Welcome to Day 3.
Saturday morning 6-25-11 my sister and I made our way over to the Grand Canyon Railways depot at Williams, AZ around 08:00 to pick up our train tickets for the 09:30 departure.
At the ticket office we were informed we were assigned to the Coconino and boarding would begin at 09:15. I stammered a bit saying "Coconino?" and I am guessing a rather big smile had to have appeared on my face. Yup, this trip had just hit paydirt! Laurie knew I was overjoyed and 09:15 could not come soon enough for me.
At 09:00 we were ready to board and I first got a shot of the front of our train at Williams. Power was the same as yesterday, the 237/239. I then had Laurie take a photo of me with the Coconino before boarding. I was lucky enough to be the first one to board the Coconino. We made our way up to the dome and found our assigned seats, second from the front on the left side. At precisely 09:30 the train started moving out of the depot. We were on our way. Of course I took a lot of photos from the dome looking forward.
I went downstairs for some refreshments and then explored the Coconino awhile. Then it was back up into the dome to enjoy the view from this former NP domecar.
Close to noon it was announced the train was approaching the Canyon and if you look to the left you will see a 10 second glimpse of the Canyon, the only time you will see the Grand Canyon from the train. I was ready with the camera for that brief look. After turning the train we backed up to where we were to get off. Everyone else left the dome and I got a few more photos of the dome section of the Coconino.
I was then the last to get off the Coconino and before meeting my sister at one of the restaurants took a few photos of the dome car having just ridden on it up to the Grand Canyon.
We had about 3 hours to look around as boarding for the trip back was to begin at 3:00 PM. I then made my way to the Arizona Room at the Bright Angel Lodge where I met Laurie for lunch. It was very hot and windy outside and the AC inside felt real nice. After lunch we walked along the Canyons south rim a ways and I took a lot of photos including these.
It was so hot outside and my feet soon started to hurt. Not used to walking on such hot pavement. We looked at a few gift shops and about 2:30 PM I decided to head over to the train and look it over telling Laurie I'd see her at the train when boarding time came. Soon it was 3:00 and Laurie showed up. Just in time too as a few minutes later we were allowed to start boarding. I wanted to be on the Coconino as long as possible. This time we got the front seats on the right side of the dome. Just perfect!
At 3:30 PM the train started moving south back to Williams. About 8 miles south I saw a sign on the right side so took a photo as we approached. It was the station sign for Coconino. Nice touch, a photo of Coconino from the Coconino. I enjoyed the free Coca-Cola offered to the dome car passengers and after awhile decided to walk the train and see some of the other cars. Back up in the dome later I took some more photos of the rather barren landscape outside. Close to 5:30 PM we passed the GCRY shops where I saw some of the old MLW power, including one still in VIA paint.
Back at Williams it was kind of sad knowing the train ride had ended but at least my goal of riding in the former NP dome had been met. Success! I drove Laurie back to the motel and then headed out to the Wye to photograph the train being turned. The train did not take long to show up and backed past the east leg of the Wye and then after the switch was thrown turned towards the north until the last car cleared the switch. Then the train backed towards the servicing tracks to tie up for the night. The Coconino was a fine sight and a good photo to finish the day with.
Sunday morning I want to photograph the train leaving Williams once more than then it will be time for Laurie and I to start back to Phoenix for our flight home.