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BNSF's Seligman Sub; Yampai to Bellemont Map and Railfan Info  

BNSF's Seligman Sub Map and Railfan Info
Yampai Summit, AZ to Bellemont, AZ
Created: 12-10-2002

Elevation Data taken from Delorme's Topo Map 3.0

Follow this link for a high resolution topographical map of this section of the Seligman Sub.  1197 x 539  (160K)

           Yampai to Bellemont Superlatives

West end: Yampai Summit, AZ  MP 452.2; East end: Bellemont, AZ  MP 356.3; Total miles: 95.9  Double track main for the entire route. Main 1 is the north track.
Max track speeds vary from 90 mph for Amtrak to 70 mph for freight.
Major stations: Seligman, Williams Jct.
Yards:  Seligman (small)
Highest point 7,247 ft @ Maine, AZ  Lowest Point: 4,950 ft @  Audley, AZ.
Radio Frequencies: DS-10  Winslow to Seligman = AAR 55 - 160.935; DS-11  Seligman to Topock = AAR 36 - 160.650; AAR 55  160.935 Topock to Needles.
Amtrak stops: Williams Jct. - Southwest Chief #3 (west) 10:16 pm; Southwest Chief #4 (east) 4:31 am.
Train Frequency: 60-70 daily; Train Types: Intermodal, Manifest, Auto, Passenger


        The middle portion of the Seligman Sub is a bit trickier to navigate. For example, the line between Crookton and Williams Jct. is an area known as the Crookton Cutoff, a line realignment that was made back in late 1960. The cutoff is way out in back country and is best suited for those with trucks and 4X4's, though there are ways for cars to reach some limited locations on the cutoff. Be aware the roads can be extremely rough and hazardous to smaller vehicles. Yet with this isolation comes some of the best scenery along the entire sub. No buildings, towers, bridges, trash, etc to spoil shots. It is fairly clear along the ROW and the terrain remains largely undisturbed. On the west side of the cutoff, between Yampai and Crookton, and then on the east side between Williams and Bellemont, you'll find reasonable access to the tracks and road side amenities, such as gas and food.

        Access:   Access:  Rte 66 remains your friend between Yampai to Crookton, since it closely follows the tracks most of the way. From Crookton to Williams, dirt access roads are your only bet. There are limited grade crossings (3 or 4), but all are reached after driving for miles along dirt roads. After Williams, Rte 66 disappears for a while, actually becoming 1-40 much of the way to Winslow, AZ. Between Williams and Bellemont, 4-5 exits from the interstate lead along paved roads to grade crossings. The crossings are generally less than a few miles from the freeway. Dirt roads also follow the tracks at these crossings, which gives you a little access to the line, sometimes for a few miles in either direction. At various locations along I-40, you will be able to see the tracks from the interstate. This can provide a spot for a quick grab shot, but I certainly don't recommend sitting along the emergency lane for any length of time.
       Remember, if you want access to the Crookton cutoff, there are several dirt roads you can follow that stay with the tracks the entire length of the cutoff. In addition to these dirt access roads, there are others dirt roads that leave from a few of the cities south of the cutoff. Specifically there are 2 routes from Williams, 1 from Ash Fork, and a last from Crookton / Seligman, which all lead to points along the cutoff by taking various public roads from these towns. See down in the page for more detailed info. Finally, there are many other hunting and ranch type roads out there that may give additional routes to the tracks, but I think the ways outlined below in the guide will provide the easiest, safest, and most reliable (direct) access to the tracks. See the individual station descriptions for more detailed info on the station and getting trackside to it. With all the dirt roads involved, the middle section of the Seligman sub can be hard to work, but it is definitely worth it.

        Food, supplies, lodging:  Seligman and Williams are the only established cities along this portion of the Seligman Sub that offer very much in the way of amenities. Seligman has gas (though it is expensive, somewhere around 30 - 40 cents more than in Kingman or Williams.), 5-6 restaurants, a few quick mart type places, and several old style motor lodges left over from Rte 66's heyday.  Subway is the only fast food type in Seligman, found out at the interstate exit (inside the gas station) on the east end of town. Other supplies are going to be hard to come by in Seligman. Williams, on the other hand is good for most everything. Fast food, hotels, and other restaurants are plentiful. There is no Walmart or Target in Williams, so if you are in need of more specialized services or desire greater variety, head another 30 miles or so up the mountain to Flagstaff. Lots and lots there. I've not tried any motels in either city, but would expect that you'll be able to find acceptable accommodations, especially in Williams.

