Project Description

Work has finally begun to move the Arizona Railway Museum from its 20 year home at Armstrong Park to Tumbleweed Park. The museum move to Tumbleweed will provide many of the upgrades the museum would like to do but were not feasible at the current Armstrong location. The museum will occupy approximately 6 acres allowing for expansion of the number of tracks available to display cars and locomotives. Also planned is a multi-purpose building to house displays of artifacts, archival storage and a meeting / conference room.

The track plan has 5 parallel tracks for display of rolling equipment and a sixth track for a changing exhibit and ability to run around cars for switching purposes. A 2 track wide 120 foot long covered restoration shop will allow museum volunteers to work on the rebuilding of cars and locomotives out of the Arizona sun.

The museum will be located in the southwest corner of the park at Ryan Road and the railroad tracks. The opposite corner (NW) of the park is McQueen and Germann.

ARM Tumbleweed Track Plan

Progress Photos

Elevated view of museum - August 2006   Aerial Photo from Google Earth - May 2007

Aerial Photo from Google Earth - June 2007  

Elevated view - July 2007
Pouring the crossing.  October 2008   New gate being built.  October 2008
New building waiting for placement.  October 2008   Concrete crossing form.  October 2008

June 6, 2009

In preparation for the delivery of Santa Fe boxcar, the work crew placed spare set of freight trucks onto tracks.

George Barker checks the chains.         Russ Lassuy operates the boom.        Selecting the right equipment.
Slowly...   Slowly....   Done.  

March 10, 2009

The city weed spray guy has been out to spray round up and promises to get us monthly. Next for us is to start moving from the bullpen at Armstrong to the bullpen at Tumbleweed. The city has approved the plans for the building and is waiting for the county. The deal with the county is a revision to the flood plain requirements. This will be important to us in that the height of the pad will be greatly reduced and also should allow us an easier installation of the shop building down the road. The city plans on us being in the building and completely out of Armstrong by the time we open in the fall. Jeff Crosby has installed the 240 volt and the 480 volt receptacles on panels A and B. All of the hard wiring is complete. He still needs to install the 120 duplex outlets and the single phase outlet. The city inspector was down and did not like the method of attachment to the service entrance that had been proposed. He did suggest an alternate method which Jeff checked out but it does not work. Next step is to go back to the design guys and get them to put in writing their suggestion and then we believe the city will accept it.

March 5, 2009

The city sent 2 guys over to do grading work around the crossings and bring in the remaining rock. The remaining work to be done includes rock between tracks 1 & 2 on the north side of the crossing; Dirt and rock between tracks 2 & 3 north of the crossing. Russ Lassuy was able to get the locks on the south side of the building re-keyed so the doors can be locked. The city provided plans for the sewer and water installation for review. We found a couple items missing, the main one being the telephone line. Jerry McGonigle and George Barker have built the gates for the interior side of the bullpen fence. Next step is to begin moving the pallet racks from Armstrong to Tumbleweed. Craig and Bob sprayed the weeds with round-up and the city weed guy sprayed the entire facility with pre-emergent in hopes of controlling growth of green stuff this year.

October 16, 2008

Landscaping and rock work need to be continued. We are going to contact some local landscaping companies to see if we can trade grading work for railroad ties. The bullpen area at the north end has been filled and graded. We are now watering the area to compact the soil. Following this we will install the chain link fence. At present it appears we have most of the materials to do the work with the exception of a few fence parts, post mix and the gravel. The city will be asked to provide the base gravel and the top coat of asphalt millings. The entire museum grounds have been cleared of weeds. This includes the track outside the fence leading to the Union Pacific connection. The city guy then came in and sprayed pre-emergent weed killer inside the fenced area. The forms for the crossing on tracks 1, 2 and 3 were built by Ken Dickinson and we had a day labor crew put in a base of gravel and the wire mesh. The concrete was poured and finished on October 10. Work on this will continue with tracks 4, 5, 6 and 7. We expect to pour concrete again in 3 or 4 weeks. It should be finished by Thanksgiving. On Wednesday October 1, Don Tolle of the city met with the engineering firm that is designing the pad for the display building. Also present was a representative from the firm that took down the display building and the apparatus building. The city plans to use the same firm to re-install the buildings. They plan to bring in water, sewer and power to the display building. We will be responsible to provide utilities to the tin building. The display building will have to be on a raised pad to comply with the flood control district rules. It will also require an A.D.A. ramp. It is hoped that the tin shed will be able to be constructed on a ground level concrete pad.

