A Devil of a Route
Written by Gary Dolzall
Canyon Diablo is one of many challenges to be faced on the now available Train Simulator Santa Fe Arizona Divide Route!
Get ready to enjoy some devilish railroading challenges, with the now available Train Simulator Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route!
Extending from Winslow to Williams, Arizona, a distance of 92 route miles, this new Santa Fe Railway route, created by Milepost Simulations, will deliver enthralling, and tough, American freight railroading with priority intermodal and manifest tonnage, high-horsepower diesels, track speeds of up 70 mph, and demanding grades of 1.4 percent.
On a route packed with dramatic scenery and bare-fisted railroading, the Arizona Divide’s most famous site is Canyon Diablo. It was in 1853, while on a surveying mission, that U.S. Army Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple gave the deep and craggy canyon its present name, which is a translation of the Spanish “devil canyon” and which in turn was based on its Native American name. Nearly three decades later, the construction crews of Santa Fe Railway predecessor Atlantic & Pacific reached the canyon and spun a spindly single-track trestle across the 220-feet-deep, 544-foot-wide canyon.
Ever since, the Arizona Divide has been a key rail line helping to link America’s east and west. Once the path of Santa Fe’s beloved passenger trains including the Super Chief and El Capitan, the route was transformed into one of the country’s busiest arteries for intermodal and freight tonnage (and yes, as home to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief). The line remained a core component of the Santa Fe Railway until AT&SF’s merger into BNSF in 1995 and it continues to be a bustling railroad today.
In stretching from Winslow to Williams, the new Train Simulator route re-creates the eastern portion of AT&SF’s Seligman Subdivision (previously the Third District of AT&SF’s Albuquerque Division) plus a portion of the Phoenix Subdivision. From Winslow, an important yard and operational center on the railroad which stands at an elevation of approximately 4,800 feet, the double-track route runs westward across high desert country and begins its ascent toward the Arizona Divide’s summit at an elevation of 7,332 feet above sea level.
It is 26 miles west of Winslow that Canyon Diablo awaits, now spanned by an immense steel double-track trestle constructed in 1947. Past Canyon Diablo, the grades become more relentless with gradients of 1.4 percent becoming the norm as the line climbs through Darling and onward to Flagstaff, site of a classic AT&SF station. As the route approaches and passes through Flagstaff, the high desert country morphs into rugged pine country and the environs of the Coconino National Forrest. Indeed, in years long past, the areas both east and west of Flagstaff were host to a veritable spiderweb of logging railroads built to help tote the lumber forested in the region.
Between Flagstaff and Bellemont, the railroad crests the Arizona Divide’s summit, then begins a torturous westbound descent to Williams Junction. The Santa Fe’s original main line ran via Williams and Ash Fork, but to reduce grades a new 44-mile line was constructed in 1955 between Williams Junction and Crookston. Nonetheless, much of the original line as far west of Ash Fork remained as part of Santa Fe’s route to Phoenix (the Phoenix Subdivision). Williams was and is also notable as the junction point with Santa Fe’s line to the Grand Canyon, which was constructed in 1901 and then sold in 1988 to become the popular, passenger-hauling Grand Canyon Railway.
The now available Arizona Divide route for Train Simulator is set circa 1993 in the final years of Sana Fe’s independent operations and features high-horsepower diesels in the railroad’s classic red-and-silver and yellow-and-blue “Warbonnet” liveries. Included with the route are Santa Fe’s husky and much admired F45 “cowl” diesels, veteran AT&SF SD40-2s, and, in flashy red-and-silver livery, the railroad’s stylish General Electric B40-8W locomotives.
Note: The Arizona Divide route is available worldwide. Due to licensing restrictions, AT&SF markings will appear only on content distributed to U. S. customers.
Also included with the route are a selection of ten freight car types, ranging from Santa Fe’s distinctive “spine” intermodal cars and double-stack well cars to boxcars, lumber flats, gondolas, covered hoppers, and more. And the route offers an excellent selection of eight realistic scenarios featuring intermodal, manifest freight, unit train, and local operations.
Experience devilishly challenging and enjoyable Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route, now available for Train Simulator! – Gary Dolzall
The Santa Fe Railway’s crossing of the Arizona Divide has long been one of America’s most famous, challenging, and scenic rail routes, and this always-busy rail line now comes to Train Simulator with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Famous Canyon Diablo – 220 feet deep and 544 feet wide -- stands 26 miles west of Winslow. With GE B40-8Ws and EMD F45s as power, a westbound intermodal hotshot shoots over the Santa Fe’s sturdy double-track trestle that was constructed over the canyon in 1947 (above). Canyon Diablo is one of the many rugged locations that await on the Arizona Divide route, as exemplified by this deep canyon which rests a few miles further west than its famous sister (below). Screenshots depict content while in development.
Extending from Winslow to Williams, a distance of 92 route miles, the new Arizona Divide route, created by Milepost Simulations, delivers enthralling and demanding American freight railroading. At Winslow Yard, a Santa Fe westbound intermodal train begins its rugged journey.
The new Arizona Divide route re-creates the eastern portion of AT&SF’s Seligman Subdivision (previously the Third District of AT&SF’s Albuquerque Division) plus a portion of the Phoenix Subdivision. West of Winslow, the line first ventures through remote high desert country.
Located 58 miles west of Winslow is the city of Flagstaff, where an eastbound manifest led by EMD F45 5969 eases past a work extra (above). The area around Flagstaff is rich and rugged pine country, providing a scenic setting as a pair of Santa Fe freights meet at speed (below).
Williams Junction (above) is the connecting point between AT&SF’s Phoenix and Seligman Subdivisions. With tonnage from Phoenix, an eastbound manifest is swinging onto the Seligman main line at Williams Junction as a westbound freight holds the other main (above). Williams (below), three miles west of Williams Junction on the Phoenix Subdivision and host to a distinctive depot, is the junction point with the Santa Fe line to the Grand Canyon which in 1988 was sold and became the Grand Canyon Railway.
The new Arizona Divide route for Train Simulator is set circa 1993 and included are Santa Fe’s husky and much admired F45 “cowl” diesel, veteran AT&SF SD40-2, and, in flashy red-and-silver livery, the railroad’s stylish General Electric B40-8W locomotive.
Experience devilishly challenging and thoroughly enjoyable Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route, now available for Train Simulator!
Screenshots and images displayed in this article may depict content that is still in development. The licensed brands may not have been approved by their respective owner and some artwork may still be pending approval.
A Devil of a Route