Benson, AZ (BEN)
Benson is a gateway to the natural wonders of Kartchner Caverns State Park, Coronado National Forest and Texas Canyon.
105 East 4th Street
Benson, AZ 85602
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2020): 1,218
- Facility Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Benson
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
At Benson, passengers use a small open-air shelter adjacent to the tracks. The community is located along the old Southern Pacific (SP) main line from Los Angeles to El Paso, Texas, and was established in 1880 with the arrival of the railroad. The station built at that time was razed in the 1970s after Southern Pacific halted its passenger services. A replica of that structure stands near the site of the original and serves as the town’s visitor center.
Benson has an extensive transportation heritage that spans the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 1850s, a station on the Butterfield Trail Stage Line was laid out a few miles to the north of the present town. This route was established to convey mail from St. Louis and Memphis to San Francisco in less than 25 days. Benson received its name from Judge William Benson, a friend of the President of Southern Pacific. In addition to SP, the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad connected the town to Tucson, while the Sonoran Railroad ran from Guaymas, Mexico, terminating at Benson.
This rail network was developed in relation to the area’s rich mineral deposits. Gold, silver, and copper were mined in the San Pedro River valley in well known towns such as Tombstone and Bisbee, from which it was shipped to Benson for collection, smelting, and distribution.
Benson is known today as the “Gateway to Kartchner Caverns State Park”—a series of spectacular caves only discovered in 1974. Two spelunkers found the caverns but kept their existence a secret for four years, fearing that unregulated visitation might damage the natural wonder before it could be properly surveyed and protected. It was not until 2003 that a portion of the caves opened to the public, after decades of preparation and quiet negotiations with the state and landowners. If the caves were not enough to attract a nature lover, visitors can also use Benson as a jumping off point for Coronado National Forest, San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, and Texas Canyon.
Platform with Shelter
- Quik-Trak kiosks not available
- No ticket sales office
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- Bag storage not available
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- Same-day free parking is available
- Overnight free parking is available
- Accessible platform
- No restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- Accessible same-day free parking is available
- Accessible overnight free parking is available
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- No wheelchair lift