September 17, 2008


Landscaping and rock work need to be continued. The city supplied contractor is was on site September 13 to complete the pad for the bullpen area on the north end. The entire yard was weed sprayed and a weed control party was held on September 3. This will be on ongoing effort to control the weeds. The city weed guy assured us he would do a better job in the future. On September 10 and 12 we had day labor help on site to do weed work. The track area, triangle and most of the retention were cleared.  The city is pushing out all capital projects 3 to 5 years. This will affect our building, parking lot and the Ryan Road improvement. The city has stated they think they have the funding in place to install the fire department buildings to our location. The buildings were delivered to the site on September 9. The dormitory building will be utilized for the artifact displays, gift shop, archival storage and administration. The apparatus building will house the wood shop and air brake shops along with some raw stock storage. The SP 4740 caboose that is currently the gift shop will be furnished as a configurable car for kids birthday parties or general meeting space. The east side gate has been replaced with a roller type and relocated to line up with the crossing. The north end gate was replaced with a 20 foot swing gate. The track gate still needs attention. Ken Dickinson is designing / building the forms for the concrete crossings. We expect to pour concrete in the next few weeks.

December 2007

The conduits for the signal display area have been put in place. A trench from panel “A” south connects to an east / west trench parallel to the fence line. Ten conduit stubs are provided. December 15th a work party was held to pull the wire for panels A and B. Russ Lassuy scheduled the use of the city boom truck and the parks tractor. Jeff Crosby led the project and with only minor issues the main wiring from the service entrance to both panels was put in place. January 12th is the scheduled day to wire panels ‘A’ and ‘B’. The 480 and 240 connectors are available and Jeff Crosby will source the commercial equipment. On December 27th a small work party led by Russ Lassuy moved signal equipment from the bullpen at Armstrong to Tumbleweed. This will enable Richard Poyer to start manufacture of the bolt bases. Additional rock has been ordered by the city to continue the landscaping. Russ acquired a pipe to be used in the trench so the crossing can be continued to the east. Once the crossing is in we can lay out the base and electrical for the crossing arm signal.

November 2007

More rock work has been completed on the crossings and motor car set off tracks. The third motor car track has been built. The Union Pacific signal guys delivered a case for the relays to operate the crossing gate. Will Oliver has volunteered his time to wire all the signals to the level of function we desire. We have to put them in place. This requires digging foundations, pouring concrete, mounting bolts properly placed and electrical connection availability. The contract for the design of the Pioneer Parkway extension to Ryan Road and our parking lot was on the city council agenda Thursday night 11-8-07. The wire for the feeds to panels A and B has been delivered and placed in the green boxcar.

September 2007

Rock work has started on the crossings and motor car set off tracks. After measuring our current equipment it was decided we need to add a third set out track. This is in progress, sub grade is built, ties are in place and rail has been cut to length. The electrical permit is complete. The permit is in the crew car on top of the circuit breaker box. Jeff Crosby has installed the transformer for the air compressor contactor which completes this job. Jeff also wired in the air dryer auto dump motor. This should reduce the amount of water in our air lines. Our friends in the Union Pacific signal department delivered a complete crossing gate assembly. The south end of the property has been cleaned. Some equipment was moved to storage on the bulkhead flatcar, the equipment cabinet was moved to the east fence and a general trash assessment was made. A location has been established for the flagpole on the east side of the property between the entrance gate and the tie retaining wall. Ed Hercel will check on the fittings we need to convert the power pole to a flagpole. Ed will also build a rock garden at the base of the pole after it is in the ground. The south end of the yard, east of the water stand has been designated for the signal display area. Electrical will be installed with allowances for future pad construction. The crossing gate will go between the fence and track 6. The operating crossing signals will go in the wide aisles and the post type in the narrow aisles. The U.P. signal guys have said they will wire stuff after physical installation. We need to provide the conduit and 120 volt AC to the signal box. Craig and Bart pulled the measurement tape through the conduit for panels A and B feed wire. Panel A measured at 450 feet and panel B at 430 feet. Measurements forwarded to Jeff Crosby to get a firm price on the wire. Jeff was able to get a great deal on the wire….6000 feet of 250 MCM and 1000 feet of #2 AWG for a total price of $7,240.00. The wire will be shipped to the distributor and Jeff will work with Russ for delivery to the museum site. This will save us the transportation costs. The city has selected a design firm to do the engineering and drawings for the extension of Pioneer Parkway and the upgrade of Ryan road from the railroad tracks east to McQueen Road. This is a funded program for city year 2007 which ends June 30, 2008.

