The History of the Grand Canyon Railway

The History of the Grand Canyon Railway
The Grand Canyon Railway started as the brainchild of Bucky O'Neill, an Arizona sheriff who saw the potential of bringing tourism to the wilds of Arizona.


The track leading to the Grand Canyon was finished in 1901 under the supervision of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.



The train charged passengers $3.95 for the trip. This replaced a grueling eight-hour stagecoach ride from northern Arizona for $15.


By 1904 many hotels and restaurants were developed to support tourism. The jewel of the south rim, the El Tovar Hotel, opened in 1905.


The end of service for the Grand Canyon Railway came in 1968. Major highways to the canyon were finished, leading to more families driving rather than taking the train. Passenger numbers fell during the last few years, forcing the line to shut down.


After 21 years, the railway was resurrected. A detailed restoration replaced the dilapidated tracks and depots, and once again, the line was open to passengers.


The line still runs today using a modern train designed to look like it did when the line was originally opened. It offers four classes of service and tickets start at $70 for adults.


Article Written By Sara John

Sara John is a professional writer and copy editor living in Des Moines, IA. She has worked professionally for seven years, and written articles for the Long Beach Press-Telegram, as well as other local publications. She is a graduate of Grand View University and holds a B.A. in journalism.

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