Grand Canyon Railway

Written by on October 9, 2009 in AZ Attractions - Comments Off on Grand Canyon Railway

Long before the Grand Canyon was a national park; before cars and air travel, adventurers boarded the Grand Canyon Railway. The train made its first journey to the South Rim in 1901. Guests no longer had to bounce over rutted gravel paths aboard the stagecoach from Flagstaff, but could travel to the canyon in comfort. Now you can do the same!

In the late 1800s, The Santé Fe Pacific Railroad already had a line that ran from Chicago, through Williams, Arizona, to Los Angeles, with a spur line that ran 45 miles north out of Williams to the Anita mines. Buckey O’Neill, sheriff of Yavapai County, mayor of Prescott, Arizona, prospector, promoter and later one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, thought money could be made from mining gold in the Grand Canyon. He also recognized the tourism possibilities. He lobbied the Santé Fe line and investors to build the spur line all the way to the South Rim. Construction was completed in 1901. Now visitors could take a $3.95 train ride instead of the $15 eight-hour stagecoach ride from Flagstaff, and gaze upon what Teddy Roosevelt said “every American should see,” the grandest of all canyons!

Today, more than 200,000 people journey to the canyon by rail. The train helps keep 50,000 cars per year out of the park, helping to preserve the natural beauty and wonder. But preservation isn’t the only reason to ride the rails … the Grand Canyon Railroad is downright fun!

When you step aboard the Grand Canyon Railway, you’ll be transported back in time, since the railroad is almost a rolling museum. Each train engine and each train car has been painstakingly restored to its original state. Everyone who works on the Grand Canyon Railway is passionate about preserving the history of the line and about the Grand Canyon. The crew is happy to share the folklore and history of both the train and the canyon. Aboard the train, you’ll be treated to strolling musicians who play tunes popular when the train first began to visit the South Rim, and you’ll love the old-fashioned shoot out and train robbery that takes place before your very eyes!

There are several different classes of service for the Grand Canyon Railway that you can book online and you can book your hotel stay for the train at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel adjacent to the depot.

More stories in the Grand Canyon Series include:

Formation of the Grand Canyon
South Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Inhabitants of the Grand Canyon
River Rafting the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Railway
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Condors Make a Comeback in the Grand Canyon
Top 10 Things To Do at the Grand Canyon
Legend of Egyptian Artifacts in the Grand Canyon
The Ghost of Crash Canyon
Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Railway
01 West Route 66, #200
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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