Screenshot: ACEofSPUD (YouTube)

If you’ve ever driven through Arizona between Tucson and Benson, you might have noticed a strange sight: Nearly 300 yellow Union Pacific locomotives are lined up neatly, end-to-end, on the tracks, stretching on as far as the eye can see. They’re not abandoned. They’re just... waiting.

Waiting for what, exactly? Well, a purpose. Last year, Fox 10 Phoenix spoke with the Union Pacific director of media relations, Jeff DeGraff, about the sight. He said that because of a slow down in manufacturing, not all of the locomotives are necessary. Union Pacific is storing them there until it needs to use them again.


From the story:

“Finding a good, open space with arid, dry climate there that’s good for the machines, we don’t have to worry about too much rust and rain and things like that, so it’s a good spot for us. We were fortunate to use that piece of track that we could use,” explained DeGraff.

The locomotives stretch on for about three miles and are apparently visible to drivers from the Interstate 10.

And because the locomotives cost between $1 million to $3 million each, it’s not like Union Pacific is just going to let them sit there and crumble. The outlet notes that the engines are checked and maintained regularly. They need to be in good shape so that when they’re needed again, they’re ready immediately.


Here’s some footage of all the locomotives.

DeGraff reminds people that while the locomotives are cool to look at, they are “not a tourist attraction.” Basically, you can look, but don’t go near them, as they are still private property.


I don’t know about you, but for me all those disused locomotives parked like that makes for an infinitely lonely sight. Like we spend so much of our time waiting for trains and now these trains here are waiting for us. They have no jobs, no purpose, nowhere to be without us.

Gah. That got dark. Happy Friday, everyone.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter