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Date: 06/22/10 11:41
Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: highgreengraphics

The Navajo Mine Railroad was built in 1974 and is a 14-mile line between BHP Mineral's Navajo Mine and Arizona Public Service's Four Corners Power Plant, located west of Farmington, NM. Two shuttles of usually 20 cars run back and forth around the clock. On the north end of the shuttle is either an ex-Amtrak or ex-NJT E60 electric, on the south end is an ex-Wabash Alco C425 normally used in what some Class 1 operating guys might consider to be the ideal use for an Alco - as a non-operating cab car (by belt-pack) for the electric! In all fairness, the Alcos can run and are used as backups in case of electric failure. There are no loops at either end, simply pull-in and pull-out, and operated by a single employee.

Photo 1 - On June 4, this loaded shuttle is unloading at the power plant with the of all things an ex-Wabash C425 in front.

Photo 2 - Departing the power plant, ducking under the at times busy overpass right at the power plant's main entrance and security gate, a bit unnerving location but it worked, of course after talking to two different security trucks. At this point it is public access.

Photo 3 - The rear of the shuttle at the overpass with the electric pushing.








Date: 06/22/10 11:56
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: highgreengraphics

Photo 4 and 5 - Google Earth can assist you in getting to the only other public access location on the whole railroad, nearer to the mine end. This is the "Mason Crossing" Table Mesa Road after the "Shop Area 11" turnoff, off the main road from the power plant. I again was visited by insecurity who didn't care if I walked around, but told me I could not park in a parking area on one side of the crossing, but directly on the other side, I could park in the middle of the road! So I parked in the middle of the road. Go figure, at the same location advised to go from safety to parking in the road. Sheesh! And it is a public-access road, complete with road signs, but I didn't argue. Anyway, here are two photos of the other Alco at the end of its shuttle (two shuttles are run, with the single operator swapping trains at the mine end).

Photo 6 - An electric-led shuttle leaving the mine area, whistling as it approaches the same crossing as the bright sun begins to set. Happy railfanning! --- --- - --- JLH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/10 13:58 by highgreengraphics.








Date: 06/22/10 12:04
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: CCMF

Excellent shots of a rarely seen operation.



Date: 06/22/10 12:09
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: tomstp

I assume the electric loco is too tall to go under the loading shoot, therefore the diesel??



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/10 12:09 by tomstp.



Date: 06/22/10 12:13
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: ctjacks

I think the electric is ex-Mexican National (NdeM).



Date: 06/22/10 12:15
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: Lackawanna484

M-636 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Excellent shots of a rarely seen operation.


That's for sure. I learned a lot from this thread



Date: 06/22/10 12:18
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: NDHolmes

Another question - anybody know why the E60 has that bulge on the roof? Is it an access point to the roof? I only guess that because otherwise it seems odd they have all the walkways on the roof, considering most electric railroads went to great lengths to make anything near the HV inaccessible.



Date: 06/22/10 12:22
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: highgreengraphics

I just looked and my info says they are ex-Amtrak and ex-NJT, but the info is dated 2001, so these too by now are likely NdeM replacements, the side paint striping would suggest that, will have to research some more... I also have no idea what the other power plant is that shows up in the distance in the first photo. Connected to the closed-down to Laughlin, Nevada coal-slurry pipeline somehow? --- --- - --- JLH



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/10 12:52 by highgreengraphics.



Date: 06/22/10 12:44
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: cjvrr

With all the railings on top of the electric, it looks like it may be used for line maintenance too.

That buldge and the hand rail were not on those units on Amtrak or NJT.

Some additional information on E-60s can be found here;

http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=50506&p=551811

CV the civil E in NJ



Date: 06/22/10 13:21
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: Abqfoamer

Those stacks belong to the neighboring San Juan Generating Station, built by Public Service Company of New Mexico a couple miles west in the community of Fruitland, just down US64. Used to drive a delivery truck past both plants weekdays.

San Juan gets it coal from a nearby surface mine next to the highway.

Some days, power plant smog stretched east down the San Juan River valley a few miles to Farmington.



