Tag Archives: Train

Polar Express

Tickets to the Polar Express Now on Sale

The mercury may be hitting 100, but those in the know are already booking their reserved tickets on the Polar Express™ presented by the Grand Canyon Railway. From November 7 through January 3, the Railway will run special trains from Williams, Ariz., to the North Pole. Polar Express reservations can be made by calling 1-888-848-3511 or by visiting www.thetrain.com/polarexpress.

The Polar Express is a holiday-themed excursion that follows the storyline of the children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg. Trains depart Williams at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the holiday experience. Prices for most departures are $25 for kids ages 2 to 15 and $39 for adults. Matinee tickets are also offered on select dates at 3:30 p.m. ($20 for children and $34 for adults). The Christmas Eve Limited on December 24 is priced at $69 for adults and $49 for children and includes special mementos.

A family favorite, the experience this year will begin with a new light show at the historic Williams Depot. The magical journey travels through the starlit countryside to the North Pole and features a special reading of “The Polar Express” while passengers enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. The North Pole twinkles with enhanced lighting and showcases storefronts, mailboxes and other structures to give the village a permanent, three-dimensional look and feel.

Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers are welcomed by Santa Claus and Elf Bernard. Santa then boards the Polar Express for the return trip to Williams, making his way through the passenger cars, greeting every child and presenting each one with a special gift – a jingle bell signifying their belief in Santa Claus.

The Grand Canyon Railway also offers a Polar Express “overnight package,” including the round-trip train excursion, a one-night stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and breakfast and dinner at the Grand Depot Café. The starting package price for two adults and two children is $379 and does not include taxes. Polar Express passengers also receive a 50 percent discount on a regular every-­‐day future train trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon valid 60-­‐days from their Polar Express experience and train ride.

For more information about the Grand Canyon Railway or to purchase other tickets or packages, visit www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-The-Train (1-800-843-8724).

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper Rummell

Verde Canyon Railroad offers Fall Colors Tour

Glorious fall foliage adds to the colorful intensity of Arizona scenery each fall, and nowhere do the branches dazzle quite as brilliantly as they do along the Verde River. An adventure aboard Verde Canyon Railroad’s Fall Colors Tour showcases the rich hues of scarlet and amber, crimson and gold further enhancing the beauty of this red rock canyon in the heart of Arizona’s Sedona area.

Train passengers savor the comforts of classic rail travel and its exclusive panoramic vantage point to view the wilderness, breathe deep the inimitable autumn air and enjoy time with family. In anticipation of the beauty provided by Mother Nature’s seasonal display, first-class passengers celebrate with private-labeled wines, chocolate brownies and an abundance of freshly-prepared appetizers. The harvest season bounty of on-board refreshments includes fan favorites such as prickly pear margaritas and scrumptious fruit smoothies, adding extra relish to the adventure.

The deep summer greens along this rare desert river transform, changing the canopy of cottonwood, sycamore, willow, mulberry and oak into a riot of color. Photographic opportunities abound at every curve of the tracks. The first glimpse of brilliant vegetation arrives from below, as the train meanders along the canyon rim, overlooking the River. As elevation increases, the railroad cuts deeper into the riparian ravine, bringing passengers eye to eye with swaying tree tops near the Monocline Fold.

Further along the journey the crescendo of color builds as red sandstone walls and pinnacles reach ever higher for the sapphire skies as the vibrant autumn foliage arches over the train’s path from the canyon floor. Warmed by the languor of the late afternoon sun, the Verde Canyon’s hues begin to take on a dramatic radiance perfect for photos and lifetime memories.

The peak of the fall colors in the Verde Canyon depends on temperature, sunlight, and rainfall amounts. Timing can vary each year and can never be predicted exactly, however, passengers can generally be assured of viewing brilliant colors October through Thanksgiving, with the colorful climax reaching its peak during early November. Reservations should be made early, as this is a very popular time.

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October Verde Canyon Railroad offers an added treat, Ales on Rails. It’s a festive party on the patio where guests enjoy the option of a variety of hearty beers from Southwestern craft breweries and an Oktoberfest-style luncheon. The party continues on the train, as the copper, bronze and golden hues of the autumn are complemented by the rich amber lagers served aboard the train.

Postcard-perfect scenery is only part of the magic of Verde Canyon Railroad. The train provides a comfortable, yet exciting journey through this color palette as it travels a leisurely four hours from the charming Clarkdale depot to the ghost ranch at Perkinsville and back. Awe-inspiring rock formations, historic trestles, ancient cliff dwellings and soaring raptors are just a few of the trip’s many highlights. First-class cars boast plush seating, complimentary appetizers and a full-service bar.

Coach offers vintage Pullman-style seating, panoramic windows and snack bars. Everyone has access to open-air viewing cars offering 360-degree views and spectacular photographic opportunities.

Just 25 minutes from scenic Sedona and 10 minutes from historic Jerome, Verde Canyon Railroad is located in the heart of Arizona’s Verde Valley, named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations.

Only two hours from Phoenix, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at VerdeCanyonRR.com.

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3 alternatives for Phoenix-to-Tucson rail line

Arizona transportation officials studying the feasibility of a passenger rail line between Phoenix and Tucson have narrowed the list of alternatives to three.

State Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday that all three alternatives would run along Interstate 10 south of Eloy.

One alternative would share the right of way with Union Pacific Railroad north of Eloy.

ADOT has been working with federal officials, local governments and planning organizations in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties to determine which routes to further study.

Nearly 7,000 Arizonans completed surveys with ideas of which routes would best serve the communities along the proposed rail line.

ADOT hopes to have one preferred alternative for further study by the end of this year.

However, there currently isn’t a construction schedule or funding for the project.

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Amphitheatre renamed Ak-Chin Pavilion

Live Nation announced a partnership agreement with the Ak-Chin Indian Community that includes the naming rights for Desert Sky Pavilion in Phoenix.  The building will now be called Ak-Chin Pavilion. The venue will be host to an all-star lineup of performers this year including Pitbull & Ke$ha tomorrow night, Big Time Rush & Victoria Justice (6/25), Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival (7/5), Kid Rock (7/24), Luke Bryan (7/27), Train (8/7), Rascal Flatts (9/12), Keith Urban (9/29), John Mayer (10/2), Depeche Mode (10/8), Jason Aldean (10/17) and more to be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community has long standing roots in Arizona and have always believed that investing in our community is the right thing to do,” said Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. “We are excited about this partnership with Live Nation and working together to bring quality live entertainment to the Valley.”

“We couldn’t be happier to enter into this marketing relationship with the Ak-Chin Indian Community at our premier live entertainment venue in Phoenix,” said Maureen Ford, president of Live Nation’s Venue Network. “Their community and entrepreneurial spirit makes this sponsorship alliance a great fit, enabling them to reach, engage and connect with live music fans at our venue.”

Desert Sky Pavilion, which is operated by Live Nation, first opened in November of 1990 with a concert by Billy Joel. The 20,000-seat amphitheatre is used mainly for concerts but is also available for other functions and has hosted events such as graduations, seminars, speaking engagements & company outings. It also recently served as additional parking for the NASCAR race fans. The Pavilion is also the only Phoenix Point of Pride in Maryvale.