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Grand Canyon Railway: Cowboys and Canyons

April 7, 2014 Rail No Comments Email Email

Visitors of the Grand Canyon can step back in time and travel by train to one of the nation’s most spectacular and memorable places aboard the Grand Canyon Railway during this iconic American experience.

AN ICONIC AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

The 65-mile journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon begins in the historic town of Williams, Arizona—on the legendary Route 66 highway. Trains depart daily at 9:30 a.m. from the 1908 Williams Depot and return at 3:30 p.m., with a three-and-a-half-hour period to explore South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Overnight packages and in-park tours are also available.

A fleet of vintage locomotives pulls well-equipped and comfortable passenger cars daily, and on occasion a 1923 steam engine refurbished to run on waste vegetable oil makes special trips that transport passengers back in time. Prior to boarding, an interactive 165496_num694917_600x600Wild West show gives guests a taste of history, and sets the stage for entertainment throughout the trip, including strolling musicians and knowledgeable train attendants.  Guests are captivated with the splendor of the passing landscapes of the Colorado Plateau and wildlife as the train travels along just like in the glory days when it was operated by the legendary Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company.

WHEN TO VISIT

  • “Green” Steam: This spring, the GCR will fire up its iconic 1923 steam engine, Locomotive No. 4960, to romp the 65 miles from Williams to the Grand Canyon on the first Saturday of every month until September. Not only is this a rare sight and sound in today’s high-tech world, but the 90-year-old steam engine is an industry pioneer that runs on waste vegetable oil from French fries and chicken wings—a fuel alternative that reduces carbon emissions by nearly 29,000 pounds per round trip to the Grand Canyon- and reclaimed water. Special steam departures are scheduled though out the year.
  • The Pumpkin Patch Train: The GCR’s annual Pumpkin Patch Train runs every Saturday and Sunday in October from Williams. Families dress up in their Halloween finest and journey by train to a secret pumpkin patch for a hunt for the perfect pumpkin to take back to Williams Depot to decorate. Once back at the depot, family-friendly fall activities abound with a hay bale maze, haunted train car, crafts and fall treats.
  • All Aboard the Polar ExpressTM!:During the holiday season, the Polar ExpressTMholiday-themed excursion follows the storyline of the children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg.  A family favorite, the one-hour trip travels through the starlit wilderness to the North Pole and features a special reading of The Polar Express while passengers enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, and a surprise visit from Santa on the train.

For more information about the Grand Canyon Railway, visit www.thetrain.comor call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (843-8724). The Grand Canyon Railway is operated byXanterra Parks & Resorts, the United States’ largest operator of park-based hotels, restaurants and stores. For more information on Xanterra visit www.xanterra.com.

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