Maricopa, AZ (MRC)
Serving the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, Maricopa has a rich transportation heritage dating to the mid-19th century.
19427 North John Wayne Parkway
P.O. Box 897
Maricopa, AZ 85139
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 11,250
- Facility Ownership: Amtrak, Pinal County
- Parking Lot Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Maricopa is currently the closest stop serving the Phoenix metropolitan area. The station consists of a double-wide modular building with a small waiting area, restrooms, ticket and agent office and baggage room. In 1996, passenger rail service to Phoenix Union Station was discontinued due to poor track conditions along the Southern Pacific line west of the city. Since funds could not be found to repair and upgrade the tracks, the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle was rerouted to the south along the Southern Pacific’ main line and Maricopa became the closest station to the Arizona capital, which is 25 miles to the north.
Although loss of train service to downtown Phoenix was not ideal, Maricopa enjoys a rich transportation heritage. The small town of Maricopa Wells became prominent in the 1850s, when the first transcontinental mail line from San Antonio to San Diego used it as a key relay station; later a line to Phoenix made the town a key crossroads for travelers moving east-west and north-south.
By 1879, the Southern Pacific reached the area as it raced east from Los Angeles. In an effort to be closer to the rail line, the town moved eight miles south to a new location named Maricopaville. This settlement was to be the junction of the Southern Pacific main line and a branch line connecting to Phoenix, yet this second boom town was to be short lived. It was soon decided to locate the junction a few miles east, and present day Maricopa was established to take advantage of the rail connections. By 1887 the line to Tempe and Phoenix was completed, and Maricopa became a busy commercial center.
Just as the community has had many town sites, so too has Maricopa had a number of station structures. The earliest was a two storey wooden building with deep eaves and prominent brick chimneys. Later razed, it was replaced in the 1930s by a small clapboard depot that was moved to Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in 2004. In 2001, the town installed a vintage 1948 stainless steel, domed observation lounge car known as the Silver Horizon, which had been used on theCalifornia Zephyr trains. The rail car, which originally held three double bedrooms, a drawing room with private shower, and a lounge for 50 passengers, became Maricopa’s rail station, reconfigured to house offices. While it is no longer used as the station, the railcar remains on display for the delight of the traveler.
The area now occupied by Maricopa was first explored by the Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino in the late 1600s when he made his sojourn to the Gila River. Kino’s goal was to construct missions in the area, then populated by native Pima farmers who took advantage of the area’s abundance of water and good soils.
Incorporated in 2003, Maricopa is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, offering access to the cultural riches of close-by Phoenix as well as local sites such as the Him-Dak Eco Museum, which chronicles the history and culture of the Ak-Chin Indian community through art and crafts. Further afield, the visitor can explore Casa Grande Ruins Monument, a farming community and “Great House” constructed by the Hohokam Indians during the 13th century. The first cultural and prehistoric site to be protected by the United States government, Casa Grande Ruins Monument was set aside in 1892 by President Benjamin Harrison.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this station. Maricopa is served by the tri-weekly Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle (Westbound: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday; Eastbound: Monday, Thursday, Saturday).
- 9 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 20 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Shipping Boxes
- Ticket Office