July 2007

Ed Hercel has covered the surface of the retaining wall with rock as the first part of the landscaping. Bart and Russ met with the city to discuss getting a permit to complete the electrical on panels “A” & “B”. The permit has been granted with a couple requests for clarification on the wire size and ground wire application.. Bart contacted Wright Engineering to obtain the remaining documents. Jeff Crosby was able to get us a good price on the wire; $1383.00 per 1000 foot spool of 250 MCM aluminum wire. Wire will not be ordered until we have rest of the documents for the permit. We are able to use the aluminum wire for only the main feed from the service entrance to the panel. The air piping on both sides of the mid-yard crossing is complete. This gives us the ability to supply air to cars on the north side of the crossing and any cars not coupled to the far south end. Sheets of galvanized steel have been hung on the south end fence west of the crossing. This will provide some protection from the elements for those working at the benches as well as hide the projects in process from the roadway. The landscaping process will be completed in phases. Phase 1 will be the narrow aisles and the crossing. This will require approximately 250 tons of crushed rock and 80 tons of decomposed granite. An email was sent to the city requesting delivery of these materials and the delivery started on July 18. The motor car set out tracks have been built. Ballast needs to be put in place prior to the cars being moved off the mainline. The Union Pacific signal maintainers are changing highway crossing flashers from the bulb type to the L.E.D. type. The old style heads are being donated to the museum. In addition they are removing crossing signals and gates from the river line. A complete gate assembly from 16th street and University has been donated to the museum.

May 2007

Ed Hercel has completed the retaining wall under the transformer / service entrance pad. Landscaping rockwork will complete this area. Ed Johnson and crew have completed the mid yard crosswalks for all tracks. Re-location of artifacts from the Armstrong site has begun with the remaining items being the air motor and the boom section for the C-45. In addition the other items to be moved are located in the bullpen. The water line between tracks 4 and 5 is complete and the air line serving the south end of all tracks is complete. Next up from a utilities point will be the air lines on both sides of the mid yard crossing. Russell Lassuy is scheduling and implementing the utilities projects. Ties have been placed for motor car set out tracks and rail has been marked for cutting. Wheel stops are in place on all tracks thanks to an Eagle Scout project under the direction of member Richard Poyer’s son. Also part of the project was the installation of red targets on all of the switch stands. The current bond election has the funding for our shop canopy and the display building. The C.I.P. (capital improvement program) for 2008 has the funding for extension of Pioneer Parkway and our parking lot. The 2008 cycle starts on July 1. We have made a request to the city to allow use of aluminum wire for the main feed from the service entrance to sub panels “A” & “B”. The electrical inspector suggested we may need to have a plan review and apply for a new permit. This question has been forwarded to parks management.

Rebuilt and painted wheel stops.

Water stand pipes between tracks 4 and 5.

Ties laid out for motor car set out tracks.

Retaining wall.

February 2007

Track work at Tumbleweed is complete. Our next steps will be the installation of the remaining air and water lines; the retaining wall under the transformer; motor car tracks and moving the remainder of Armstrong stuff. When most of this is complete work will start on the landscaping portion.

The yard viewed from the north end.

Work has started on the retaining wall.

January 2007

Under the direction of Russ Lassuy the air line between tracks 2 and 3 has been installed. The air compressor has been wired and is functional. The dryer still needs to be checked out. The tee to track 3 has been installed and the system tested for leaks. The tin cans covering the track 2, 4 and 5 tees have been dynamited and replaced with plugs. All of the water stands for tracks 2 and 3 are installed and functioning. All useable ballast rock has been moved from the Armstrong site to Tumbleweed. It took our intrepid city worker 2 weeks to clean up Armstrong and it took about 6 hours for Mountain States to install it. The major amount of track installation is complete. All switches installed and all but 50 feet of display track. The end of track 5 will be the last piece. Ballasting has started with track 2 and the switches. Switch stands, alignment and leveling are in process over the next 2 weeks. We have received donations from the Springer Foundation and Mr. Mike Carr to the facilities fund. This should enable completion of the power stands A and B.

