Grand Canyon Railway, Tours from Williams AZ, History

Grand Canyon Railway Tours from Williams AZ

The American West boomed in the late 1800s with miners, immigrants and settlers, and transportation was desperately needed. In response, the busy Santa Fe Railroad built an offshoot railway in 1901 and thus the Grand Canyon Railway was born. Today the railway’s vibrant history is still apparent in its popularity; it now carries over 130,000 passengers to the canyon and back every year.


The Grand Canyon was a barren place before construction of the Grand Canyon Railway. As hotels and attractions started to spring up, tourism swelled and what better way to transport guests to their destination? The train was the primary mode of canyon transport until the 1920s when Henry Ford’s Model T’s rolled off the assembly line in mass production.

The railway barely held on until 1968 when it closed for good and the cars were sold off to private buyers. A renewed interest opened the railway once again in 1991 and today passengers enjoy a luxurious trip to the canyon and back in authentic early 20th century surroundings.

Grand Canyon Railway tours operate between Williams AZ and Grand Canyon Village (the journey lasts just over two hours). Visitors looking to extend their stay can book a room in the historic Grand Canyon Hotel adjacent to the station.

Engine seasons

Vintage diesel train engines pull the train year round on its trips to the canyon. During the busy summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Day the historic steam engines are polished up to pull the train.

Ticket rates and seating

Guests can choose from five levels of comfort when travelling on the Grand Canyon Railway. Prices do not include tax or National Park entrance fees.

Coach Class. Enjoy a stylish journey in a restored 1923 round roofed Pullman car. Reversible seats let passengers face one another and complimentary soft drinks are served throughout the journey. Travel in comfort no matter the season with large windows, ceiling fans and heating. Tickets from $25 to $60.

Club Class. Redecorated in 2002, the Club car offers a hand finished mahogany bar, room to stand and authentic period carpeting. Travel in freshly refurbished surroundings while a staff bartender serves drinks from a fully stocked bar. Tickets from $45 to $80.

First Class. Enjoy lounging in oversized reclining seats while snacking on coffee, fruit and pastries in the morning journey with champagne in the afternoon. Complimentary soft drinks served during the day. Tickets from $85 to $120.

Dome Car. Two First Class cars are capped with an enclosed dome that allows passengers to experience panoramic views of their surroundings. Tickets from $120 to $145; children under 11 not allowed.

Parlor Car. This luxury car is timeless in its elegance. An open air platform at the rear allows for terrific photos. Enjoy coffee, fruit and pastries throughout the morning, champagne and appetizers in the afternoon. Tickets from $120 to $155; children under 11 not allowed.

Group discounts

The Grand Canyon Railway is great for group travel. Groups of 16 to 24 people receive a 10 percent discount on their tickets; groups of 25 or more save 20 percent. Discounts for school trips are also available, contact the Railway at for more information.

For more information

Reservations, schedules and more information are available on the Grand Canyon Railway’s Website. Call the Business Office within the U.S. at 1 800 THE TRAIN (843 8724) or (1) 520 773 1976 internationally.