Zephyr railcar to be relocated

The California Zephyr being lifted into place in Maricopa in 2001. Photo courtesy of Maricopa Historical Society

The City of Maricopa and the Maricopa Historical Society have partnered to relocate the iconic California Zephyr railcar Silver Horizon to a new location at the site of the former community pool adjacent to the Maricopa Unified School District Offices.

The Zephyr railcar came to Maricopa in 2000 and was utilized as the Amtrak ticket station for the community from 2001 to 2003 before a larger ticket station was built closer to the railroad tracks. The Maricopa Historical Society then opened the car for public tours and history exhibits.

Originally owned by Pinal County, following the restoration efforts of Mike Ingram of El Dorado Holdings, Inc., the Silver Horizon was purchased by the Maricopa Historical Society In 2017.

“This makes so much sense to transfer the ownership to the non-profit, Maricopa Historical Society,” Pinal County District IV Supervisor Anthony Smith said at the time of the sale. “We are pleased to help keep alive this symbol of an era when Maricopa played an important role for rail travel in the United States.”

With construction of the State Route 347 Overpass taking place near the Silver Horizon’s current home, relocation was determined to be the best course of action to preserve the historical railcar.

The land that will now hold the Silver Horizon was donated to the City of Maricopa by John and Mary Lou Smith.

“We are extremely thankful to the Smith family for their generous donation of the land upon which the Zephyr will now sit, for our partnership with the Maricopa Historical Society, and for the ability to preserve and display this part of Maricopa’s proud history for generations to come,” City of Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said.

Upgrades and added features are expected to be built around the railcar’s new location.

“We are looking forward to upgrading the car, building displays that can be interchanged, add a research library along with holding special events and open houses for the public to see the railcar,” President of the Maricopa Historical Society Paul Shirk said. “We wish to acknowledge and thank Supervisor Anthony Smith, Mayor Christian Price, City Manager Rick Horst, and their staffs for the support and assistance in bringing this process to a successful conclusion.”

The Silver Horizon is currently projected to be relocated in January.