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“One of our best decisions” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway
233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard, Williams, AZ 86046
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Ranked #1 of 22 attractions in Williams
Type: Scenic Railroads, Scenic Drives
Activities: Group tours/train, Getting married
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Historic train that takes a 65-mile trip from Williams to the Grand Canyon and offers great views of the Arizona high country.
indian springs, al
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“One of our best decisions”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

This was one of our best decisions, and made travelling to and from the canyon for our mule-ride much more pleasant and easier that if we had driven.
We stayed at the GCR Hotel in Williams, took the train to the canyon in the "Dome" car, and returned 3 days later in the first-class car. We should have taken the first -class car on the way up as well, since the seating is rather cramped (think airplane), and the only scenery is prarie-desert, with the view from the first-class cars is just as good. Plus, the seating is much, much more comfortable. We had a great time on the way back with the other passengers in the car, had nice champagne toast, and a couple glasses of champagne.
The food on the train in the dome and first-class cars was very good - an assortment of appetizers, fruits, cheeses, and pastries.
There was never as issue with luggage transfer to and from the train and the hotels, which was very much appreciated, and really simplified the whole process.
Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the "train robbery" did not take place as scheduled, but otherwise the trip was very pleasant, comfortable and entertaining.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
205 reviews 205 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“Adults only Fred Harvey Luxury Dome!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

For only a few dollars more you can ride the rails in spacious luxury. We had only 12 people on our morning ride up to the Grand Canyon, and 24 coming back (people who had spent the night at the canyon rode back) in the afternoon. We enjoyed a full-length observation dome above a gorgeous "lounge". No children or other passengers were allowed in this car, so it almost felt like your own personal rail car. The morning service offered a buffet of fruit and pastries, coffee, etc. The afternoon buffet had cheese, veggie, and cracker platters, along with champagne. We also enjoyed full bar service from our dedicated attendant. Absolutely delightful!!!

My only complaint is the number of "entertainers" who came thru the car - seeming to want tips for their antics. There was the sheriff, the pair of young banjo balladeers, an accordian-playing wild west cowgirl, a pair of "robber bandits," . . . and you couldn't avoid them. Perhaps a tip jar for the lot of them would have been a good idea. And, there's the official train photographer who came thru early, then back again with the packets of photos (2 small and 1 large photo) for $35. Yikes.

Ignoring the "entertainment," the F.H. Luxury Dome train ride was outstanding and I'll highly recommend it to friends and family wanting a fun way to visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

The G.C. Railway's packages (which include hotel and meals) is a fun and easy way to book a group or family tour.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Layton, Utah
Top Contributor
288 reviews 288 reviews
70 attraction reviews
Reviews in 126 cities Reviews in 126 cities
249 helpful votes 249 helpful votes
“Information to help you plan”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

You can book different classes of seats for the round trip. You can ride the cheap seats to the canyon, and then splurge for luxury on the way back. There is nothing to see during the journey except desert, so don’t bother with the observation deck seating. Mixed drinks are served in the luxury areas, but not in the cheap seats. The complimentary orange juice and pastries in the luxury seating are very low quality. Do not plan on eating this as a breakfast; you will be sorely disappointed. The snack car has very minimal selection.

There is no way to opt out of the entertainment on the train – it literally comes to you. Even in the cramped observation deck. Although the train’s top speed is 40 mph, don’t expect a quiet, peaceful journey.

Bring enough money for tipping at least three people.

Our instructions were to arrive 1 ½ hours prior to boarding time in the morning. We parked and picked up our tickets in the first 15 minutes. There was no reason to be early; we had to wait an hour for the “shoot out”. The shoot out just seems to be cover for when they back the diesel train up for boarding. Perhaps they don’t want you to know you’re not being pulled by the antique engine on display beside the station.

Don’t book the related bus tours that take you from the train unless you absolutely don’t want to do any walking. Everyone we spoke with that took the bus tours advised against it. Once you leave the train, it is an easy walk to the canyon overlook. There are trails going both directions on the rim. You can easily walk to the Geological Museum and back before the return train. There are two restaurants and a burger/sandwich place at the rim near the train depot.

You can see a lot more of the Grand Canyon in one day if you take your own car. If you are a train buff or hate driving, taking the train can be a fun experience. We were lucky enough to have Kathy with a “K” for our return journey. Kathy was extremely enthusiastic and helped pass the otherwise boring ride on the way back. The trivia games and jokes bridged the gap between young and old. You just have to be in the mood for that type of thing.

I agree with some of the other reviewers about the “train robbery” and having guns pointed at them. I don’t think passengers should be expected to hand over more tip money after having paid so much for the train tickets!

The train is a great thing in that it takes cars off the roads and frees up parking spots at the Grand Canyon overlooks. Carefully consider your options; do you only want a few hours of viewing the canyon or do you want the whole day with the option of hiking using your own vehicle?

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorset, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Grand Canyon with a difference”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

A wonderful car-free day out. Relaxed atmosphere. Good company with other travellers. Friendly service. Fun entertainment. Worth spending a little more on the deluxe package to get option of sitting under the glass dome, in the spacious carriage (with lots of cake, fruit and savoury nibbles), or standing on the deck at the back of the train with the wind in your hair!
3 hrs at Grand Canyon was fine for us, as we had been before, but 1st-timers may want a little more time there.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A great day trip.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012 via mobile

We had guests from Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma visiting us in Arizona for the first time. They wanted to see the Grand Canyon while here. Walking distances or hopping on and off shuttles was going to be a challenge for some of our guests. The Grand Canyon Railroad proved the perfect solution. Our hostess on the train, Kathy (with a K) was a delight and very entertaining. We took lunch along and enjoyed it as we cruised to the Canyon. We spent about 3 hours admiring the views and then back to Williams. A truly wonderful day.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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