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New Pima county park includes famous abandoned Esmond railroad station

Pima County has completed a small section of the planned 274-acre Esmond Station Regional Park near Empire High School on Mary Ann Cleveland Way, east of Houghton Road. The land was acquired using money approved after a 2004 bond election.

The park includes the site of Esmond Station on the old Southern Pacific railroad main line near the site of the "Esmond Wreck," the worst train collision in Arizona history. On Jan. 28, 1903, the conductor of a westbound passenger train failed to get an order passed from Esmond Station ordering the train onto a siding until an eastbound train passed by. The two trains collided at high speed just west of the station. At least 14 people were killed and 18 injured in the fiery wreck. Among the dead were the engineers of both trains.

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Makeshift coffins laid out near one of two wrecked steam engines that collided near Esmond Station southeast of Tucson on Jan. 28, 1903. Burned Pullman cars are to the right.

Southern Pacific relocated the mainline further south and abandoned the station and the tracks after WW II. But the many of the buildings, even the station sign, remained for years afterward. The station burned to the ground in 2003. However, the crew quarters are still standing. Some restoration is underway.

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Wreckage of Southern Pacific trains near Esmond Station southeast of Tucson on Jan. 28, 1903.

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Arizona's deadliest: The Southern Pacific tracks near Esmond Station were strewn with wreckage after the two trains hit on Jan. 28, 1903.

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Arizona Daily Star front page story about the Southern Pacific trains that collided head-on near Tucson in 1903.

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Map showing the site of Papago Station, later known as Esmond Station, where two trains collided in 1903.

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The remains of the Esmond Station sit on state land near Rita and Houghton roads east of Tucson in 2002. It was abandoned as a railroad station in the 1950s. It burned to the ground in 2003.

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Doug Hamilton examines a piece of what could be wreckage from the 100-year-old Esmond train wreck in 2002. Fourteen people died in the wreck, thought to be Arizona's worst rail disaster, when two passenger trains collided near where Rita and Houghton intersect.

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Footers for the water tank foundation are among the remains of the old Esmond Station train stop and the Southern Pacific RR that is part of the new Esmond Station Regional Park.

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The old chimney and foundation of the Foreman's home are among the remains of the old Esmond Station train stop and the Southern Pacific RR that is part of the new Esmond Station Regional Park, the new 274-acre Pima County Park.

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The partially refurbished crew quarters is among the remains of the old Esmond Station train stop and the Southern Pacific RR that is part of the new Esmond Station Regional Park, the new 274-acre Pima County Park.

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The old railroad bed looking north of the old Esmond Station train stop and the Southern Pacific RR is part of the new Esmond Station Regional Park, the new 274-acre Pima County Park.