you imagine taking a train from Los Angeles to the Grand
Canyon? That's a lot of miles and one of the best parts is that
the only time I was in an automobile was to get from home to downtown
Los Angeles to catch the Grand Canyon Limited. After 2 extremely long days
getting to Williams, now we are getting to the focus of this whole trip. Now this is the day that we
actually get to go to "the" Grand Canyon. Well, really, we are
taking the train to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and most of us
will peer into the Canyon. I've been on the Grand Canyon Railway
once before and had a great time something like 15 to 20 years
ago. Last time my train was powered by the ALCO PA
locomotives. Today will be different with not one, but two steam
locomotives pulling our train to the Canyon.
The Grand Canyon Railway has a
lot to offer. First, it is an alternate way to get to the Grand
Canyon without driving. It is a 65 mile 2-1/4 hour ride from
Williams to Grand Canyon Village. It has a storied history and
almost fell into abandonment only to be rescued.by Max and Thelma
Biegert. After a period of around 21 years of no service, the
railway was reopened in 1990. The route travels through diverse
climate zones at different elevations with a variety of plants and
trees. One can even travel to and from Williams via Amtrak.
Need a place to stay while in Williams? The Grand Canyon Hotel is
conveniently located 100 yards from the depot and is a AAA 3 diamond rated
property. The Grand Canyon Railway property in Williams features
more than the hotel. There is an RV park, Depot Cafe, Wild West
Show, playground, pet resort, several gift shops, Spenser's Pub and the
historic railway depot. The Grand Canyon Railway's own working
steam locomotive No. 4960 pulls their train to the Grand Canyon on
select days and 8 mile excursions throughout the year. Oh, I almost forgot, when riding
the regular GCRy train, expect to get robbed. The Grand Canyon
Limited train was spared the robbery but they tried on our way out of
Williams to Parker. The Grand
Canyon Hotel has many amenities and is well taken care of. According
to the Grand Canyon
Railway brochure, a full length dome car will join the GCR fleet some
time in 2012.
of the simple things I was impressed with at the Grand Canyon
Railway depot was the water drinking fountain which had a dispenser to
put water into your empty plastic water bottle. As we
pulled out I noticed employees with signs held up saying "Thanks For
Recycling Refill Your Water Bottles". I've never seen anything
like this before. We had gone through hundreds of water bottles
in two days of the Grand Canyon Limited and not one was recycled as far
as I am aware of.
There are probably a number of good reasons little is recycled from
passenger trains. One reason would be space while another would
be separate bins for rubbish versus recyclables. Passenger cars
have little unused space, so where would recylceables be stored?
train heads immediately east from the depot and then turns
northerly and runs past the Grand Canyon Railway shops and yard.
The Grand Canyon Railway steam locomotive 4960 and ATSF 3751 were
waiting for us. While passing one of the buildings near the
roundhouse I spotted this large banner regarding recycling at the
GCR. If I could only photoshop my BNSF Railway coffee cup and
Overland Trail flavored coffee drink out of the photo. You get
the message though. Their recycling is shown on a larger scale as
in restoring an old ALCO locomotive. An old Via PA locomotive is
seen below with one of the working PA's. Is the Via unit for
parts or will it be restored? My guess would be parts since the
GCR has procured ex Amtrak F-40's.
After receiving our steam engines,
we proceeded away from Williams and,
yes, the followers were waiting for us.
Canyon Limited Page 2