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Grand Canyon Railway Steam Train runs on recycled vegetable oil for Labor Day

Grand Canyon Railway's steam locomotive 4960 will make special runs on recycled vegetable oil.
Grand Canyon Railway's steam locomotive 4960 will make special runs on recycled vegetable oil.
Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon has always been on the top of 'must see' National Parks. My first experience visiting the park was via a road trip; and was highlighted in bold as a major stop. The enormous golden red canyon took my breath away with its beauty and sheer size. Since then, I have visited the Grand Canyon a number of times and each visit offers a different perspective.

Taking a rail journey on the Grand Canyon Railway by steam locomotive is a rare chance to scale the vastness of the park in a unique way. Fueled by recycled vegetable oil, the GCR will offer special runs on its steam-powered “Cataract Creek Rambler” on Labor Day weekend as well as a roundtrip run to the Grand Canyon Sept. 18, 2010. Train admirers will be treated to a ride on an authentic vintage steam locomotive. The No. 4960 was built in 1923 by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia and has been completely restored to its original lustre. Eight-mile trips are offered throughout the days of Sept. 4 and 5, 2010 with a single class of service in the train’s historic 1923 Harriman cars. Trains depart on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A special “photo run by” will leave at 6:00 p.m. Tickets for the “Cataract Creek Rambler” will be sold on-site for unreserved seating and will cost $15 for adults and $10 for children 15 and under.

Travelers interested in a longer journey aboard the No. 4960 should consider the Sept.18 steam excursion. Passengers will be able to enjoy the Railway’s regular 65-mile scenic journey from Williams, Ariz. to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and back to the Williams Depot. The train departs Williams at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at the Grand Canyon Depot at 11:45 a.m. For the return trip the train departs the Grand Canyon at 3:30 p.m. and arrives in Williams at 5:45 p.m. The Railway’s typical four classes of service will be used. Rates for adults range from $70 to $190, and children’s rates range from $40 to $110. Children 15 and under are permitted only in the coach and first classes.

For the total "train" experience travelers can stay overnight at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel which resembles a historic train depot and hotel. Getaway packages are available and might be the perfect fall weekender vacation for a railway hobbyist.

Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information, visit or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724).

The Grand Canyon Railway is operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra also operates lodges, restaurants and accommodations at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. For reservations inside the park and for more information go to


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