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Grand Canyon Railway to discontinue Amtrak shuttle service


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#41 jis

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:06 PM

Meriden - I see your point, but apparently Xanterra ( and I am a former employee) is finding the shuttle too troublesome to operate and staff, and the loss of a few hotel guests does not bother them.


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Yeah. I suspect that the real problem is that the number of hotel customers arriving and departing by Amtrak is not worth the bother.


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#42 jebr

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 09:58 PM

It also sounds like a not-insignificant portion of people would stay in the lobby instead of renting a room, at least for one of the evenings/mornings. Moving it to Flagstaff means that they now are waiting in the Amtrak station instead and not spending hours in the lobby just hanging out.



#43 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 10:22 PM

The business in question laid out a fairly reasonable and coherent explanation for why they're discontinuing this service.  I didn't see anything controversial or implausible in their statement so I'm willing to take it at face value and assume that they've weighed their options and come to what they consider to be a reasonable path forward.  Williams is an unusual stop focused on a rather niche passenger in a location with very limited services, so it doesn't seem that surprising that it might become more trouble than it's worth to a company that merely inherited it as part of a larger purchase.


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#44 greatcats

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 11:23 PM

I can vouch for the fact that having waited for a 4 hour late Train 3 the other night, that the benches in Flagstaff station are very uncomfortable. The lobby of the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is far more cushy! Otherwise, Flagstaff is a decent station. I haven't seen the numbers, but with the exception of tour groups, I don't believe the numbers of Amtrak passengers is very high at Williams. I have boarded the eastbound train at Williams with only one other passenger.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#45 PVD

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 04:30 AM

The cost and responsibility for plowing the road to keep it open all year was probably not insignificant for small numbers of passengers. 



#46 fairviewroad

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:46 AM

The cost and responsibility for plowing the road to keep it open all year was probably not insignificant for small numbers of passengers. 

 

I wonder if they'd be open to making it a seasonal stop...that eliminates the plowing/shoveling issue, and taps into the summer tourist customer base. It wouldn't be the only Amtrak seasonal stop, so there's certainly precedence for it. (That said, from the company's rhetoric they sound like they just want to wash their hands of it entirely.)



#47 BCL

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 12:25 PM

 

The cost and responsibility for plowing the road to keep it open all year was probably not insignificant for small numbers of passengers. 

 

I wonder if they'd be open to making it a seasonal stop...that eliminates the plowing/shoveling issue, and taps into the summer tourist customer base. It wouldn't be the only Amtrak seasonal stop, so there's certainly precedence for it. (That said, from the company's rhetoric they sound like they just want to wash their hands of it entirely.)

 

I'm pretty sure that they could make up for whatever shortfall with more marketing.



#48 fredmcain

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 12:37 PM

Now here's a possibly stupid questionHow complicated and problematic would it be for the GCR to secure trackage rights over the BNSF "Peavine" from Williams to Williams Jct.?  There is only one, maybe two road freights a day in each direction along there so surely there's capacity.  I don't know what the track diagrams look like for William but if there were an extra track (already there or added) for the GCR train, people could wait on the train for their Amtrak connection.

 

To me, this whole thing seems like it ought to be a no brainer.  But adding or alternating rail service patterns seems to be so complicated.  It wasn't complicated decades ago when the railroads were still young.  If they saw an opportunity,they just did it.  I wish there were a way to unwind and eliminate some of our strict regulations and red tape.

 

regards,

fred m cain


​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#49 greatcats

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 12:43 PM

Lots of things are possible. The approx 6 mile roundtrip detour, while done in a few other places, would be time consuming. Under the present setup, a fence divides the tracks in downtown Williams and it would take another backup move to access the GCR platform, which if delayed would interfere with their operations. There is nothing wrong with the present shuttle arrangement other than the odd hours going east and the logistics to run it. Not likely to happen, I would think.


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I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#50 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 04:30 PM

Perhaps it's all just a devious plot by Greatcats to get more people to visit Sunset Crater? :ph34r:


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#51 greatcats

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 04:32 PM

Hawhawhaw!!!! My laugh for the month!!🤑😜
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#52 PVD

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 04:42 PM

Just got off the phone with my sister, talking about a visit....She said  "you know if you decide to come into Maricopa it isn't a bad drive." (her house is in Chandler)  I told her I'd rather go into Flag and spend a day or 2 before I come down because there is so much more I want to see to see.......(last trip, Lowell Observatory and Montezuma Castle)



#53 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 04:54 PM

Hawhawhaw!!!! My laugh for the month!!

 

Happy to oblige!


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#54 greatcats

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 05:53 PM

PVD- good idea! Come to Sunset Crater where I volunteer.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#55 PVD

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 06:07 PM

I'm meeting them in Dallas next month, my Brother in Law is doing a 3 day fundraiser walk against breast cancer, that will be my next LD trip, so  I am looking at visiting them on a Spring trip to Arizona.......


Edited by PVD, 29 September 2017 - 06:10 PM.


#56 Rick Scholz

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 02:44 PM

Has there been any update as to what is happening with this? I find it interesting that the only report of this is from a local newspaper that didn't bother to get comment from Amtrak to learn their plans. 

At this point, Amtrak is still selling tickets to Williams... nothing seems to have changed from Amtrak's point of view. 



#57 BCL

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 05:47 PM

Has there been any update as to what is happening with this? I find it interesting that the only report of this is from a local newspaper that didn't bother to get comment from Amtrak to learn their plans. 

At this point, Amtrak is still selling tickets to Williams... nothing seems to have changed from Amtrak's point of view. 

 

I found the email of the Grand Canyon Railway marketing director (Bruce Brossman) named in the article.  Anyone want to contact him and confirm?

 

bbrossman  at xanterra dot com


Edited by pennyk, 09 November 2017 - 05:10 PM.
change format of email address


#58 KnightRail

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 02:22 PM

Effective January 1, 2018 service will be discontinued at Williams Junction (WMJ). Trains 3 & 4 will no longer stop at Williams Junction. New Thruway service between Flagstaff and Williams(WMA) begins January 1, 2018, stopping at the Holiday Inn Express, NOT the Grand Canyon Railway(WMA). These changes will be reflected through the reservation channels beginning November 15th

#59 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 05:55 PM

What a shame... Glad I did it when I could.

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#60 greatcats

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 08:43 PM

This is not necessarily a bad thing.   I have not been in favor of discontinuing the Williams Junction stop, but I can see the logistical problems for the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel ( Xanterra )to provide the service.   I was told some time ago that their contract included keeping the forest road ( about 1 mile ) clear and accessible in the winter, which could be a problem reaching the stop at Williams Junction in bad weather   ( Yes, we get heavy snow in Northern Arizona. ).     I have a hunch that the Thruway operator is going to be Arizona Shuttle.    While I am not really in need of the Williams stop, living in Flagstaff, which I use at least a couple of times per year, I think I am going to take a drive out to Williams soon and ask a few questions of the Holiday Inn Express, specifically if they will allow parking in their lot like the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel has permitted.    


I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.




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