Track 5 and the run around under construction as viewed from the north end.

Ballast arrives.

All track is in ready for the tamping / leveling process to start.

Ballast delivered with tamping started on track 4.

The tamper is working.

September 4, 2006

The Arizona Railway Museum has MOVED!

Our new site at Tumbleweed Park is now open.  Our new location is listed on the main page as well as a map.  Ryan road is a little hard to find as it is not a signaled intersection.  Also, Ryan Road is dirt, but we expect this will change shortly.  Please bear with us as out transition to the new site continues to improve every weekend.  As usual, if we're there, we're open.  This year we will be trying something new.  For an nominal fee of $2 per adult ($5 for families/groups) visitors will be able to tour INSIDE six of our passenger cars.  They represent examples of Business Car, Sleeper, Diner, Coach, Lounge type cars.  As always, entrance to the grounds remains free.

May 18, 2006

SRP has set their transformer and run wire. Power to park was to be turned on May 5 but that did not happen. Rosenden Electric has run wire from power box ‘C’ to the main switch. This includes the light poles and stub poles.

Bart met with the city and 3DI on May 9 to discuss the next phase. City still says they are out of money.

City representatives and 3DI will do walk through after SRP turns on the power. If all is accepted 3DI will turn over keys to the city. At that time we will get keys. Once site is accepted we will be allowed to move cars from Armstrong to track 1.

First track construction will be track 3. This will be done with a 90 pound switch to a compensation joint for 75 pound rail. We currently have the rail to do this track. This will not start until July when Mountain States has a window to work.

Following track 3 construction we will move the remaining cars from Armstrong to Tumbleweed.

Removal of all tracks at Armstrong will take place next. When all materials are staged at Tumbleweed construction will begin with installation of all switches. Following the switches will be the run around and then tracks 4 and 5 will be built to a point south of where the crossing will be.

If there is money left at this point construction of track 2 will begin and continue until funds run out.

At some point in this process the construction of electrical panels ‘D’ and ‘E’ will take place. There is an opportunity at this point for us to be involved with some cost savings. At a minimum the contractor will pull the conductors. If we are able to supply any of the materials or labor for the power station then those savings will go to track construction. I have asked for part numbers of what is needed. Another area we may help is the concrete pad for the power station.

April 2, 2006

1-20-06 Trenching for the electric has started.

1-23-06 Met with 3DI and Aaron Woodward to revise electrical plan moving boxes in line with power poles and installing Plymouth plug on east side of track 1.

1-23-06 Installation of U.P. switch started today. Cuts made in mainline rail and old ballast cleared.

1-28-06 Switch is installed and operational, the Union Pacific has been storing M.O.W. equipment on the lead. Mountain States has completed phase one track installation. Trenching and conduit work continues.

2-16-06 Installation of the fence started and it looks good. Couple issues with gate placements to be resolved at next team meeting.

2-24-06 Light poles installed.

2-28-06 Wire pulled in light poles to junction boxes. No additional wire to be pulled until SRP is in place.

3-1-06 Met with Rich Rankin (3DI) and Aaron Woodward to discuss fence gate placement and future phases.

3-3-06 Fence construction completed and gates installed.

3-6-06 Phase 2 approved by city council.

3-15-06 480 volts switch panel installed and 75 KVA transformer in place.

3-20-06 Met with city staff to review phasing plan

Phase 1 Mainline switch, 2 tracks (2400 feet), Fence, lights, power to site, 1 power stand, removal of track at Armstrong Park.

Phase 2 4000 feet of track with switches

Phase 3 ARM internal utilities, city supplied Port-A-Johns, water to site

Phase 4 Landscaping, Hamilton road, Parking lot (FY 06-07 for city)

February 27, 2006

View from the east side looking west at the the fence line and light poles.

November 5, 2005

Construction has begun and this former alfalfa field will soon be home to the Arizona Railway Museum. This view from Ryan Road looking north will soon house 6 railroad tracks, a restoration shop and display building.