Written by Gary Dolzall
The Santa Fe Railway’s famed, scenic, and challenging route across the Arizona Divide is coming soon to Train Simulator!
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 this iconic rail line will soon come to Train Simulator with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route.
Extending from Winslow to Williams, Arizona, a distance of 92 route miles, this upcoming route, created by Milepost Simulations, will deliver enthralling 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 upcoming 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.
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 Darling (site of a long-time favorite location for Santa Fe photography) 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 upcoming Arizona Divide route for Train Simulator is set circa 1993 in the final years of Sana 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 will be 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 will be available worldwide. Due to licensing restrictions, AT&SF markings will appear only on content distributed to U. S. customers.
Also included with the route will be 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 will offer an excellent selection of eight realistic scenarios featuring intermodal, manifest freight, unit train, and local operations.
Get ready to climb aboard and experience fast-paced, challenging, and memorable Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route, coming soon to 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 iconic rail line will soon come to Train Simulator with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.
Extending from Winslow to Williams, Arizona, a distance of 92 route miles, this upcoming route, created by Milepost Simulations, will deliver enthralling American freight railroading. At the always busy Winslow Yard, Santa Fe westbound trains line up and prepare to make the ascent of the Arizona Divide. Screenshots depict content while in development.
The upcoming 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.
Famous and fabulous Canyon Diablo 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 that was constructed in 1947 over craggy Canyon Diablo.
Like Canyon Diablo, nearby Darling, Arizona, with its scenic view of the railroad gently curving through a swale against a mountain backdrop, has long been a siren for railroad photographers. AT&SF F45 5969 is leading an eastbound manifest as a unit grain train rolls westward.
Located roughly midway between Winslow and Williams, Flagstaff is home to a classic Santa Fe depot. On the upcoming Train Simulator Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route, a set of six EMD SD40-2s have a heavy grain train well in hand (above). Further west on the always bustling route, east and westbound Santa Fe trains meet at speed (below).
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.
The upcoming Arizona Divide Route for Train Simulator is set circa 1993 and included will be 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 (above). Engineers on the upcoming route will work in three distinctive cabs, including that of the husky EMD F45 (below).
Get ready to climb aboard and experience fast-paced, challenging, and memorable Western-style railroading on the legendary Santa Fe Railway, with the Arizona Divide: Winslow – Williams Route, coming soon to 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.