The Roundhouse Podcast

038: Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

Grand Canyon Railway

Photos by Nick Ozorak and Grand Canyon Railway CMO Eric Hadder.

Want to ride a train to the Grand Canyon?  Grand Canyon Railway CMO Eric Hadder talks about the trip you’ll experience, the historic nature of their steam locomotives, the return of #29, and how he entered the railroad industry.


Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

The railway operates a daily train from Williams Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, traveling over 64 miles of what was once the Santa Fe Railway.  Their typical motive power is ex-Amtrak F40PH diesels, but for special occasions they use steam locomotive #4960.  The trip includes beautiful scenery, train robberies, and a unique look at the ‘Wild Wild West’.  You can ride in one of their coaches, vista domes, or observation cars.

The railway recently announced that it would be restoring ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming #29 to service as part of celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service.  Eric describes the work that will be necessary to have it in operation again.

As a lifelong railfan, Eric discusses how he built his career in the tourist railroad industry.  He describes the type of work done for each of the locomotives and passenger cars.  One recent addition to the roster ‘Desert View’ will be making its debut run soon, and Eric provides details on its restoration.

To learn more about the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, be sure to visit their website.

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Question of the Day (48:23)

What is the most luxurious passenger car you’ve traveled in?  Let me know and I will respond to your comments in our next episode.

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9 thoughts on “038: Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

  1. Sam

    I don’t ride trains much, but the nicest rail car I’ve ridden in was Amtrak’s Track Geometry Car for the North-East-Corridor. Nothing like chatting with the crew about their high-tech custom-built private car while doing 120 mph to DC.

  2. Jason Leach

    I would have to say that for the title of the most luxurious passenger car I’ve traveled in, it is a tie between former CB&Q vista dome car Silver Splendor, and former Santa Fe Super Chief lounge car Acoma. I got to ride in both cars on two separate steam excursions powered by ex Santa Fe 3751, and I had blast both times. The staff were friendly, and were always willing to answer questions. Both cars are clearly very well cared for by their owners, and they also have very nicely decorated interiors.

  3. Sean

    The Milwaukee Road Skytop Lounge “Cedar Rapids” is the best I have ever ridden in. It is arguably in the top five most beautiful observation cars ever built.

  4. Nick Resar

    The nicest car I’ve ridden in was the Friends of the 261’s Super Dome. That and a couple visits during the trip to the Cedar Rapids was definitely the way to travel.

  5. Erich Diebold

    Our Hocking Valley Scenic Railway used to own #29’s sister #33. The Age of Steam Roundhouse owns it now.

  6. Graeme Case

    Hmm this is a hard Question Probably one of the Amtrak superliners those were really comfortable

  7. Cameron

    I actually haven’t gotten the chance to ride any commuter cars, there was an old RDC that ran daily in my area long ago, but they had to shut it down due to mechanical problems and rotting tracks.

    So the most luxurious experience I have in the form of rail transport, is a three way tie between the only three railroads I have ridden on, all of which were old open-air cars.

    But I have to say, an open-air car, especially one with no roof on a nice summer day as you get warm water droplets from the steam of the locomotive, is a very pleasant experience.

  8. John W Losh II

    Would like to make a program request. Covering the restoration efforts of the Keokuk Union Depot in Keokuk, Iowa.

    My Paternal Grandfather John Losh, whose namesake I am worked in Keokuk for the CB&Q until he passed on his way home from Q duty on 4/4/64. Although I never met him as he passed 5 years before I was born, learning about his career and discovering other rail history (BN, Mo-Pac, Santa Fe, UP) in my family through genealogy research in 2008 and my wife coming from a KCS. family, is what made me a rail fan that year, and I started my blog: and now have over 170 rail videos on my You Tube: John Losh that I call Legacies On The Rails Fan Videos. Started a Legacies On The Rails Podcast as well but haven’t recorded any in quite a while, as my schedule just has not allowed me to.

    Just recently visited the Keokuk Depot in late April, but only saw it from the outside. It is at the BNSF/Keokuk Junction Railway yard. and

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