03. Engine 98 at Benson Depot, c. 1912
Mural Depiction

This is a rendering from a postcard circa 1912 of Southern Pacific Engine Number 98 arriving at the Benson Depot.

Background Information

Rail service in and around Benson, Arizona was not confined to moving ore and other raw materials to be processed at the smelter. Passenger service still continues today and is serviced by AMTRAK passenger service out of Los Angeles, California to New Orleans, Louisiana by the Texas Limited. Service from New Orleans to Los Angeles is by the Sunset Limited. Benson's train depot designation is "BEN" providing access to either route.

Southern Pacific Railroad was not the only passenger service in Benson over the years. Also servicing Benson was the Atkinson, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) was chartered on February 11, 1859, to join Atchison and Topeka, Kansas, with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Building across Kansas and eastern Colorado was simple and with few natural obstacles. However, that was not true for the southwest where the terrain was rocky and required more detours.

 

By 1880 the AT&SF reached Albuquerque however it's original destination of Santa Fe was never completed. In March 1881 AT&SF connected with the Southern Pacific (SP) Railroad at Deming, New Mexico, forming the second transcontinental rail route. The railroad then built a rail line from Benson, Arizona to Nogales on the Mexican border. It connected with the Sonora Railway, which the AT&SF had built north from the Mexican port of Guaymas.

Mural Information

Artist:  Doug Quarles

Size:     5' x 9'

Completed: September 2013

Sponsors: 

   City of Benson

   Arizona G & T Cooperatives

   Benson Beautification

   Benson Jr. Women

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