        Seasons: Winters are cold and can get very nasty up in the mountains. Be prepared for snow, ice, and a bitter, howling wind. Winter means shorter days, but some of the best blue sky you'll ever find too.  Spring is awesome, especially if the winter brought some moisture to the hills. The flowers will be in full bloom and the green vegetation will enhance any photo. Summer Because of the altitude the summer can take a decidedly moderate tone. It can still get hot, but the intense scorching heat is probably confined to just a few days out of the year. Your enemy up here will be dehydration. Don't be fooled by the cooler air. This is still "desert" and the humidity is still very low. That can spell disaster. If you dehydrate, you can get yourself in trouble without even realizing it, so drink plenty and you'll enjoy the escape from the 110 + temperatures down around Kingman and Needles.  Also, summer is monsoon season in Arizona. Lightning is an immediate danger. Don't get caught out in the open. If you've gone to hike up on that ridge for that neat shot, get down immediately. Low ground is better than nothing, your car is the safest place. Autumn With the cooler temperatures approaching, everything in nature prepares for the coming harsh season. The grasses tend to brown a bit this time of year, the trees leaves will color and fall, and the spring and summer flowers still line the RoW, just brown and dry. Trains will roll on though so enjoy!

Timetable Info Seligman Sub - Yampai, AZ to Bellemont, AZ; italicized stations have more info below
Mile Post
Elevation in Feet
Speed Limit / MPH
Yampai Summit
50 / 45 
79 / 70
CP 4449
79 / 70
Audley (Trk 2)
79 / 70
E+W Seligman
 429.9 - 427.9
79 / 70
E+W Crookton
 420.5 - 418.3
79 / 70
 E+W Eagle Nest
 407.5 - 405.5
90 / 70
 E+W Double A
 395.1 - 392.0
90 / 70
 E+W Perrin
 385.6 - 383.1
90 / 70
 E+W Williams Jct.
 375.0 - 374.3
90 / 70
55 / 50
80 / 70
79 / 70 

Selected stations I'm highlighting. If you need other info, please e-mail me.

        Yampai  MP 452.2  Yampai Summit is our next stop. After leaving the tracks at Nelson, continue east along IR 19, about 2 miles past the plant until you intersect Rte 66. Turn east (right) and you'll travel approx 6.3 miles to the turn-off that leads to the summit. You'll pass the Grand Canyon Caverns campgrounds along the way and after climbing out of the valley the caverns are in, start looking to your right for your next turn, a dirt road named Hyde Park Rd. This turn used to be one of the trickiest places to find along the Sub. Now it is well marked and is located immediately at the MP 117 sign.
        The road is well traveled and is generally in good shape, except right after a storm, when it might be a bit soggy. If you miss the turn while traveling east on Rte 66 you'll notice that after cresting the hill you'll find yourself in a very broad, wide valley, with high plateaus on the far side immediately in front of you. Don't worry, the turn is less than 2 miles behind you. In fact if you look immediately to the right and up along the plateau, you can see the track coming off the eastern slope of Yampai Summit. You haven't missed by much. Once on the correct path, you'll drive for a couple of miles until you reach the tracks. If you travel much over 3 miles along this dirt road without seeing the grade crossing, then you've gotten off the beaten path.
        At this point, I'll assume you have found the grade crossing and are wondering what's next. My favorite spot is to the east. Cross the tracks and turn left. Often times the road is under a big puddle of water, so walking may be the best option. Luckily it is only a few hundred feet to a great location. What you get is a great shot of afternoon westbound trains climbing toward the summit and working their a** off to do it. A great S curve adds to the tale and pictures are really spectacular with the sky and mountains as a backdrop. This area is often ignored because it is hard to find, but is well worth catching a few westbounds crawling up out of the valley below.
        Beyond this spot the location is rather dull. I have traveled the road between here and Pica, well down in the valley below, but I do not suggest it. It is very rough and there are points I didn't believe I would make it. There are some nice spots along the way, so if you wish to explore, I would do it in a truck with decent clearance. A 4X4 would be a big advantage. Have fun exploring, but be forewarned :o)

