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2002 NRHS Convention -- Sunset Trip to the Grand Canyon ~ August 22nd, 2002

by Elizabeth Guenzler

The timing of the return to Williams from the Verde Canyon Railroad allowed me to see and photograph the afternoon Grand Canyon Railway train returning. Before that arrived though, I had a couple of other items to take pictures of.

The Grand Canyon Railway depot with ATSF caboose 999727 on display.

Grand Canyon Railway 0-8-0 20 on display at the rear of Max and Thelma's Restaurant.

The afternoon train approaching Williams.

GCRY 2-8-2 4960 (nee Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 4960) leading the afternoon train back to the station.

GCRY FPA4 6776 (nee Canadian National 6776) and FPB4 6860 (nee CN 6860) as the diesels on the train.

Some of the GCRY's former Southern Pacific coaches in the consist.

GCRY coach 2096 Club Car.

GCRY GP7 2134 (ex. ATSF 2134, nee ATSF 2881) as back-up to the regular Canyon train.

GCRY FPA4 6793 (nee CN 6793). I then walked back to my hotel and relaxed the rest of the time.

The main event of August 22nd was to be a "sunset excursion" up to the Grand Canyon. Since that did not leave Williams until 12:30 and I did not participate in the shop tour, I had the morning to myself. So my camera had a good workout as I took pictures of the regular morning Grand Canyon train as well as the consist of our train.

GCRY 2-8-0 18 (ex. Lake Superior and Ishpeming 18, nee LS&I 11) built 1910.

GCRY 2-8-0 4960 leads the morning train out of Williams with the Alco in the consist living up to its reputation.

The steam train leaves Williams en route to the Grand Canyon.

GCRX coach 3123 (nee Amtrak) on one of the tracks at Williams. It was then that I photographed the complete consist of the afternoon train, marvelling at the private varnish, something I had not experienced before. My enthrallment and enjoyment with PVs would only grow once I was on board and saw the opulence and quality of the cars.

ATSF 4-8-4 3751 had made the trip (with the private cars) from its home in Los Angeles for the convention. It is owned by the San Bernardino Railway Historical Society.

DLMX 4219, the back-up tender for the steam engine. It came from Doyle McCormack's shop in Portland for this week's events.

PPCX 800320 "Pony Express" baggage/tool car. Former Canadian Pacific horse car.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas heavyweight Pullman coach 403 built 1913 as all-steel chair car 884. Rebuilt 1948 as 403 for Vice-President and General Manager H.M. Warden. Sold to KCS in 1961, then sold to Saline River and Northern in Texas in 1977. To Allis Chalmers 1979, to MKT in 1981 and to John Marshall in 1988. Returned to Amtrak standards in 1991 by Texas Southern.

Close-up of the platform of MKT 403.

NRHX 001 heavyweight Pullman coach "Dover Harbor" owned by the Washington, DC Chapter NRHS. PPCX 800073. Built 1923 as combine baggage-library car "Maple Shade". Re-buit 1934 and re-named "Dover Harbor" - one of eight cars to be designated in Dover Series. Assigned to Michigan Central Railroad and saw service on Cleveland Limited and Knickerbocker trains in the 1940s. 1953 - painted from Pullman livery to New York Central livery and assigned to Montrealer and Washingtonian. Retired October 1965 and sold in 1967. Chapter purchased it in 1979. It is the only operational heavyweight Pullman revenue car for private use on Amtrak trains.

Virginia Rail Investment Corporation (VRIC) 7 "Kitchi Gammi Club" Built 1923 by Pullman as ten- sectioon open platform car "Mountain View". Re-built 1937 and re-named "Kitchi Gammi Club". Assigned to Nickel Plate Road and converted to Business Car 7. Converted to wreck train escort car in 1966 and retired in 1988. It was bought by VRIC in 1989 and renovated.

The interior of the "Kitchi Gammi Club".

The opposite end of "Kitchi Gammi Club.

ATSF 503 "Plaza Santa Fe" PPCX 800392. Built 1950 by Pullman as Pleasure Dome-Turquoise Dining Room-Bar Lounge 503 for Super Chief. Became AMTK 9353 in 1971. California Rail Tours, who added the car's originally-intended name, has owned this car since 1986.

