Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon Railway was created in the late 1800's to haul ore from mines in the Williams AZ area. Numerous partnerships were formed, failed, changed.  The AT&SF took control and reached the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1901.  Most of the structures on the South Rim were built and operated by the railway.  Service ended in 1968, the track and structures were allowed to deteriorate.  Under new ownership, the Grand Canyon Railway reopened for service in September 1989.  In 2007, the railway was sold to Xanterra Parks and Resorts, who operates venues at many National Parks around the country. 

The railway runs from Williams AZ to the South Rim, 65 miles, two hours each way. The railway operates every day of the year, except Dec 24 & 25, using steam power in the summer and diesel in the winter. Double headers are very common, often a steam & steam pairing in the summer.

Somewhat scenic ride, mostly flat desert and scrub brush. You only get a brief glimpse of the canyon from the train. A three hour layover in the park to see the sights, or stay a night or two, then ride the train back. Train ticket includes park access. Outstanding service, very clean equipment. On board entertainers provide a variety of songs, skits, etc. The day starts with a gunfight before boarding and a train robbery on the way back to Williams, it is a "real" robbery and you will not get back anything you give them.


Numerous types of locomotives have operated over the railway through the years.  This is what is listed in 2007 as being owned and usable by the railway, other locomotives are in storage or displayed.  #539 is being rebuilt and won't see service for a couple more years.  All of the steam equipment has been modernized with the latest technology for steam available, resulting in more power and less environmental impact than originally designed.


Engine type: Consolidation Mikado Mikado
Engine numbers: 29 539 4960
Builder: Alco Alco Baldwin
Year built: 1906 1917 1923
Wheel Arrangement: 2-8-0 2-8-2 2-8-2
Weight of locomotive (lbs): 227,000 335,300 310,780
Weight of tender - loaded (lbs): 167.000 193,900 320,000
Total weight (lbs): 435,000 533,600 630,780
Weight on drivers (lbs: 205,800 244,800 233,850
Driver diameter (inch): 56 63 62
Total heating surface (sq ft): 2074 9083 4178
Steam pressure (psi): 200 200 200
Tractive effort (lbs): 48,000 63,400 58,090
Water (gallon): 9,700 9,300 18,000
Low Sulfur Diesel (gallon): 2,600 4,500 4,500


Engine type: GP-7 FPA-4 FPA-4 (B) F-40PH
Engine numbers: 2134 6773, 6776, 6793, 6860, 6871 237, 239, 295
Builder: EMD Alco Alco EMD
Year built: 1953 1959 1959 1977-79
Weight of locomotive (lbs): 248,350 258,000 258,000 259,000
Wheel diameter (inch): 40 40 40 40
Engine (hp): 1,500 1,800 1,800 3,000
Top speed (mph): 65 92 92 103
Tractive effort (lbs): 62,080 38,000 38,000 50,000
Low Sulfur Diesel (gallon): 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,800

Rolling Stock

Budd Coach, Pullman Coach, and Harriman-style Pullman cars make up the bulk of the rolling stock.  There are also club, parlor, dome and dining cars.  With several classes of service, there is something for every railfan.

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