phoenix did have rail service at one time
Amtrak's reliance on freight railroads also has caused its service elimination. Passenger rail service was entirely discontinued to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997, after the Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks that served Phoenix, announced that it was abandoning the right of way. Amtrak did not have the funds to maintain the trackage. Today, the city proper is served only by Thruway Motorcoach, although Amtrak rail service is available about 37 miles (60 km) to the south in the rural town of Maricopa (Phoenix passengers also travel often to Tucson or Flagstaff by car or Greyhound bus to pick up those Amtrak trains which continue to make stops in those cities).
As is frequently the case, Wiki does not have it right. The following I put in an earlier thread:
This discussion comes up every few months. Go back to a thread in mid 2008 titled The Sun Never Sets in Phoenix.
I said this at that time:
Other than the date of change, which I really don't know the rest is somewhat less than accurate, which seems to be the norm for Wiki. Here are the facts:
The southern line, which UP calls the Gila subdivision was the original Southern Paciifc mainline. The loop through Phoenix was built much later, in the 1920's, and was always at best a secondary main built primarily so through passenger trains could serve Phoenix. It ran from Wellton at milepost 770.7 (zero at San Francisco) to Picacho. At Picacho the milepost is 979.7 on the Phoenix line but only 936.7 via the main through Maricopa. Thus, the route is 166.0 miles on the main and 209.0 miles through Phoenix, an additional distance of 43.0 miles. Phoenix yard is at milepost 907.0, so this 209 mile length represents 137.3 miles west of Phoenix with almost nothing there and 72.7 miles east of Phoenix through Tempe and a few other places.
The Phoenix line was all jointed rail with an automatic block signal system with semaphores. Generally the passenger train speed limit was 60 mph, although some parts east of Phoenix allowed 70 mph. Pictures I have seen of the line west show the rail as being 113 lb, a section unique to the SP and long obsolete and out of production. By the early 90's this line was needing major rail relay, major tie replacement, and signal system upgrades. The decision was make to concetrate on the 70 miles east of Phoenix in order to maintain freigth access to the city rather than attempt to keep the entire 209 miles up for 60 mph service.
To the best of my knowledge the track is all still in place, but not all in service, and the signal system is likewise all in place, but likely not functional for most or the line west.
With the same weasel words, here is the current status of the line as given in the employee timetable, going from west to east.
Yuma at mp 732.7
Wellton at mp 770.7, west end of Phoenix Sub.
mp 770.7 to 802.8: "Roll Industrial Lead" 20 mph - restricted speed
mp 802.8 to 854.0: Out of service
mp 854.0 to 904.8: 25 mph - may have slow orders to less
mp 904.8 to 905.6: 20 mph
mp 905.6 to 906.7: 15 mph (Phoenix passenger station at 906.0)
mp 906.7 to 907.9: 20 mph
mp 907.9 to 913.6: 25 mph
mp 913.6 to 916.5: 20 mph
mp 916.5 to 920.8: 40 mph
mp 920.8 to 922.0: 25 mph
mp 922.0 to 924.2: 40 mph
mp 924.2 to 957.0: 60 mph
mp 957.0 to 963.5: 40 mph
mp 963.5 to 975.6: 60 mph
mp 975.6 to 979.3: 45 mph
mp 979.3 to 979.7: 25 mph
Summarizing: For the 135.3 miles west of the Phoenix station, 51.2 miles is out of service and the remainder has a speed limit of 25 mph or less. But, it is all still there.
Wild guess: about $200 to $300 million to get the Phoenix line west to the point that it could carry the Sunset at 60 mph or 79 mph. (The difference in cost for getting it in condition for 60 mph and for 79 mph would be next to nothing.) There is no way that it makes sense for Amtrak or the state of Arizona to spend that kind of money for a three times a week train, and for sure it makes no sense for UP to spend it. The additional 43 miles and going through a major urban area is why it also make no sense for UP to increase the Sunset Route capacity by upgrading the Phoenix line for part of a directional running system with the Gila line instead of what they are doing, which is adding a second main along their original main line through a mostly unpopulated desert. Now, if it was decided to operate multiple passenger trains per day between Arizona and Los Angeles, that could change the picture.