Friday, July 01, 2011

Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad, Arizona - "doodlebug"

From: "Steve Franklin"

I am researching some historical facts regarding the 1887 railroad that went from Maricopa Arizona to Tempe Arizona and then to Phoenix by the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad. I have an old picture undated of the train used and heard it was called a "doodlebug". It was used to transport passengers to the Phoenix area as they did not have a rail line at that time and Maricopa was the closest east/west connection point to the Southern Pacific railroad. It does not look like a steam locomotive to me. What type of train was used and what number was it?

I know the company was incorporated in San Francisco and operated in Arizona and was not affiliated with SPRR. I also know it changed names to the Maricopa & Phoenix & Salt River Valley RR and then a few years later back to its original names. Are there any pictures other then the one I have on it. Doesn't appear to be much detailed information available on the Internet regarding this train and rail road. I live in this town now so I am very interested to learn its history from when it first started as Maricopa Wells, then Maricopaville, and then Maricopa in the 1880's. I am also trying to locate any surveys or maps that detail the exact route it took from Maricopa to Tempe though the Indian Reservation. I have read on some sites that they believe state highway 347 is built on top of the old train tracks sometime around 1935 but no proof has been able to be found to support that claim. It does make sense that they would have used the same route for the highway since it is what I travel to get to my work in Tempe.

This rail road was the turning point of the development and growth of the Phoenix area so I am very surprised not more information is available. I can not even find an old photograph of the July 4th 1887 first train to Phoenix ceremony as apparently the city of phoenix celebrated it with huge fan fare. Any info on this train such as manufacture, model type, train number, pictures, etc. would be great appreciated.

—Steve Franklin

Maricopa Train

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