The Arizona Department of Transportation and the Feds have picked a preferred route between Phoenix and Tuscon to establish commuter rail between the two cities. In my mind, this opens up the possibility of returning Amtrak to Phoenix on the commuter rail line.
West of Phoenix, there is the old Southern Pacific line that used to carry freight and passenger trains back to the Sunset Route. The two seem to join at a town called Wellton, AZ.
In the best of all possible worlds--which includes funding for a decent Amtrak station in Phoenix, and the rehab of the line west of Phoenix--Amtrak could re-establish service there. It doesn't have to be fast. It just has to make it possible to pass through the city of Phoenix. The UP railroad would also need a place to park some of their cars. In a Google flyover of the line, there appears to be an ethanol plant west of the city, and west of that is a long string of tank cars parked on the main line, presumably for the ethanol plant.
I don't know the location of the former SP station in Phoenix, but if it is east of the connection to the BNSF railroad, it's not out of the question that a train could leave Phoenix and go north to Albuquerque, Denver and beyond.
Of course, all this is predicated on funding, so please do not use that as an out-of-hand objection to the plan. We all know money--or lack of such--is the driving force behind having or not having a decent passenger rail system in our country.
Just my musings on a Tuesday morning.