        Pica  MP 446.8  There is the easy way into Pica and the not so easy way. First, the not so easy way. If you read above in the Yampai summit description then you know about the hard way. The road will make it from Yampai to Pica and you'll meet at the same location as those who chose the easy way in.
        Pica is an old steam stop and still has remnants of those bygone days. Water tanks and a treatment plant for the water sit rusting away trackside. It offers a nice addition to the sprawling ranch that the line crosses here. The easy way in is from Rte 66, and isn't hard to find. Continuing east from Yampai along 66, you'll enter a massive broad valley that basically stretches to the western mountains near Seligman. In the center of this valley and to the south of the road you'll see the water tanks. Travel along 66 until the tanks are nearly directly south of you and you won't be able to miss the road leading down to the tanks and tracks.  While the area doesn't afford a large amount of options, a few shots of the trains with the ole Santa Fe tanks is worth the short drive off of 66.

        East and West Seligman  MP 429.9 - 427.9  Seligman once served as a crew change and major stop during the steam era and early into the diesel era. The town was much larger then and had more significance. Then came I-40 and the Crookton cutoff, and viola, the town faded, but didn't disappear. It still is the site of a wye and has 3-4 yard tracks that house some local work. The town has gas and 6-7 restaurants and is alive and well with Rte 66 memorabilia.
        But we are here for the trains!  As you press east toward Seligman from Pica along 66 you'll crest the hill and you should notice that the tracks have veered south of the road a little and have also separated some. There are several opportunities along this stretch and the mountain plateaus lend a nice hand to this effort.  Look for the several dirt paths that lead back to the tracks, which never venture more than a few hundred feet from the road, so it isn't like you have to go very far.
        Once into Seligman, you can find the old RR station and the "yard" here. Take any road to the right after getting to the east side of town and they'll take you right to the tracks.  The station is a great sight and is still used for the local BNSF MoW and for the locals.
        Pushing east of Seligman the tracks are descending hard off the mountains. To follow the tracks to the Crookton overpass, and on to the Crookton cutoff, you'll need to follow the paved road that veers right, off of 66, soon after leaving town. This is the original 66 route, while the newer one goes east of town, under the tracks, and out to I-40. *If you go under the tracks, you missed the turn!* You need to go back. The turn is immediately to the east of town, right as civilization ends, and before the trailer park. You'll be following the tracks almost immediately after turning....there you found it :o)

