CLARKDALE, AZ -- (Marketwire) -- 03/04/13 -- Verde Canyon Railroad's handsome FP7 engines, two of only ten still operating in North America, celebrate their 16th anniversary powering Clarkdale's scenic excursion train. Their maiden voyage in 1997 marked the start of a new chapter of an illustrious career. Manufactured by General Motors Electromotive Division in LaGrange, Illinois in 1953, these iron horse beauties were originally built for service on the Alaska Railroad.
Colorado-based Mountain-Diesel purchased the engines from the Alaska Railroad and exhibited them in a California museum before leasing them to the Wyoming-Colorado Railroad in 1988. Here they powered a scenic excursion operation which, due to cold winters and remote location, offered a very brief tourist season. In November 1996, locomotives 1510 and 1512 left the Wyoming-Colorado line and headed south to their new home in sunny Clarkdale, Arizona, where different scenery and a novel paint scheme welcomed them to a new career as the muscle for the Verde Canyon Railroad.
On March 8, 1997 the FP7s, decked out in their new eagle-motif, powered the Verde Canyon Railroad for the very first time. In the years since, these midcentury-style classics have become an iconic emblem of Arizona, symbolic of Clarkdale and the Verde Valley. These impeccably maintained locomotives are popular with rail fans worldwide. Verde Canyon Railroad celebrates the 60th birthday of engines 1510 and 1512 this spring, cheering these classics on to many more years of honored service on National Train Day, May 11.
From the moment you arrive at the Verde Canyon Railroad depot, you will be transported to an earlier age -- the age of the iron horse, when the train depot was the hub of every small town in America. A visit to the John Bell Museum set in a 1940's boxcar near the depot, where rare photos and artifacts from mining and railroad history are displayed, rounds out a superb railroad experience. Then you will be able to hop aboard the fully-restored vintage train that will take you through Verde Canyon.
Verde Canyon Railroad runs all year with a schedule that varies seasonally. The depot is located in Clarkdale, 25 minutes from Sedona and two hours north of Phoenix, making Verde Canyon Railroad the perfect Arizona day trip. For an overnight stay, check out our Room, Ride and Meal packages at verdecanyonrr.com. Call 800-293-7245 or book online now.
It's not the destination, it's the journey
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Teresa A. Propeck
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