The Santa Fe decorative grille in the dome of ATSF 502.

Pennsylvania Railroad RECC 7149 "Colonial Crafts" PPCX 800061. Built 1949 by Pullman and entered service as part of PRR train 70 for New York. Retired 1971. Bob Brown purchased it from Penn Central and used it as vacation home at museum in Western Pennsylvania. In 1985, it was purchased by Rod and Ellen Fishburn who restored it.

Interior views of "Colonial Crafts" with some of the Harvey Girls on board.

SP 2981 "Overland Trail" PPCX 800663. Built 1949 as 39-seat club lounge with barber shop and shower for Southern Pacific. In 196, the lounge was stripped and converted to a dance floor. Purchased by Amtrak in 1971 and operated on Reno Fun Train between Oakland and Reno.

Interior of SP 2981 "Overland Trail".

California Zephyr dome car "Silver Lariat" PPCX 800190. Built 1948 and ran in service for original California Zephyr for 22 years until it was discontinued in 1970. Amtrak purchased it 1971 and used for long-distance service until 1980 when it was retired upon the arrival of the Superliners. Al Bishop and Burt Hermey purchased it in 1985.

The lit staircase leading up to the dome portion of "Silver Lariat".

New York, New Haven and Hartford "Pine Tree State" PPCX 800236. Built 1955 by Pullman as sleeper/ buffet/lounge 553. Saw service as first class sleeper assigned to northbound Montrealer and south bound Washingtonian. Transferred to Penn Central 4435 in 1968 then to Amtrak 3212 in 1971. It was upgraded to current standards by the Piedmont Carolina Chapter NRHS in 1996.

Interior view of "Pine Tree State".

Denver, Rio Grande and Western "Royal Gorge" PPCX 800380. Built 1950 by Pullman then became Pennsylvania 1148, Penn Central 4448 and Amtrak 3361. Owned by California Rail Tours since 1985.

WATX 500 "Clinchfield". PPCX 800402. Owned by Watauga (TN) Chapter NRHS and built 1954 by Pullman as Florida East Coast "St. Augustine". Saw service on Dixie Land route between Chicago and Miami. Service continued on trains out of Chicago and New York upon the formation of Amtrak. It was sold to a shortline operation in 1981 for Virginia tourist service. Purchased by the Chapter in 1986 who renovated it. This was the car that I was assigned to for all the convention events.

Norfolk and Western 539 "Powhatan Arrow". PPCX 800403. Owned by Watauga Chapter NRHS. Built 1946 and operated between Cincinnati and Norfolk. When this service was discontinued in 1971, the car was put into commuter service in Chicago and retired until 1982 when N&W selected it for operation in Norfolk Southern steam program with N&W 611. Chapter received the car in 1992 and fully restored it.

ATSF coach 4705 "El Capitan" (ex. AMTK 4705 1981, exx. AMTK 4816 1971, nee ATSF 2282). PPCX 800721. Acquired by Rail Journeys West in 2000.

AMTK P42 4 and P42 7 used as head-end power for the convention consist.

2002 NRHS Sunset Excursion Trip

It was then time to board the train which departed Williams at 12:30.

My ticket for this trip.

We stop at MP 44.9 (Anita) for a runby and I captured the reverse move.

The first runby of the NRHS convention at MP 44.9 of the Grand Canyon Railway. It was a sight to behold and the first time I had seen a A-B-B-A set of FPA4s. Very impressive. From here, we continued to the Grand Canyon station where I detrained.

"Kitchi Gammi Club" as seen from the station.

Myself at El Tovar.

I started to explore the South Rim area and the re-construction of a Hopi House opposite El Tovar.

Views of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I could not believe the expanse of this natural wonder of the world.

Trying to convey the depth. I then had dinner at El Tovar with fellow NRHS members and enjoyed myself a lot.

The Grand Canyon station at dusk was my last photograph of the day. We reboarded the train for the evening trip back to Williams. Along the route, the train was delayed for a short as we hit a cow but the trip back was a lot of fun nonetheless. I returned to my hotel and turned in for the night.

This had been a fantastic and very memorable day and I would have two more days of similar experiences to enjoy and savour. I was completely in my element and loving every moment of it.