Ghost Line

Taylor McKinnon

Photograph, 1600 x 2240

For 46 years the Black Mesa Lake Powell Railway saw three trains of coal delivered each day from the Kayenta Mine Complex to the Navajo Nation to the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona. The mine and power plant brought tribal jobs and revenue, relocations of people in the mine’s path, greenhouse gas and mercury pollution, and electricity to pump water uphill from the Colorado River to Phoenix. One year after the power plant’s closure, the 78-mile line is silent today, a new relic of a passing age of fossil energy and, perhaps also, energy colonialism on the Colorado Plateau.