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As posted on another forum it is a very sad day for steam railroading. Although not yet confirmed 100% it seems that the Grand Canyon Railway has made the decision to cancel all steam operations. Also it has be stated that they have already laid-off a large amount of there shop crew. Sad to see another Railroad derail there steam program, I am lucky I made it there last weekend as it seems to be the last.
 

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Bill
What a disappointment, particularly since they just arranged for another locomotive. Quite a blow for steam and tourism. Glad we had the pleasure to make the trip. Interesting that the website does not indicate this, maybe if it was public there would be a great lost of attendance.
 

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A Steamed Elder
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This IS sad news!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif
 

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Oh, thats a bummer, any reasons given?

Lets hope its just a temporary move during the slow winter season. I hope they can keep the operation afloat without them, the steam engines were a great draw. We went last year, its a nice trip. We were hoping to go again sometime early next year, I guess the fuel cost for the oil they fuel the locomotives with the necessary labor costs to maintain them just got too high. If it was just fuel prices, I'm surprised they didn't just raise the prices, maybe there were other issues like the boiler certifications and Kafkaesque insurance liability requirements.
 

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Her is the link to some more information I found, seems like it is permanent not just for the winter. The railroad changed hands again and the new owner (Mr. Anschutz) has shut down steam at another railroad.
[www.altamontpress.com]
 

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Interesting read on the Discussion in the thread:
What i don't get is why they laid us off based on seniority not skill level. GCRY just lost all its steam people, all of their night crew is gone, its 2 big diesel mechanics, 2 of its best machinists, and a damn good welder. all that's left is the electricians and the car shop guys.
 

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Wow, I really wonder about its future viability without the steam draw, Those steam engines were a MAJOR part of its marketing PR and its draw. I sure hope the new owner doesnt screw with what else works well on the line, like the Dome Car service and such.

Be interesting to see where their steam roster ends up now.

What was the other RR this Mr. Anschutz shut the steam down at? Any word on how well its doing finacially afterwords?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will pass this on, although I do not know much about it. According to what I have read this gentleman at some point owned the DRGW and the SP? I am not sure if there was a tourist railroad named the SP that is just what I read, someone here may know more about it.
 

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Bill,

I read something similar. Apparently this guy had something to do with the Ski Train.

Sorry to hear that steam will be gone from this operation. I had the opportunity to ride it in 1997, but because no steam was running that day, and we had been riding trains for nearly 2 weeks, we would skip it and ride the bus instead.

Mark
 

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If these rumors are true then this is a disaster, just a complete disaster /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif

Hard to see this happen after visiting the line in 1983 when it was at the brink of removal to riding the line the first year of operations in 1989. The transformation the Grand Canyon Railroad went through to reach its pinnacle of today has all been for not in my opinion.

Steam was pivotal. I doubt diesel only will have the same pull, even with the vintage FPAs. Shame since the steam infrastructure was all there and vast amounts of capital were spent on this just to end so abruptly. I understand the economics if they had gradually reduced to no steam over the next few years, but to cut it all off when the full infrastructure was in place makes no sense to me at all. The only thing that I can possibly think of to rationalize this decision is that #4960 was due for major work. Then the decision starts making more sense. But this write up on their website describes just how much was spent to keep the locomotives running, especially the steamers:

Grand Canyon Shops

If this really is the infamous Philip Anshutz, then Mr. Anshutz you're well on your way to ruining yet another railroad.

I'm so shocked I can't really say much more in a civil tongue so I'll cut it now.
:mad:
 

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I suspect it may have more to do with the costs of labor to maintain the engines, workers liability and insurance costs and the ongoing costs to keep the locomotives in daily working order. The bottom line keeping a steam engine in working order can be very expensive in all these catagories, given the steam engine was due for a costly major overhaul. Sad if thats the case, that the new owners are more concerned about the bottom line dollars then the value of having real steam engines working the line as a tourist magnet. I would have thought they would have tried to find some middle ground instead of such a Draconian action.
 

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I find this hard to believe. The GCRR receives a large subsidy from the National Park Service to operate as it is an alternative method of getting to the Grand Canyon. If people stop riding the train to get there they will loose a large part of their operating funds. They do have diesel locos but i won't be riding any of them.
 

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Could be with budget cuts in federal funding combined with new ownership made the steam program go away as we have discussed. But if one looks at the model of the Strasburg RR in PA the GCR had the right combination: great shops, good attraction and tourism. So, it could be made to work if one wanted to make the correct investments.
 

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Robbie you are quite correct in his ownership of the various RR. I think it all comes down to money and the cost to operate and comply with the FRA rules for steam. They are high maintenance item even tho the dude has tons of money. Its a same for someone of his caliber to quit running steam. A lot of folks disliked him when he owned RRs. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif Later RJD
 

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Those steam engines never did just run the cars up to the Grand Canyon. Everytime I saw them -they had diesels along for the ride. The cars they pulled and the number they pulled would have been too much for the Grand Canyon RR steam engines. We can blame someone but the truth is - it's a cost thing more so than anything else...and reliabillity. See my photos here:
http://lizardattitude.homestead.com/LiZardDtTiTuDe_realtrains08.html
 

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To be honest, spodwo, they could very well have hauled the steam excursions alone... Problem was, the engines dont have HEP power -- so unless they have a power car (which may or may not be the case), they need a diesel to provide the HEP power..

Mike
 

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In the late 90s when I rode that train.
It was steam only,and Pullman cars only.
It was a terrific ride........Staged train robberys and all.
 

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GCRR trains do have a special HEP car, that allows the trains to run regardless of what locomotive is pulling it.

http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/7/9/0/7790.1168610400.jpg
HEP car, between the 1st passenger car and the second Alco unit.

I am still wondering what the long term plan for the GCRR is thru Xanterra, I mean if there so Green that they are killing the steam engines and maybe even the Alco's, whats left to pull the trains? They would need twice the number of F40ph's they currently have, and I would really hate to see some generic GP unit at point. Maybe a fleet of Green Goats?

I still think the suits are looking at this from a bottom line cost savings measure more so than any "green" considerations, my concern is that at the time Xanterra took over operations in '07 there was a stated plan to try and severly limit auto traffic into the canyon and to make the GCRR the primary point of entry for people into the park, which to my interpretation could signal essentially turning it into more of a transit system than a tourist line, and as such the costs associated with the steam loco's would not figure into the bottom line, not to mention the labor costs asociated, the proof will be in what they chose as motive power from here on out.
 

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All I can say is that if they make it a nontourist line then they better lower their prices. $65 per person minimum is too high for a family to pay.
Russ
 
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