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Guest Laura

Error ID: 205A

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Guest Laura

I am trying to book from chicago to williams az in march. but when i search for march it gives me this error, however if i pick any day before end of year it gives me appropriate choices. I have reached out to amtrak but have not had a chance to call yet. Any ideas?

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I you can't get it to work, then book by phone or go to a ticket window.

 

Strike that. Williams is no longer available since the Grand Canyon Railway is discontinuing their shuttle service to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. It's private property and their shuttle was the only authorized means to pick up or drop off passengers from the rail stop.

 

It's discussed here:

 

http://discuss.amtraktrains.com/index.php?/topic/71566-grand-canyon-railway-to-discontinue-amtrak-shuttle-service/

 

https://www.williamsnews.com/news/2017/sep/26/grand-canyon-railway-discontinue-amtrak-shuttle-se/

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — After many years of providing the only shuttle from the Williams Amtrak station to town, Grand Canyon Railway has decided to discontinue the service as of Jan. 1, 2018.

According to Bruce Brossman, director of sales and marketing for Grand Canyon Railway, the railroad has determined the shuttle service is not conducive to the operation of the railway.

He said the Railway provides van service from the Amtrak stop, which is in a remote area about three miles east of town, to Williams in the early morning hours each day. Passengers are picked up around 4:30 a.m. and dropped off at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Passengers then loiter in the lobby until the train leaves for the Grand Canyon at 9:30 a.m.

You can now book to station "WMH", which is the Williams Holiday Inn Express. The connection is made in Flagstaff. I tried one random date in March and it showed up just fine.

Edited by BCL

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well that sucks. So let me get this straight in order to go to williams to go to grand canyon we cant get off the train there, we have to get off an hour away and ride the bus from flagstaff? I really wanted to go to grand canyon but I dont know that we will do that :( it makes me sad.

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Either stop would have entailed a bus ride, the Williams one was just shorter. Shame that a 1 hour bus ride would put you off seeing such an amazing sight as the Grand Canyon. I travelled thousands of miles to see it...

 

Ed.

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well that sucks. So let me get this straight in order to go to williams to go to grand canyon we cant get off the train there, we have to get off an hour away and ride the bus from flagstaff? I really wanted to go to grand canyon but I dont know that we will do that :( it makes me sad.

The Williams station still involved a bus ride. And once you got to Williams, there will still be a ride on the Grand Canyon Railroad or a bus to get to the Grand Canyon. So, there's not that much difference, except the bus ride is longer. The Williams station is located in the middle of nowhere, accessible only by a bus that travels a private road.

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Williams is only 30 miles from Flagstaff via I-40.

And it was the GC RR Hotel that decided to end their shuttle service from the out in the boonies Williams Junction 'station' to their hotel, not Amtrak.

 

And here is the Amtrak 'station' (Williams Junction):

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.242587,-112.1315961,476m/data=!3m1!1e3

A 3.5 mile, dirt road, shuttle bus ride to the GC RR Hotel if the hotel still did the shuttle.

Edited by KmH

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well that sucks. So let me get this straight in order to go to williams to go to grand canyon we cant get off the train there, we have to get off an hour away and ride the bus from flagstaff? I really wanted to go to grand canyon but I dont know that we will do that :( it makes me sad.

 

It doesn't really make it that much harder. As others noted, it still required a short bus ride from the Williams Junction stop to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and one couldn't book directly to Williams Junction without a connection.

 

Now it's in Flagstaff, which has a full service station with a waiting room. It might even be better since you can check-in baggage to Flagstaff when you couldn't to Williams Junction. You would likely still run into baggage limits on the bus ride, but at least you could check in baggage that you wouldn't need to worry about on the ride from/to Chicago.

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Guest Basil

Why didn't they build the Williams Junction station/halt at the point where the railroad crosses Historic Route 66. A shorter journey into Williams along a better-surfaced road and no need now for a 30 mile shuttle ride from Flagstaff. Would it cost a lot to relocate now?

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Why didn't they build the Williams Junction station/halt at the point where the railroad crosses Historic Route 66. A shorter journey into Williams along a better-surfaced road and no need now for a 30 mile shuttle ride from Flagstaff. Would it cost a lot to relocate now?

 

You'd need BNSF to sign off on it. Not sure, but maybe also the Forest Service? You'd need willing parties. Xanterra isn't interested any more.

 

Honestly Flagstaff is not a bad option. Keeping/maintaining a small bus for 3 mile trips seemed to be a poor use of resources.

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Why didn't they build the Williams Junction station/halt at the point where the railroad crosses Historic Route 66. A shorter journey into Williams along a better-surfaced road and no need now for a 30 mile shuttle ride from Flagstaff. Would it cost a lot to relocate now?

Because there wasn't/isn't a rail line to the GC Hotel there, but there is very close to the platform they had been using out in the boonies?

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2454054,-112.1411268,326m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

Like most of the US rail system, the vast majority of rail traffic on the line is freight traffic.

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Because there wasn't/isn't a rail line to the GC Hotel there, but there is very close to the platform they had been using out in the boonies?
https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2454054,-112.1411268,326m/data=!3m1!1e3

Like most of the US rail system, the vast majority of rail traffic on the line is freight traffic.


I don't think the poster quite understands what the issue is.

Only Xanterra managed to get permission from BNSF to access the Williams Junction platform. With that discontinued, nobody is interested in a new station, along with the difficulty in getting permission to build a new one. Also, wasn't Xanterra concerned with people just hanging around their property who werent paying customers, especially at a time that their shops and restaurants were closed. I mean - I was at a McDonalds today when they kicked out someone accused of loitering without a purchase.

The new arrangement seems fine to me. Edited by BCL

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Why didn't they build the Williams Junction station/halt at the point where the railroad crosses Historic Route 66. A shorter journey into Williams along a better-surfaced road and no need now for a 30 mile shuttle ride from Flagstaff. Would it cost a lot to relocate now?

 

The railroad line (which originally ran through downtown Williams, using the same station which Grand Canyon Railway now uses) was relocated in a major construction project in the 1959-1961 time frame. While trains to/from Phoenix still pass through downtown Williams, transcontinental traffic uses the new line to the north. Santa Fe, which still had a substantial passenger business at the time, built a new station at the location most convenient for a passenger platform...which was 4 miles east of Williams proper. When service to the Grand Canyon ended in 1968 (and all passenger service shifted to Amtrak in 1971), this new station was torn down...property taxes, alas. After the Beigarts revived Grand Canyon service, they applied for permission to use the old passenger platform via a shuttle van to their hotel and station. They bore the expense of providing this service for many years...but, after the operation was sold to Xanterra about ten years back, the bean counters decided against subsidizing an Amtrak station using their own hotel as a lobby. And so service to Williams Junction is ending...but fortunately a bus connector will still be available from Flagstaff, which has full service ticketing and checked baggage besides....

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