Condo owners at The Cays have access to some of the most exciting and interesting opportunities in the valley of Arizona. Our condos are surrounded by a unique and beautiful landscape that offers sun and adventures all year long. Not so long ago, this modern paradise was being forged from the old West, and the major change came on trains.
If you like to look at vintage railway cars, the Arizona Railway Museum is the place to go. It has almost 50 old railway cars on display at its Chandler location. They range from ones built in the late 1800s to relatively modern ones from the mid-1900s.
Many were directly involved in the history and economic development of the state and the Southwest. But the rail buffs who volunteer at the museum have accumulated cars from all over the country, offering an eclectic overview of cars throughout the last century.
The Arizona Railway Museum commemorates the long history of trains in the state, from logging, mining and freight terminals. It houses a number of exhibits, including two railroad cars that are listed in the national Register of Historic Places.
What It Has
The museum building has exhibits and artifacts from earlier times in railroad history as well as a gift shop. The display yard has an extensive collection of almost 50 old railroad cars.
Here is a look at some of its vintage cars:
- Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive SP 2562 and Tender 8365, built in 1900. Both are the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Southern Railway Business Car built in 1897, nicknamed the “Desert Valley.” It was the President’s car on the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad in 1901.
- The Federal 98 Pullman Private Car built in 1911.
- Log car built in 1917 for the Southwest forest industry.
- A refrigerator car built in 1920 for the Santa Fe Railroad.
- A horse car built in 1937 for the Southern Pacific Transportation Company.
- A Toronto Transit streetcar built in 1930.
- A three-compartment tank car built in 1937.
- A railroad steam wrecking crane and tool car built in 1900. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Union Pacific Diner car, built in 1949 and called “The City of Chandler.”
- A dome car from the Plaza Taos, built in 1950.
- The Diablo Canyon coach car built in 1937.
History of Railroads in Arizona
Historians have a saying about this area, “Wealth came to Arizona on rails.” For the last century there has been about 2000 miles of track in the state, which were essential for connecting every sizable city to one another.
The state has a wide variety of terrains. Rail cars had to snake their way over mountains and canyons and through the desert. Railways opened up the land to the copper companies and lumber giants. Without them, Arizona industry wouldn’t have been able to bring in the raw materials it needed, or ship out their goods to the other states for sale.
Tourism has been important since the beginning of the state, due to the presence of two transcontinental railroads that linked it to both coasts.
The People behind It
The museum was started in 1983 as an educational and historical nonprofit organization. The group is dedicated to acquiring, restoring, preserving and displaying equipment, artifacts and rolling stock of railways past and present. The museum relies on membership dues and contributions from the public.
It started out with just a caboose and steam engine. Now it boasts almost 50 cars in various stages of restoration by the volunteer train buffs.
Visit the Museum
The Arizona Railway Museum, a volunteer organization, is open Saturday and Sunday from early September through the middle of May. It is closed during the hot days of summer.
It is located at 330 E. Ryan Road in Chandler. The phone number is 480-821-1108. The website is azrymuseum.org.
The display yard and building are free. Display cars cost $2 a person or $5 for families and groups to view. Group tours are available and must be scheduled in advance. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parties for kid’s birthdays or other occasions can rent a passenger car. Contact email@example.com.
Visit The Cays
If you are interested in buying a Condo at the Cays, contact us and come and see why living in Arizona is perfect for you!
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