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Apache Railway: Wikis


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Apache Railway
System map
Reporting mark APA
Locale Holbrook-Snowflake, Arizona
Dates of operation 1917–
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Snowflake, Arizona
Unknown route-map component "ABZ3lg" Unknown route-map component "eHSTq"
0.0 BNSF junction, Holbrook
Non-passenger station on track
9.3 Blair
Non-passenger station on track
27.4 Tours
Junction to left Track turning from right
Snowflake Junction
Non-passenger end station Straight track
Shops, Paper Mill
Unknown route-map component "KDSTxe"
34.8 Snowflake
Unknown route-map component "exHST"
37.5 Taylor
Unknown route-map component "exHST"
44.9 Silver Lake
Unknown route-map component "exHST"
54.8 Bell
Unknown route-map component "exHST"
61.7 Sponseller
Unknown route-map component "exHST"
72.0 McNary
Unknown route-map component "exKHSTe"

The Apache Railway (reporting mark APA) is an Arizona shortline railroad that operates from a connection with the BNSF Railway (BNSF) at Holbrook to the Catlyst Paper paper mill at Snowflake, Arizona, 38 miles (61 km). The APA was acquired by Catalyst Paper from Abitibi Consolidated in 2008.



16,000 cars per year (1996 figure)

  • recycled fiber
  • pulpwood
  • wood chips
  • coal
  • paper
  • chemicals
  • grain


The Apache Railway was incorporated on September 5, 1917. Grading for the APA began on October 1 and by March 1918 the rails were being laid. One year later, on September 6, 1918, the track reached Snowflake. The railroad continued building south from Snowflake and reached McNary on April 5, 1919. Construction of the entire 72-mile (116 km) line from Holbrook to McNary was completed on July 1, 1920, and the APA was listed as a class II railroad common carrier.

From October 1, 1931, until 1936, amid the great depression, the APA was placed in receivership.

The White Mountain Scenic Railroad operated steam powered passenger excursions over the Southwest Forest Industries-owned line from McNary to the logging camp of Maverick, AZ, beginning in 1964. As track conditions deteriorated the excursions were cut back in later years to a point about half way to Maverick. In the final years it operated north from Pinetop Lakes to a place called Bell on US Route 60. In 1976 the White Mountain Scenic Railroad ceased operations and moved its equipment to Heber City, UT to be used on an excursion there known as the Heber Creeper. The line from Maverick to McNary, with some elevations exceeding 9,000 feet (2,700 m), was removed in 1982 after the McNary sawmill closed.

By the 1980s the APA was Arizona's only remaining logging railroad. The track from Snowflake to McNary was abandoned in 1984.


Passenger Service

The Apache Railway offered passenger service until the 1950s. In July 1954, the mixed train operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing McNary at 7:15am, arriving Holbrook at 12:15pm, departing there at 1:30pm and returning to McNary at 7:00pm.[1]

Motive Power

Currently APA uses ALCO Century 420 (C420) and C424s.


  • Holbrook (interchange with BNSF Railway's Gallup Subdivision/formerly Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway)
  • Blair
  • Snowflake Pig Farm
  • Tours
  • Snowflake Junction
  • Apache Railway Shops
  • Snowflake Paper Mill (Abitibi Consolidated)

Abandoned routes

Abandoned in 1984.

  • Snowflake (interchange with the now defunct Standard Lumber)
  • Taylor
  • Silver Lake
  • Bell (Sedan)
  • Sponseller (with several lumber spurs into the forest to the east)
  • Pinetop Lakes (with several lumber spurs into the forest)
  • McNary (interchange with Southwest Forest Industries)
  • Camp 28 (with several lumber spurs into the forest)

In addition, a 2 to 3 mile (3–5 km) section of track used to run from south of Tours to Snowflake. Today's line runs from Tours to Snowflake Junction.


  1. ^ The Official Guide of the Railways: 937, July 1954  


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