of the old ROW in Chino Valley, but there is no way to be sure...and even David Myrick's book "Santa Fe to Phoenix" notes that no accurate map of the P&AC has ever surfaced to date. The book does feature a "best guess" map assembled form various sources. Photographs show that near Prescott, the two competing lines ran very close to each other.

Strange that this significant line seems largely forgotten.

Chino Valley, AZ


I used to fly helicopters in the area and the old track bed can be seen in 5 or 6 places up to Seligman. You can see them on Google Earth, but I don't know how to trace a route then post it or I would. The timbers where laid directly on the ground to meet a deadline and washouts plagued the line continuously, eventually resulting in bankruptcy. The track and equipment was removed and used on the owners other railroad, the Sierra Railway Company. The PACR locomotive #3 (a 4-6-0 made by Rogers Locomotive Works specifically for PACR on March 26, 1893) was renamed the the Sierra #3, and is still in use today. Supposedly, it has been in more films and had its picture taken more times than any other locomotive in history.

Clay Morgan
De Kalb, TX


I found a section of the old grade about a quarter mile long, just northwest of Willow Creek Reservoir. It runs up from the north through the saddle at Willow Lake Park. If you turn off Willow Creek Road opposite Embry Riddle (thus into the Park), you will see a road cut to the right that it went through, and if you look to the left, you can see the old grade running north.

There are several broken rail bolts and a spike, but it is definitely not the SFP&P which was two miles east of this location. There is a fence to stop cars, but you can walk around that and down the grade to where some houses are located. The grade is now covered with wood chips, like an exercise path.

Flagstaff, AZ


My grandfather was the prime promoter of the Prescott & Arizona Central RW. There is a very interesting story here. I have copies of the 1886 Federal R/W grant maps; they fit well with USGS mapping. There are info files at the Charlotte Hall Museum in Prescott. I have built a file and will be giving a talk about my grandfathers life 9/11/14 at the main Library in Sonora, CA, 7PM

Thomas S Bullock II
Pollock Pines, CA


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