Arizona Up and Over
Written by: Gary Dolzall.
Now available for Train Simulator, the Arizona Divide route features a demanding ascent of nearly 2,500 feet in elevation!
The Santa Fe Railway’s crossing of the Arizona Divide has long been one of the most famous, challenging, and scenic rail routes in the great American West and – as now faithfully re-created for Train Simulator – the line features a rugged climb (and descent) of nearly 2,500 in elevation!
Extending from Winslow to Williams, Arizona, a robust distance of 92 route miles, this new route, created by Milepost Simulations, delivers diverse 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.
Constructed in the late 1880s, the Arizona Divide route has ever since been a key rail line helping to link America’s east and west. Once the path of Santa Fe’s fabled 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, Arizona, the Train Simulator route represents 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 4,850 feet, the double-track route runs westward across high desert country and begins its challenging ascent toward the Arizona Divide’s summit at an elevation of 7,332 feet above sea level.
Twenty-six miles west of Winslow awaits one of the Santa Fe Railway’s most famous sites – the crossing of deep, wide, and craggy Canyon Diablo. Past Canyon Diablo, the grades become more relentless with gradients of 1.4 percent becoming the norm as the line climbs through scenic 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.
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 new Arizona Divide route for Train Simulator, is set circa 1993 in the final years of Santa Fe’s independent operations and thus 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 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.
Climb aboard and experience fast-paced, challenging, and rugged Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores! – Gary Dolzall
The Santa Fe Railway’s crossing of the Arizona Divide has long been one of America’s most famous, challenging, and rugged rail routes, and this iconic rail line, which features an ascent of nearly 2,500 feet in elevation, is now available for Train Simulator with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Extending from Winslow to Williams, Arizona, a distance of 92 miles, this new route, created by Milepost Simulations, delivers diverse American freight railroading. At the always busy Winslow Yard, a Santa Fe westbound intermodal train is making it departure. Note: Screenshots may depict content while in development.
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 ventures through remote high desert country.
Fabulous Canyon Diablo – 220 feet deep and 544 feet wide – stands 26 miles west of Winslow. With a team of GE B40-8Ws and EMD F45s, a westbound intermodal hotshot glides atop the Santa Fe’s sturdy double-track trestle (above), while an eastbound manifest with AT&SF F45s and SD40-2s on the point hustle an eastbound manifest (below).
Located 58 miles west of Winslow, Flagstaff is home to a classic Santa Fe depot. On the now-available Train Simulator Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route, a set of six EMD SD40-2s have a heavy grain train well in tow (above). Further west on the always bustling route, east and westbound Santa Fe trains meet at speed (below). The Train Simulator Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route includes Santa Fe’s EMD F45, EMD SD40-2, and GE B40-8Ws locomotives as well as a selection of ten types of freight equipment and eight realistic career scenarios.
Williams Junction (above) is the connecting point between AT&SF’s Phoenix and Seligman Subdivisions. Hauling tonnage from Phoenix, an eastbound manifest is swinging onto the Seligman main line at Williams Junction (above). Williams (below), three miles west of Williams Junction on the Phoenix Subdivision, is the junction point with the Santa Fe line to the Grand Canyon which in 1988 was sold and became the passenger-hauling Grand Canyon Railway.
Climb aboard and experience fast-paced, challenging, and rugged Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams route, now available at the Steam and Dovetail Games Stores!
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.
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.
Arizona Up and Over