Copper Basin

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series 2012 New Mexico Adventure

Our next stop on the fall adventure was the Copper Basin Railway at Hayden, Arizona.  This railroad lives to serve ASARCO‘s Ray copper mine and the associated smelter in Hayden.  For all intents and purposes the railroad is nothing more than a conveyor belt between the two operations.  The ore train makes round trips on a regular schedule between the mine and the dumper.  The first trip usually starts at the shops at Hayden ant 7:30am.  The number of cars in the train and the number of round trips for the day are dictated by ASARCO’s demand for ore and can change during the day if something goes awry on ASARCO’s end.

We made our first stop in Hayden at the CBRY office.  There we signed releases and were given a tour of the operation including the offices and the shop.  If you are planning to photograph the CBRY it is well worth the effort to stop in and sign the release.  The people at CBRY are wonderful and they were more than happy to talk railroading with us.  They welcomed us to their operation and truly respected our interest in the railroading industry.  They kindly shared with us their operating plan for the day which made setting up for photographs easy to plan.  Heck, they ever offered us information about how to get to some photo locations!  This would be a good time to remind anyone considering a visit to be respectful so that CBRY continues to be friendly towards railfans.

The general manager acted as tour guide and took us into the yard where the ore train crew was air testing their train.  We were allowed to wander around the train and get some early morning photos including the image below.

With the first trip of the day primarily facing west, away from the sun, we chose to hang around the shop.  We were permitted to walk around and take photographs to our delight.  The shop can rebuild the ore cars and perform most all necessary locomotive maintenance.  While it is a modest facility, it seemed to be well equipped with just what the CBRY needs.

After an hour around the shop we headed out for our day of photographing the train along the line.  With trains running back and forth regularly there are all sorts of opportunities for interesting photographs in the desert scrub and cactus.  Even though the line is not much more than 20 miles long we found no shortage of images to capture and found it would take us a couple of days to really get all the photos we’d like.  If you have any interest in unique operations like this I recommend a visit to the Copper Basin.