Celebrate National Train Day in the Verde Valley of Arizona

Verde Canyon Railroad

Verde Canyon Railroad takes visitors across tall trestles over the Verde River.

Once a year the Verde Canyon Railroad depot unites the entire Arizona Verde Valley in celebration of railroading. On National Train Day, Saturday May 10th, 2014,  Verde Canyon Railroad applauds the important history of American railroads with an entertaining and educational event at their Clarkdale depot. Taking place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., this free event is fun for all ages; including exhibits and activities from local attractions and organizations. The highlight of the day is the guided tour of the John Bell Museum and the train’s vintage rail cars.

Liberty Wildlife will be educating guests with their rescued raptors at the depot, as well as on board the train. The Verde Valley will be well-represented with area attractions including Out of Africa Wildlife Park, Local First Arizona, the Clarkdale Copper Museum and Clarkdale Heritage Museum, Blazin’ M Ranch and Arizona Offroad Tours. Prominent Arizona freelance writer Roger Naylor will be signing copies of his most recent books on Arizona adventure. Guests may purchase a delicious lunch of barbecued ribs and chicken and dine on the patio while local folk musicians Ken and Lyn Mikell provide lively entertainment. A wide range of libations is also available for purchase.

Verde Canyon Railroad’s interesting history is well-represented in the depot’s John Bell Museum, a restored boxcar full of vintage photography, fascinating artifacts and railroad memorabilia. The rail line’s rich heritage also is embodied by its restored rail cars powered by General Motors EMD FP7  locomotives built in 1953. A scale-model of Verde Canyon Railroad’s engines crafted entirely of Legos will be fun feature of the day. The well-designed midcentury style of Verde Canyon Railroad adds to the postcard-perfect scenery of Verde Canyon Railroad. Train staff will lead guided tours of the museum and the train throughout the day.

You may see eagles in the Canyon.

You may see eagles in the Canyon.

Over a century ago, railroads connected the coasts of the United States and remain an important and efficient method of transportation. Heritage railroads such as Arizona’s Verde Canyon Railroad continue to thrive into the 21st century, sharing a glimpse of its storied past with the tens of thousands of passengers who ride each year. Towns such as Sedona and Jerome benefited greatly from the railroad’s construction in 1912, linking these small, rural communities to the world via the Santa Fe Railroad to the north. Officially deemed an “Arizona Treasure,” Verde Canyon Railroad approaches the benchmark of two million passengers carried through the scenic wilderness since becoming a passenger excursion train in 1990.

Outdoor observation Car

Outdoor observation Car

The train provides a comfortable, yet exciting journey through this historic setting 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 and snack bars. Everyone has panoramic windows and limitless 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.

Information Courtesy: Verde Canyon Railroad

Photography copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography