WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Grand Canyon Railway in cooperation with the Grand Canyon Chapter, National Railway Historical Society and the Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce will host a two-day event May 12-13 at the Williams Depot.
The highlight of the two day event will be the Cataract Creek Rambler, 45 minute train rides in open-window passenger coaches, pulled behind 1923 Baldwin steam locomotive 4960, which has been recently converted to burn waste vegetable oil. Trains leave every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are sold on the day of the event.
The Winslow Harvey Girls will also be on property, which was originally a Harvey House in the early 20th century. The city of Williams will be sponsoring a classic car show so there will be plenty of classic cars around the Railway's property, just a block from historic Route 66. 3500 square feet in the Williams Depot and adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel have been dedicated to model railroad displays. At least five different scales will be on display, including several N-trak displays from the Arizona Southwest Model Railroad Society. N-trak is a special organization of N scale (1:160) model railroaders who build individual modules to specified standards. The modules can be combined to form layouts of various sizes, configurations, and themes.
Operation Lifesaver will be on hand with the GCR locomotive simulator, which demonstrates what an engineer sees when he approaches a road crossing.
Al Richmond will have displays from the Arizona State Railroad Museum Collection and be on hand to talk about the planning for a permanent location. Morgan O'Connor from Grand Canyon Railway will be present to discuss Xanterra's environmental policies and how 21st century railroading can minimize it's environmental impact. There will also be a small display of railroad photography by local artisans.
Several pieces of full-scale railroad equipment will be on display, including historic Grand Canyon Railway steam locomotive 29. Also, GCR's "Max Biegert" parlor car will be open for display showcasing how rail barons of old traveled in style and luxury. The Chapter's own Santa Fe Caboose will be open for tours. Activities for each day begin at 10 a.m.
National Train Day was started by Amtrak in 2008 to commemorate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, May 10, 1869. Amtrak sponsors major events in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, and Philadelphia. Local communities around the country are welcomed to host their own events. Visit www.nationaltrainday.com for more information on activities around the country. For information on the area, please visit the Williams Chamber at www.experiencewilliams.com.
Fill the Williams Food Bank van
The Williams Food Bank is challenging all local residents, visitors and train buffs to come out and help fill the van with food. The Grand Canyon Railway and Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce have partnered with the Williams Food Bank to hold this event in conjunction with the third annual national Train Day weekend. All those who donate to the food bank van will receive a raffle ticket for an exciting price. The van will be collecting items both days. For more information, please contact the Williams Chamber at (928) 635-0273.
Also on Saturday, mail carriers for the Williams Post Office will be collecting food from mailboxes. Please place your non-perishable food inside your mailbox early Saturday. Bagged, non-perishable food will also be accepted through Friday at the post office, located at 120 S. First St. during regular business hours. Last year, 705 pounds of food were collected.
All food collected will be donated and distributed by the Williams Food Bank.