        Crookton MP 420.5  As you follow the road  from Seligman to Crookton you'll find several opportunities to catch the action, though the tracks are not right next to the road most of the way. They stay generally in sight and allow you to catch wide shots of the action. You've reached Crookton when the road goes over the tracks. There is an old overpass, immediately adjacent a newer bridge, where you cross that serves as a nice platform for westbound trains coming out of the cutoff. Feel free to stop and catch a few trains here.
        When you're done at Crookton, you'll have a choice to make. The tracks leave Rte 66 now, and for the next 40 (RR miles) or so head off northeast into the mountains and high plateaus. Rte 66, on the other hand turns southeast toward 1-40 and Ash Fork. If you follow the road, you won't see the Seligman Sub again until you get to Williams, AZ, some 35 driving miles away. If you follow Rte 66, you will see the old, pre-Crookton cutoff, ATSF RR grade. The grade is visible most of the way to Ash Fork and includes the old bridge embankments and the fills used to cross the dips in the landscape.
        If you are feeling adventurous however, you can follow the tracks from Crookton all the way to Williams, and in turn, ensure you won't miss a single train. This is known as the Crookton cutoff, and is explored by using a fairly decent MoW road, which seems to double as a ranch access road. This feature of the road seems to render using a 4X4 more of a pleasure than a major long as the roads are dry. If you see snow, mud, or puddles, and haven't got a 4X4, I would suggest turning around, chances are things will get very sloppy and soon. Better safe than sorry. If all is dry then the road between Crookton and Double A tends to be a pretty good road. It can get a bit bumpy, but I think a car could even make it if you so desired.
        Also remember that you are now above 5300' and climbing toward 7000', so the climate is decidedly different and can do funny things even in the summer. It gets cooler, quicker as you climb, and during the winter you'll need to plan for very cold temperatures and a bitterly cold wind. PS... It is always windy along the Crookton cutoff. Be ready.
        Getting onto the cutoff from Crookton is easy. Immediately north of the overpass, going east from Rte 66 is a ranch road. It is easily seen from the overpass as it heads east into the hills.  Follow this dirt road for about a mile and to your right you'll see a grade crossing. Go over the crossing and turn onto the service road heading east. This road will take you all the way to Williams if you want. Also, you shouldn't need to backtrack any to get out, so not to worry about going 35 miles only to have to turn around if you don't want, or can't go, any farther. In other words, you won't need to go all the way to Williams to get off this road. There are other roads that will get you to I-40 (read on). At various locations you'll be able to take other roads and can exit the cutoff toward Ash Fork or Williams. Next stop Eagle Nest.
        Eagle Nest  MP 407.5  Now things get a bit more complicated for this guide. There is more than one way into Eagle Nest, but in general of the 3 routes I know of, all will accommodate cars, though they can be very bumpy. A truck is still a good idea, but don't feel to limited if you have a Honda Accord, as long as you don't mind that new squeak that will almost certainly appear after your visit! Obviously what you'll find trackside, once your there, is going to be the same regardless of the path you chose. Soooo...
           Approaching from Crookton (from the West):  Read the Crookton description immediately above to get onto the MoW road leading here from the west. As you follow the road from Crookton you'll find many cuts and sweeping curves that make excellent locations to photograph a train in. With the many trains along this line, you should have no problem stopping and catching trains at various locations along the way. In other words, don't pass up that really great "S" curve thinking you need to push on to something better. Trust me, a train will be along soon enough, then you can push on  to that next spot and still expect to see the next train soon. This is the beauty of the Seligman Sub, never a dull moment.
        As you near Eagle Nest you'll make a dramatic rise up a steep hill. To your left you'll see stacks of flagstone, piled up very high. When you reach the crest, you'll be able to see all the way to Eagle Nest, which is located where there are 3 small peaks very close together and nothing but surrounding plateau on the rest of the horizon. From the top of this hill, as the tracks run east, they'll exit out of a deep "S" shaped cut and then enter a long sweeping curve atop a high fill before turning back into the Eagle Nest area. Makes for some great views of the entire train seemingly riding above the trees and plateaus.
           Approaching Eagle Nest from Ash Fork (from the South):  Sevens Ranch road leads from Ash Fork beginning at the east end of town. It is a right hand turn that crosses over the tracks. The tracks you'll cross are part of the BNSF Phoenix sub, and you are just east of the crew change station at Ash Fork. From what I could tell, it is the only protected grade crossing in all of Ash Fork, and certainly the only one on the east side of town. This should make it easy to confirm that you are on the correct road. Sevens Ranch road is paved for several miles, then turns to a really good dirt road. This road becomes rougher as you get farther from Ash Fork and especially once you enter the Kaibab Forest land. Approximately 13 miles after crossing the tracks, you should arrive at Eagle Nest approximately halfway between the east and west crossovers.
           Approaching from Williams (from the East):  There are actually 2 ways to get to Eagle Nest from Williams. Since both ways will get you to Double A first, the next station, scroll down a read on how to get to Double A. From Double A, you'll follow the road around to the west, past the flagstone mines, until you pop out on the other side. You will have left the tracks for just a couple of miles. Once reunited look for any of several short side roads to the right as you head west, which quickly rejoin the MoW road and bring you into Eagle Nest. If you miss the turns, the road will turn decidedly south, eventually intersecting with Sevens Ranch road, where you can then turn right, back to the tracks, or turn left back to Ash Fork. If you are on I-40 and want to go to Eagle Nest first, then using the Ash Fork approach is your best bet.
       So you found Eagle Nest! Now what? As a great location to watch the action from, now you only need to do a little exploring. Here are some hints: about two miles west of the west crossovers, you'll find a really high plateau that the MoW road is coming down from. You can get a great panoramic view of the entire area, and the tracks snaking their way into Eagle Nest. On the opposite end, at the east crossovers, the railroad is located in a short but deep cut. If you climb to the top of that cut, you can get another nice panoramic shot, which is especially good for afternoon westbound trains.
        The tracks in the middle of the east and west crossovers pass through some rolling landscape and allow you to easily vary your elevation for the oncoming trains. There is also a high fill near the east crossovers which can be shot well from grade level. In fact, to get to the east crossovers, you'll use the tunnel under the fill to access the north side of the tracks, turning right, and up to the top of the fill and into the cut where the east crossovers are. At the east end of the east crossover, the tracks arrive heading almost due south, making a great afternoon picture of westbound trains.
        West Eagle Nest is where the autorack derailment of June 2001 occurred, right on top of the crossovers.  See my BNSF Derailment page for some shots of that. Now the area is clear, though the landscape is still scarred by the massive amount of work it took to get everything cleared. In fact, during a visit in early October 2002, a soil company was spraying seed and fertilizer to try and restore the ground a bit. The area a few miles west of the crossovers is atop a hill overlooking the area and affords some spectacular shots of the surrounding area.

