Skip to main content

Dig Imperial Beach

Rare Photo/Living Art Vintage Rail Excursion on Grand Canyon Railway

Oct 07, 2019 11:27PM ● By Paul Spear
Rare Photo/Living Art Vintage Rail Excursion on Grand Canyon Railway

"Do you know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are?
Anchor chains, airplane motors and train whistles."
— James StewartIt's A Wonderful Life
WILLIAMS, Ariz., September 25, 2019 – If you are into art, photography or want a glimpse and access to a truly rare and maybe never-to-happen-again experience, your train is leaving the station on the Grand Canyon Railway October 26 and 27. The special charter will make multiple photo stops allowing people to film the train in nearly inaccessible places to the avid rail and photo enthusiast.
Trains Magazine, the leading railroad publication in the U.S., has privately chartered the Railway and will be running a special train featuring steam engine No. 29 (built in 1906) and a small train of classic “Harriman” Pullman green passenger coaches. So, if you were to film this in black and white, given the timeless nature of this unique Railway, you could be back in the 1920s or ‘30s.
This will be the last time No. 29 may run for years (she’s going down for mandatory maintenance) and the coaches will be repainted blue for the Polar Express. 
The two-day event will also include a presentation by Chief Mechanical Officer Eric Hadder on the locomotive, the railroad’s operating steam and diesel locomotives, and its extensive passenger car fleet. Trains Editor Jim Wrinn will announce the winner of the magazine’s annual preservation award, a grant of $10,000 that goes to a non-profit organization.

On Sunday, Grand Canyon Railway will recreate a busy short line rail yard of the 1950s. There will be a freight train, a passenger train of pre WWII Commuter cars, a 1950s era streamliner, and a mixed consisting of both. Grand Canyon Railway has initiated a refurbishment program of the 1923 Pullman cars, which will result in a new paint scheme. So, the days are limited to capture these cars in Pullman Green behind steam. No. 29 will make runbys with freight cars, and Grand Canyon 2-8-2 No. 4960 will make a cameo appearance at Williams before No. 29 heads out on its grand finale on the main line. The railroad also will offer shop tours on Sunday morning.

Tickets, which include all railroad operations and lunch both days, are $600 per person and are limited to 70 customers. To order, call 800-843-8799 or go online at Customers ordering tickets may also reserve space at the railroad's hotel in Williams at the same time and receive a 20 percent discount.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Dig Imperial Beach's free newsletter to catch every headline