At the train station after picking our tickets up, we strolled around the gift shop, patio areas and museum while waiting to board. You can buy your lunch from the station and either eat it in their patio or save it for the train. We chose to splurge on first class as the seats were better for Ray's back. There were only 20 people in our car called the "Cottonwood". There were about 6 empty seats so Ray and I were able to sit on either side depending where the view was. You have a hostess, get a glass of champagne for a toast to the journey, light snacks including chicken wings and sandwiches etc and a bar to buy local wine, beer and other spirits. Attached to this car is your own private open air viewing car. Quite a deal for only $15/person more compared to coach. The coach class has about 40 people per car, so a lot more crowded. The train trip is 20 miles up the Verde Canyon and then they unhook the engines and they move from the front of the train to the back of the train by use of a siding. The caboose becomes the third car! The train goes pretty slow ... top speed 15 mph so the trip takes about 4 hours.
|The outside patio area at the station.|
One of the two FP7 diesel locomotives powering the train. There are only ten of these in North America.
|Our first-class car.|
|One of the viewing cars.|
|Vintage 1940's pullman car.|
|Suzanne, our hostess, made a mean prickly pear margarita.|
David L. Durbano bought the branch line in 1988. Passenger service between Clarkdale at milepost 38 and Perkinsville at milepost 18, resumed in 1990 under the name Verde Canyon Railroad.Milepost 0 of the AZCR is at Drake, where the line meets the BNSF Railway system. The AZCR track to Drake is still used for hauling freight even though the excursion line stops at Perkinsville.
Excursions involve a 4-hour, 40-mile (64 km) round trip from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back. Scenes from How the West Was Won were filmed at Perkinsville in 1960s. The route follows the Verde River, crossing bridges and trestles, and passes through a 680-foot-long (210 m) curved tunnel. Between milepost 30 and Perkinsville, most of the land along the railroad right-of-way is in the Prescott National Forest or the Coconino National Forest (across the river).
|Sampling the local beer ... I make a great camera assistant eh!|
|Yup there is the caboose. A private coach for up to 6 passengers for $700.|
Over the tressel
Above, here comes the tunnel.
|Here we go into the 680 foot tunnel.|
There were lots of rock formations on the way they told you of. Some easy to see ... others more than my imagination! Suzanne did suggest more prickly pear margaritas to help with the "formation recognition".
|Abe Lincoln Rock (more margaritas please)|
|Bathtub Rock (Ray says it looks more like Toilet Rock)|
|Rattlesnake Rock (just the head of)|
After 2 hours we pulled into the abandoned train station of Perkinsville. The land around this is still a working ranch by the Perkins family.
Here is the engine going by us to hook up to the back of the train.
Yup the caboose is now the first car or third in.
The Verde River Canyon colours were beautiful. It was such a treat to actually see flowing water in an area that is so desolate.
It was a very long day for Ray and the last hour of the trip he was squirming with pain. Tomorrow he will be "couched" to recover as the next day is his 60th birthday,