        Double A  MP 395.1  Like Eagle Nest, Double A has several access roads in, with the main road in allowing even the most humble of vehicles to travel and hopefully arrive fairly unscathed. The easiest way to reach Double A is from Williams, AZ and is done by following Rte. 66 west out of town, over I - 40. Just past the interchange is a road that is marked Double A, not Cucamonga like on most maps. If you see signs indicating Cataract Lake you're in the right spot. From the interstate to the tracks is a little shy of 14 miles along a short portion of paved road, then along a fairly decent dirt road. Remember that you are headed into a sparsely populated area. Have gas, spare tire(s), etc. The road is well traveled (relatively speaking) by the locals, so if you get into trouble flag someone down. They'll be the ones missing most of their front teeth. :-)
        Other routes into Double A include continuing east from the crossovers at Eagle Nest along the north MoW road until you reach Double A. This can be accomplished by going under the fill at Eagles Nest, through a short concrete viaduct, then turning right and heading up to the cut that the east crossovers are in. Follow the MoW road on around and the road will bring you to Double A. You'll start from Eagle Nest on the north side of the tracks, then cross at a grade crossing to the south side midway between the stations, which is the side you'll want to be on approaching Double A. You'll see flagstone mines just to the west of Double A and this will give you an indication that you are getting close.
        Finally, following the MoW from Williams is you other option. See the Williams description for that a little down the page.
        So what does Double A offer? If you have followed the main road in from Williams, (Double A road not the MoW road), the first thing you'll see is a huge fill that curves into the scene from the north (east crossovers) and heads out almost due west. In my opinion this is the largest fill in terms of length and height that I know of anywhere along the cutoff, and since I have driven every inch of the cutoff several times, I feel confident in saying that! :o) To get the best shot with the fill in it, wait for afternoon westbounds on the west side of the fill. A connecting road leads to the tracks (to the MoW road) from the main road coming in. You'll find it soon after the main drag turns toward the west after seeing the fill directly ahead of you and before it heads off into the forest.
        You could also go to the east side of the fill for morning eastbound trains, but the road climbing the hillside there is the MOST treacherous part of the entire route between Crookton and Williams. Beginning immediately east of the viaduct that passes under the fill at Double A, the MoW road, that to this point has been very nice to travel, turns into the nightmare of back roads. On 2 different climbs in a little less than a mile, this road will make men of boys! It is an extremely steep and very rocky! The rocks are very loose and sharp! Combined with their size (big), they present a notable hazard to even the best of tires and vehicles! The possibility of some very bad things happening to your tires is very real, which this far out in the boonies is especially worrisome. Travel in either direction is troublesome to say the least, but an eastward accent only enhances the danger. The rocks will slip and shift as you climb the steep road (exceeding 45 degrees?!?), and as they move so do you. I did this ONCE and never again. I still can't believe I made it! If you approach form the west you can sort of "fall down" the bad parts of the road, hopefully sparing your tires any hugh gashes and becoming very stuck in the middle of nowhere. This area will require some thought, though getting to it is easy, just getting past requires a little more planning. On a brighter note, seeing morning eastbounds from the east side of the fill is a must, so when you go there drive as close as you feel comfortable and walk the remaining portion to the top, it really isn't that far. Or approach from the east (Williams) and just stop prior to the descent. Again going down is much more appealing than going up this short stretch of road.
        The big fill as Double A is very impressive, but other than this the area is somewhat non-descript. There are some really steep cuts with sheer cliff walls that the RR passes through, between Double A and Eagle Nest. These are easily seen as you travel the road between the two stations, and are worth looking into.

