Just a list of places I've been to in Arizona and New Mexico that are good railfan spots. Hopefully I can find some more next summer.
Flagstaff Visitors Center/Amtrak Station - Go down to the station to see trains up close and personal! Amtrak's Southwest Chief stops here. The Amtrak Southwest Chief #4 arrives in Flagstaff at 4:36 a.m. (MST) and the #3 Southwest Chief arrives at 8:51 p.m. (MST).
Mars Hill Lookout, West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ - GREAT place to watch trains! Mars hill looks out over downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona university. Get nice daylight shots and GREAT night shots of trains here! Be sure to visit the Lowell Observatory which is right up the road from the lookout.
Ponderosa Parkway Railroad Crossing, Flagstaff, AZ - Lots of bells, flashing lights and crossing gates here! Another great spot in Flagstaff but you have to walk to the crossing because the closest parking spots are across the road from route 66.
Route 66 Overpass, Flagstaff, AZ - Another great railfan spot in Flagstaff. Located about a mile east of the town, this overpass provides a great overhead view of the trains crossing the transcon. Looking west, the San Francisco peaks provide as a beautiful backdrop.
N Cosnino Road, Cosnino, AZ - Cosnino Road is another one of the endless spots to railfan on BNSF's Seligman sub. On the south side of the tracks, you a treated with a glorious backdrop of the San Franciso peaks, while on the North side you see trains coming around a bend in both directions. Going west, trains are slow as snails, but going east, you have 50+ mph trains. This spot has a little something for everyone!
Meteor Crater Road - In practically the middle of nowhere, this is a very nice spot to view trains going across the high desert. Going west on I-40, if you get off on the road that takes you to Meteor Crater, pull off to the side on the off ramp. To you right is the railroad tracks. What makes this place special is there is a private railroad crossing, so you are able to hear the horns of the trains!
Arizona 99 overpass, Winslow, AZ - Just 8 miles west of Winslow, there is an overpass that will take you to Leupp, AZ. Coming off of I-40 eastbound, the railroad tracks are about 100 feet to your right. This is one of those places that I would highly recommend filming one train going by if there is one close behind you, or coming towards you from Winslow. Actually sitting there for hours is good, but pretty dangerous. With all of the people traveling on I-40, you never know what could happen...
La Posada Hotel, Winslow, AZ - Over 90 trains pass by this hotel everyday! The La Posada hotel is also an Amtrak station so the trains are right there! The #4 Southwest Chief arrives in Winslow at 5:39 a.m. (MST) and the #3 Southwest Chief arrives in Winslow at 7:50 p.m. (MST).
Rest Area On West Hopi Drive and 14th Avenue, Holbrook, AZ - Park at the rest area or near the tracks and wait for some trains. Nice place to railfan in Holbrook, AZ. Not very many shaded areas so you will want to bring an umbrella in the summer months. Just don't go to Holbrook to railfan from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (MST)! You won't see a single train. Amtrak's Southwest Chief passes here but you will need to estimate the time it will pass. Click here to access the Amtrak status maps. It will help you a lot.
Yellow thumbtack is where I fan in that spot
RR Crossing At Navajo Boulevard In Holbrook, AZ - Another spot in Holbrook, AZ. This is the only railroad crossing in Holbrook and is located right next to the old ATSF depot. The depot is no longer in use though.
Yuma Amtrak Station, Yuma, AZ - You might not be able to be on the platform because of two reasons: one, it's a crew change point and two, it's VERY hot in Yuma! You would have to sit in your car w/ the AC at full blast if you don't want to sit in the sun and burn up somewhere near the station. There is a parking lot across the street from the station that has a pretty nice view of the trains if you choose railfanning from the car. The Amtrak Sunset Limited stops here, but due to schedule changes in 2012, it is LATE at night. The #1 Sunset Limited arrives at 11:49 p.m. (MST) and the #2 Sunset Limited arrives at 2:47 a.m. (MST)
Allison Road Crossing, Gallup, New Mexico - Everyday, over 100 trains pass through Gallup, New Mexico! Watch BNSF freight trains roll through and manifests crawl in and out of the yard.
South 2nd Street, Gallup, New Mexico - Another railroad crossing, but on the east end of the Gallup yard. From here you can see BNSF and Ex-ATSF yard switchers moving cars around and the Amtrak Southwest Chief arrive and depart Gallup because the station/cultural center is just down the road the crossing. If you're lucky, you can see a three way meet at this crossing! The #4 Southwest Chief arrives at 8:21 a.m. and the #3 Southwest Chief arrives at 7:08 p.m.
Pueblo Road Crossing, Pueblo Road, Sky City, New Mexico - The crossing is about 17 minutes from Grants, New Mexico. Get of I-40 on exit 102, then drive south on Indian Service Route 30 (Pueblo Road) and you will get to the crossing. Since this is on Native American land, you will need a camera permit to film/photograph the trains. It is 13 bucks for a permit. You will get tons of great shots at Pueblo Road crossing with a bend to your right, crossing gates in front of you, and a full mile of straight track with no trees in the way to your left. The Amtrak Southwest Chief passes through here also, but again, you will have to estimate the time it will pass. Click here to access the Amtrak status maps.
Dirt Turnaround, Route 66, Gallup, New Mexico - Little spot off of Route 66 in Gallup. Looking west, you can see a signal bridge and about a mile and a half of straight track. Looking east, all you can see is a curve (as seen in the pic). Another nice spot in Gallup to railfan all day.
El Morro Road, Grants, NM - Love fast BNSF trains? El Morro Road in Grants is the place for you! Located an hour east of Gallup, Gants is one of the best railfan spots on the Gallup Subdivision. Train after train after train pass by this crossing, ranging from 55 mph mixed freights to 65 mph intermodals. In the morning and afternoon, Amtrak's Southwest Chief passes here at speeds of around 70. Here at Grants, BNSF trains may have power such as KCS, NS, BN, ATSF, CREX, CSX, and UP.
Indian Service Route 27, McCartys, NM - 20 Minutes east of Grants, McCartys is yet another beautiful spot along the Gallup Subdivision. On the South side of the tracks, looking to your right, you will see some signals, and to your left, a half a mile of tracks. Not much to say about this spot, other than you will need a camera permit, as this is on Indian lands.