US Roadtrip 2017 - 9: Canyons and Potholes (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
US Roadtrip 2017 - 8: Waiting for Helpers at Route 66 (50 p.)

The video for this series (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):


Multimedia slideshow:

February 22 2017

I waited in Kingman Canyon for a train to the West Coast - and finally, after 25 minutes, it came! Sadly, it approached on the lower track, but you could get a shot of the bridge.

The three locos were led by BNSF Dash-9 #5000 in old livery, delivered to BNSF in August 2004 shortly before the rebranding of the company - in the background Route 66.

The campers in the valley packed their stuff, and I also moved downhill as it seemed like all trains would use the lower track, so I did not want to take another similar shot.

Back at the car, immediately another westbound approached.

This time a mixed freight, led by new BNSF 3947 (GE ET44C4) and brand new 4270 (GE ES44C4).

Panorama featuring the "Santa Fe"-bridge. :0)

The "third hand" caught the rest of the leading locomotives including CSX 414 (GE AC44CW / built 1999) and as a treat: BNSF 155. This is an EMD GP60M (produced in 1990), the last class of four-axled EMD-engines. It had been a proper ATSF locomotive and still wore the Santa Fe "warbonnet"-design until it was repainted about a year ago.

Only the second train with engine at the rear I spotted here, and something interesting: Citirail Express (CSEX) 1414 (GE ES44AC).

In the background you can see the end of the lonely canyon section where the railroad is joined by Interstate 40.

We drove back towards Kingman but did not get far as the next train followed only 10 minutes later. I just managed to stop quickly and jump out of the car.

Actually, I had planned to visit Valentine that morning, but since we had been to Kingman Canyon instead, we decided to drive ahead on Interstate 40 and declared this small road our personal Route 66 - it definitely had more character, anyway.

In the proximity of Kingman station, mighty ATSF 3759 can be found as a monument, built in 1928 - 18 years after our Nevada Northern engine #40 - also by Baldwin.

These "Northern" 4-8-4s had been converted to oil fired engines in 1936, 1938-41 80-inch driving wheels had been fitted.

We explored the town a bit...

A few old buildings could be found: at Mohave County courthouse you might think you were in Tuscany, but this is no Fiat Panda.

We sped eastward on the Interstate 40 - at least that's what we thought... over many miles the mountainous section of the freeway turned out to be riddled with potholes - I never experienced any that bad, maybe on side roads in the Ukraine - the only motorway on Cuba definitely is in much better shape.

At Seligman we saw something mixed standing...

... in the truest sense of the word: BNSF 8051 in front of 715 (Dash 9, built 1997) in classic Santa Fe "warbonnet"-design, followed by a Norfolk Southern-engine, cars in green Burlington Northern-livery and a loco in old BNSF-paint scheme at the end of the train.

We drove on...

... to Williams where the Route 66 business is thriving.

Williams is the southern terminal of the tourist Grand Canyon Railway.

This is not the BNSF-mainline which is accessed via Williams Junction east outside town. The Amtrak stop of the "Southwest Chief" is also located there.

The Grand Canyon Railway owns a large array of historic passenger coaches from various eras:

Steam trains are formed of Harriman Pullman-coaches from 1923.

However, the regular steam service was abandoned for various reasons in 2008.
Single steam specials are still running, like this fantastic Lerro Photography-charter just a few weeks before (ALCo FPA-4s were also hauling the regular train), very nice videos can be found here:

1917-built ALCo Mikado #539 is not operational anymore.

The pretty station is well-used for tourism.

We visited a micro-brewery near the station offering a large assortment, as we found several times during the journey. Overall, the availability of drinkable beer has improved in the USA – of course I did not taste any until I stopped driving.

Next, we drove 50 miles north on Route 64 to Tusayan where we stayed the night in the "Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon". On the toilet in the room we found this sign, at a public toilet another - well, foreign languages are not the locals' strong suit... ;-)

Weather in the afternoon was mixed - no fire risk.

We still drove to the national park entrance and bought a ticket at a ranger station north of Tusayan.

The daily train waited for departure at the northern terminal of the Grand Canyon Railway, Grand Canyon Village on the southern rim.

One more selfie.

The end point - not really a station - consists of two tracks and a reversing triangle.

GM-EMD F40PHR are in charge of daily duties, built in 1979 and used into the 1990s hauling Amtrak long distance trains.

The "third hand" also captured the departure, I filmed (see video at minute 31:44).

Rear view of the observation car (see train equipment link above), the track triangle is accessed to the left.

Right next to it... better keep the view for next day, with a much better weather forecast. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.