The Verde Canyon Railroad was originally opened as the Verde Valley Railway by the Santa Fe Railway Company in 1912. This 38-mile branch line carried passengers, but its main purpose was always to serve the copper mines at Jerome. Passenger services were able to continue after the copper supplies had been exhausted, but numbers dwindled and in 1989 the line was finally closed.
However, the railway was quickly taken over by its new owners, who decided to run 20 miles of the route as a heritage line. Services on the Verde Canyon Railroad commenced in 1990 and were an immediate success - thanks in no small part to the railway's beautiful backdrop. The line has since gone from strength to strength, and welcomed its one millionth passenger in 2005.