Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park

WHO IS SAHUARO CENTRAL RAILROAD HERITAGE PRESERVATION SOCIETY, INCORPORATED
and
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ADOBE MOUNTAIN DESERT RAILROAD PARK

Sahuaro Central Railroad Heritage Preservation Society, Incorporated, is the creator and promoter of the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park and Museum, originally known as Railplex. Sahuaro Central leased an 80 acre parcel of Land, which is now a portion of the approximate 160 acre railroad park, from the Maricopa County, Arizona, Parks and Recreation Department, in an agreement signed on February 21st, 1989. The term of the no-fee lease is for a period of twenty-five years with an option of an additional twenty-five years.

In early 1992 the Arizona Model Railroading Society/Arizona Garden Railway Society (AMRS) was forced out of a location on the second story of a shop located on 26th Avenue and McDowell Road. Prior to vacating the facility they petitioned Sahuaro Central for approval to locate in the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park. AMRS and Sahuaro Central entered into an agreement in February of 1992.

AMRS relocated to a vacant store in the Valley West Mall Shopping Center (Manistee Town Center), at 59th Avenue and Northern Avenue now home of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. During their stay at the mall AMRS began planning for the move to Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park. The Maricopa Live Steamers (MLS), whose base of operations was in the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, Arizona also entered into an agreement with Sahuaro Central in 1992.

In 1994, during a period when the County was having financial problems, the Maricopa County Recreation Services vacated the Park Ranger station at Adobe Mountain Park. Sahuaro Central was contacted to see if they would be interested in adding the 2.9 acres to the existing agreement. Sahuaro Central agreed because it is adjacent to and connected to the section already under lease. With the existence of a habitable structure on the site this gave Sahuaro Central a place for a base of operations at the Park. The former Ranger Station currently houses the Sahuaro Central headquarters, the museum and other properties owned by Sahuaro Central. In January of 1996 Sahuaro Central invited AMRS and MLS to use the facilities until such time as the model railroad groups could undertake the erection of their own buildings.

With Sahuaro Central financing AMRS erected a twenty by thirty foot metal building which now houses the Huntley HO train layout which is a part of the Sahuaro Central Museum collection. Sahuaro Central, with County Recreation Services approval, remodeled the Ranger Station building to make it more user friendly for meetings and museum operations.

MLS began their progress at the Park in March, 1996 and completed the loop of 7-1/2" gauge track around the museum building in November of that year. The steamers installed five steaming bays and transfer table at the Sahuaro Central Museum compound now known as Pottsville. In the years 1996 through 1999 nearly three miles of track was placed outside the Sahuaro Central area into the large tract of Railroad Park land to the West and South. Signal systems, grade crossings, station platforms, picnic areas and towns are being developed along the routes. When the four-track terminal, dispatch building and the first sea containers started to arrive the MLS base of operations moved to Adobe City. As of the spring of 2004 the live steamers have placed more than eight miles of track in the Railroad Park.

Sahuaro Central is the promoter of the Railroad Park. The development of the land designated for Sahuaro Central use and the common areas of the Park, road easements, parking areas, utility easements, etc., is controlled by the Sahuaro Central board of directors. The board of directors consists of two members from Sahuaro Central and two members from each of the tenant railroad groups in the Railroad Park. Each model railroad group leasing from Sahuaro Central is responsible for the development of their areas. All site plans, permanent improvements and the utility installations for those structures must be approved by Sahuaro Central, Maricopa County Recreation Services, Maricopa County Flood Control and the permitting agencies of the City of Phoenix.

Edited, 2004, Ellie Barbieri