The Grand Canyon Railway (GCR) will fire up its iconic 1923 steam engine for regularly scheduled runs from Williams, Ariz. to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2014.
While more than 100,000 steam engines were built in the U.S. during the steam era, it is estimated that less than 100 still run, many over just short distances and at very low speeds. However, the GCR’s 90-year-old Locomotive No. 4960 steam engine will be let loose to romp the 65 miles from Williams to the Grand Canyon—a rare sight, sound and experience in today’s high-tech world. CBS featured the engine and experience in a major segment of CBS This Morning in September of 2013.
Locomotive No. 4960 is an industry pioneer that runs on waste vegetable oil from French fries and chicken wings—a fuel alternative that reduces carbon emissions by 28,856 pounds per round trip to the Grand Canyon. Even the water for the engine’s boiler is captured snowmelt and rain water.
While the Grand Canyon Railway operates daily (excluding December 25) and is normally powered with diesel engines, Locomotive No. 4960 will pull the train on the first Saturday on every month from April through September 2014, as well as on Presidents Day (February 17), Earth Day (April 19,) and on the anniversary of the railroad (September 17).