Last September I went to the Grand Canyon for the first time. I was quite excited about this. I grew up listening to Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite at my grandparent’s house. My grandma would put this music on the old record player and then describe the Grand Canyon as we listened to the music and imagined a mule plodding through the Grand Canyon. Or we would imagine the thunder clapping as the rain poured down. When I visited the Grand Canyon, I stayed in a town, about 65 miles from the Grand Canyon, called Williams in Arizona. It was a quaint enough town that capitalizes on the charm of Route 66. It is also the home of the Grand Canyon Railway.
The Grand Canyon Railway traces its origins to the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. In 1901, they completed work on a railway line that connected Williamson, AZ with Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This line would continue to bring passengers to the Grand Canyon until 1968 when the competition with the automobile became too great. For thirty years, this line remained unused until 1988 when Max and Thelma Biegart purchased it. After renovating it, the railway line reopened in 1989 as a separate company from the Beigart’s. However when a loan was defaulted on, the Beigart’s found themselves owning and operating this line. In 2006, they put the line up for sale. It was purchased by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra is the current owner and operator of the Grand Canyon Railway. The trains are mainly pulled by EMD F40PH Diesel Engines that are from the 1970′s. There are a couple of steam engines that are occasionally used but mainly are on display.
This picture was taken at the end of the day. One of the trains had just dropped off passengers and had returned to the yard for the night. I looked to the right and saw this lone car with this amazing reflection. It had been raining before I arrived so everything was so beautiful fresh and crisp. It was just one of those magical moments that you have to try and capture. It was the start of a great trip and one that I hope to repeat someday! I didn’t ride on the train but it was definitely fun to get to see it.
Make it a GREAT day!