        Perrin  MP 385.6  ***As of October 2005 there are large heavy iron gates at the west end  prior to reaching Perrin, on the road in from Williams. There are also similar heavy gates at the Williams end of the road. At this time, hiking might be the only way into Perrin.*** The only way into Perrin that I know of is by following the MoW road by the tracks either east from Double A or west from Williams. I suggest getting to Perrin from Williams rather than attempting to come in from Double A. (See above in the Double A section.) From the east crossovers at Perrin to Williams, the road has had some minor improvements in the form of crushed lava rock being rolled into the dirt. I assume this is to improve the access for the natural gas trucks, which during the winter need to reach the tanks for the heated switches and crossovers. I have never tried this during the winter, so I don't know how well it works. Obviously well enough for those large trucks.
    Perrin's unique feature that will be appreciated by railfans is the spectacularly deep cut that it must pass through as it pushes along the Crookton cutoff. Like the large fill at Double A, this seems to be the biggest cut along the sub.  At a minimum of 75 feet deep at the pinnacle, it is like standing along the mountain sides to get your shot. Most cuts are boring, not this one.
        You'll also find that the road will ride high above the tracks with views being afforded from many angles because of this perspective.  As with most stations along this section of the Seligman Sub, there are crossovers at both East and West Perrin. Pix 1 , 2

        Williams While not a true station on the BNSF Seligman sub (Williams Jct. is a few miles east of town), it is important to this guide to mention the city of Williams, AZ. The BNSF basically makes a glancing pass across the extreme north end of town, passing over a viaduct above the tracks of the Grand Canyon Railway. Other than this passing shot, there really isn't anything to see in town when it comes to the Seligman Sub, yet other railroading activities are very evident. Williams serves as the headquarters for the Grand Canyon Railway, and BNSF's Phoenix sub track pass through downtown immediately adjacent to the GCRR's. The GCRR has a round trip train to the Grand Canyon a day, and the BNSF runs 10-12 trains daily down the Phoenix line. The town is friendly to railfans and can serve as a great base of operations for exploring this portion of the Seligman Sub. Food, lodging, and gas are all readily available. Williams is where you'll enter or exit the Crookton cutoff on its eastern end, and is therefore important to this guide for that reason. The Phoenix sub, between Williams and Ash Fork, constitutes the original alignment of the Seligman subdivision prior to the Crookton cutoff. When the cutoff was installed the AT&SF bypassed Williams and laid the line north of town.
        Crookton Cutoff access from Williams, AZ.    ***As of October 2005 there are large heavy iron gates at the east end Airport Rd MoW access. There is also a similar gate on the east side of Perrin, near Double A.  At this time, hiking might be the only way into Perrin.***  Since this is the eastern start of the cutoff, you'll obviously want to head west to follow the tracks. One of the benefits of the Williams access to the Crookton cutoff is that you can minimize the potential hazards of following the MoW road along a very bumpy and treacherous portion of the MoW near Double A. If you wish to travel the road between Double A and Williams, it is advisable to begin in Williams and travel west to Double A, as opposed to heading east from Double A to access this section of the cutoff. (See Double A description for more info)
        If you wish to follow the line out of Williams, along the MoW road, you'll need to get to the tracks via Airport Rd. Following the MoW access is going to require a high clearance vehicle. If you try and use a car, you'll most likely get stuck. There are several locations where the rocks and boulders along the road will simply high end a car. I drive a GMC Sonoma, this is probably the bare minimum required. 4 X 4s are not necessary, as mine is not, but would be so if there is any hint of mud, snow, etc. I was here in the snow once and it was all I could do to get out. Your biggest problem is turning around, since there is not much room to do this. The stretch of road I refer to is the green line on the map. To get here follow Airport Rd. north out of Williams, (Airport Rd seems to be the main N. / S. rd in town), the dirt road begins immediately after going under the tracks (3 miles from town maybe) and is to the left. Remember this road is VERY treacherous between Perrin and Double A. Don't let the relative appearance of the dirt road where it meets Airport Rd, fool you, it deteriorates rather quickly.
        The other route to the cutoff out of Williams leads to Double A. From Williams follow Rt. 66 west out of town and go over I - 40. Just past the interchange is a road that is marked Double A, not Cucamonga like on most maps. If you see signs indicating Cataract Lake you're in the right spot. From the interstate to the tracks is a little shy of 14 miles along a short portion of paved road, then along a fairly decent dirt road.

