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cactus65
09-22-2006, 11:07 PM
Grand Canyon railway finds buyer
Company that manages parks concessions agrees to buy attraction

Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 22, 2006 12:00 AM


The owners of Grand Canyon Railway have agreed in principle to sell the state's top rail attraction to the nation's largest national parks concessionaire.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which is based in Denver, submitted a letter of intent to buy the railway on Thursday for an undisclosed price, said David Chambers, railway president.

Chambers said a final deal is expected to be struck by the end of October, with anticipated National Park Service approval by early next year. advertisement




The 65-mile rail line begins in downtown Williams and ends at a historic depot on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Nearly 225,000 people rode the rail last year and 2005 revenues were $38 million, railway officials said.

Owners Max and Thelma Biegert of Paradise Valley had placed the railway on the market in March and two other large companies had been in the mix until early this week, Chambers said.

"There's a feeling that Xanterra will be in a position to grow the business in the direction that Max and Thelma want," Chambers said. He added that another major selling point is that Xanterra intends to retain the railway's 480 employees.

Mona Mesereau, a spokeswoman for Xanterra, said the corporation's leaders were in meetings late Thursday and could not comment on the expected purchase.

Xanterra operates hotels, restaurants and stores at most of the nation's most popular national parks, such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and the Everglades.

Chambers said the purchase is expected to include the railway's depot and restaurant in Williams and the adjoining Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. It also includes 162 acres paralleling the tracks in Williams, 160 acres near the Grand Canyon National Park boundary and two steam engines and 29 cars that the railway has in service.

The railway's six diesel engines and 14 cars not in service also will be included in the deal, Chambers said.

Another 480-acre ranch that the Biegerts own north of Williams near Gonzales Lake will not be included in the anticipated purchase, Chambers said.

"We are looking at other offers for that," he said.

The Biegerts brought the railway back from the dead, after a nearly 20-year absence, when they resumed operations in 1989. The railway had once been the main mode of transportation to the Grand Canyon in the early 1900s.

After a rough beginning - only 90,000 tourists rode it the first year the Biegerts resumed operations - ridership began to take off in the 1990s. In recent years, the railway also has departed at times from its Wild West theme and has marketed activities for parents and children.

The railway is, by far, the largest employer in Williams.

Its success was one of the main reasons the state Legislature created a special district in the Williams area for the hoped-for construction of a $3 billion theme park to lure visitors passing through to the Grand Canyon and making cross-country drives on Interstate 40. But the future of that project remains up in the air.

Copyright 2006, azcentral.com. All rights reserved

WilliamDiehl
09-27-2006, 09:27 PM
I just barely started working here...I hope they dont make any "changes"...I'll probley be the first to go or somethin...

Pat Lorenz
09-28-2006, 02:18 AM
your that optimistic huh.

WilliamDiehl
09-28-2006, 10:54 PM
your that optimistic huh.
I was just humoring myself

ceejay2005
07-13-2009, 01:58 PM
The owners of Grand Canyon Railway have agreed in principle to sell the state's top rail attraction to the nation's largest national parks concessionaire. grand canyon west (http://explorearizonatours.com/gcw.php)

nikos1
07-13-2009, 04:32 PM
Does this mean Xanterra is selling it?
If so, thank go, anyone is better than them, hopefully the new owners will repair the damage Xanterra has done.

JRMDC
07-13-2009, 04:48 PM
Does this mean Xanterra is selling it?
If so, thank go, anyone is better than them, hopefully the new owners will repair the damage Xanterra has done.

Nikos, I think you missed that the poster revived a three year old thread and just cut/pasted a sentence from the first post, three years old. He just wanted to get his link out there, he isn't communicating information. Just a form of spam.

nikos1
07-15-2009, 03:13 AM
Nikos, I think you missed that the poster revived a three year old thread and just cut/pasted a sentence from the first post, three years old. He just wanted to get his link out there, he isn't communicating information. Just a form of spam.

Guess i was just desperate for some good news about that line.............
Shouldve noticed that.
Anyone know when GCRY's new gensets are arriving? :roll:

TheOldMan
10-17-2012, 08:26 PM
I'm bumping this one to the top while I do my study on the Prescott, Arizona railroad.