Date: 06/22/10 14:55
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: SF5953

Very cool all of your stops you made on your trip. I didn't realize the Navajo Mine railroad existed. I keep telling myself I am going to photograph the Black Mesa and Lake Powell but it never seems to happen. I've been there with my dad, but it was before I started taking pictures. Very educational posts.

Thanks
Steve



Date: 06/22/10 17:15
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: Evan_Werkema

highgreengraphics Wrote:

> On the north end of the shuttle
> is either an ex-Amtrak or ex-NJT E60 electric, on
> the south end is an ex-Wabash Alco C425 normally
> used in what some Class 1 operating guys might
> consider to be the ideal use for an Alco - as a
> non-operating cab car (by belt-pack) for the
> electric! In all fairness, the Alcos can run and
> are used as backups in case of electric failure.

Looks like the radiators and air intakes are plated over and the exhaust stack is missing on those C425's. I'd guess they are just unpowered control cabs now.

NDHolmes wrote:

> Another question - anybody know why the E60 has that bulge on the roof?

Air filter maybe? The ex-Amtrak E60's had big air filters added on the roof, and the C425's before them:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,1145249
http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,144131



Date: 06/22/10 17:19
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: stlrailfan

High Green Graphics,
I echo what M636 said, excellent shots of a very seldom seen operation. Thanks for posting.
Mark Mautner



Date: 06/22/10 17:42
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: highgreengraphics

Hey, Evan - You are absolutely right! As usual, I was relying on old information, and looking at the rooflines and radiators, yes there is no way they are operable. So the Class 1 operators would think that their use would be even more appropriate - they don't run at all just like all the others! Sorry Alco lovers, and I truly am one, but the lack of respect for them is well documented. So yes, we have Alco cab cars without any operable controls, serving only as a heavy-duty seat for the belt pack operator to sit on! At least they look good... --- --- - --- JLH



Date: 06/22/10 17:53
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: TomPlatten

Is this line physically connected to any other RR?



Date: 06/22/10 18:12
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: highgreengraphics

Nope, this line is all by itself, just like Black Mesa and Lake Powell, and Deseret Railway. Everything they have has had to be trucked in at some point. --- --- - --- JLH



Date: 06/22/10 18:45
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: jgilmore

tomstp Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I assume the electric loco is too tall to go under
> the loading shoot, therefore the diesel??

I visited in 2002 and the electrics all said "BHP" on their sides in black over plain white. The new scheme is much better, so thanks for the update! At the time I went, the guy giving us the tour said 1 or 2 ex-NdeM's were coming on board shortly--by truck of course! So at least a couple of their electrics have the Mexican heritage, but not sure if they are used for pulling or supplying parts. Interestingly, none of the electrics had the "bulge" back then, so this is a newer feature.

Also, there's no worry about the bulge and unloading as the trains pull atop a long chute for bottom dumping of the coal. We got to see it in action and the conveyors that carry the coal directly to the boilers, pretty cool operation. If I could dig out my slide scanner some year I'd post some shots I took then...

Joel Gilmore
Fort Worth, TX



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/10 18:47 by jgilmore.



Date: 06/22/10 20:50
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: genevasub

Thanks for posting...30 years in the hobby and don't think I've heard of this operation! Great, sharp, well composed photos.



Date: 06/29/12 14:14
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: rails99

Thanks for the pictures, really appreciate. We went by there 2 weeks ago on a bus tour and I asked if anyone had seen a train working the line and they said no. I have been looking to see what kind of electric train was running the line. Had no info to be found and 1 site would not open to see the anything. Did not think about TRain orders until I found this link.



Date: 06/29/12 14:35
Re: Navajo Mine Railroad
Author: Lackawanna484

BHP operates the mines under a lease from the Navajo Nation on whose land the whole shebang sits.

The nation and its Dine people have been divided for many years about the plant, the mines, and its impact. Many good jobs exist in the complex, in an area that doesn't have a lot of jobs.

But, the Dine philosophy of life views the earth as a living breathing thing, and ripping it up, and pulling coal is considered a desecration in this view.

The plant, mines, railroad, etc all operate under a crazy quilt of Navajo Nation, US federal mine regulators, EPA, and some New Mexico regulations. So, no part of resolving this issue is gonna be easy



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