        Williams Jct.  MP 375.0  serves as the northern terminal of BNSF's Phoenix Sub. It is also the location of Amtrak's Williams stop for the Southwest Chief. Tall Ponderosa pines dominate the landscape and the junction sits atop the crest of the mountains east of Williams. Eastbound trains have a bit more climbing to do before reaching the Arizona Divide, and the long climb that started way back in Needles is almost over. As for the Amtrak stop it is merely a slab of concrete along the RoW. Since both trains (#3 and #4) arrive at night there are a row of lights that the conductor turns on when the train arrives. There is a siding here for the Chief, but my observations have been that they simply use main #1 and the DS runs trains (if any) around them on main #2. This is easy with the double crossovers at both ends of the junction.
        Getting to the junction is fairly simple. From I-40, take exit 165 and turn south. As the road swings west toward Williams you'll see Mountain Man Trl to the left, less than a mile from the interstate. Turn onto this road and follow it approx. 2 miles to the junction. If you go under the BNSF tracks before turning you've gone too far. After making the turn you'll see a building housing AZ DOT trucks and road maintenance equipment immediately ahead. The road veers left and turns to dirt at the DOT yard. Follow this dirt road for about a mile, it then veers south (right) and becomes paved the rest of the way to the tracks. After going through the gate (always opened) the road returns to dirt. The Amtrak platform is to the left and there is a paved grade crossing by the platform. This crossing leads to a road that travels along the south side of the tracks. Turning east (left) after crossing the tracks will lead to a paved road named Garland Prairie Rd (roughly 1 mile), which intersects I-40 at exit 167, and can serve as a reverse way into the junction. I actually made my first trip to Williams Jct., backtracking in from this road. It is located immediately south of the grade crossing at a location known as Bootlegger Crossing.
        Williams Jct. is a great place to watch the action. Signals at the crossovers warn of approaching trains and you can usually hear the detector warn of eastbound trains less than 3 miles from the junction. There is also the possibility of catching some action coming off the Peavine, so be ready! There are dirt roads leading west along the tracks (north side) that will get you to the bridge just east of Williams, and provide additional opportunities to shoot the trains. Once at the bridge I couldn't find a way down to the street, so be aware you may have to turn around to get out.

        Maine  MP 362.5  Maine is a well known location. It provides a great backdrop with the mountain peaks and trees dominating the view. The location is also easily accessed from I-40 and is great for morning eastbound and afternoon westbound trains. You need to use Exit 178 off of I-40. The exit is named Parks, for a small town just north of the freeway. You need to go south and will arrive at the tracks very quickly (less than a mile) after turning off the interstate. There are signals on the east end of Maine and will warn of approaching eastbound trains. The line of sight is fairly short though, less then 2 miles east and probably only a half mile west, so be ready for the trains as they will arrive quickly. There are plenty of places to park and angle to explore, especially while working in the mountain vistas. Access roads will lead to other areas too, so a little exploring goes a long way. These roads tend to be muddy though so proceed with caution.

        Bellemont  MP 356.3  Bellemont is a nice place to get trackside. On the south side of the interstate is an east / west road the intersects the exit immediately at the top of the overpass and runs parallel to I-40, between the tracks and the freeway. This road will lead to a couple of good spots. If you travel east along the road until it turns to dirt you'll be at the site of a very bad derailment that occurred back on Halloween day of 2000. See some shots and info from that here. It is all cleaned up now and within reason is nearly impossible to tell it happened. The location is a nice one for morning eastbound trains as the make a climb up a slight embankment and a sweeping turn toward the north.
        Back at the freeway exit, if you turn west (right), the road will lead to several left turns that go back to the tracks which are now roughly a 1/2 mile from the road. Several spots can be accessed, but the tracks are generally straight and somewhat boring. If you keep going down the road it leads to what appears to be an abandoned gravel pit. The tracks are just beyond the pit. The road dead ends here. (at least what I could find)

Go East on the Seligman Sub
Go West on the Seligman Sub
or jump to:
Needles to Yampai Summit (including Topock, Kingman Cyn, and Crozier Cyn)
Bellemont to Winslow (including the Arizona Divide @ Riordan, Flagstaff and Canyon Diablo)

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