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In Memory Of

A trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad

December 29, 2004

As the Verde Canyon Railroad puts it, "It's not the destination; it's the journey."
Their web site says it all, "The Verde Canyon is acclaimed as Arizona’s longest-running nature show. The remote wilderness of the Verde Canyon, located west of Sedona and below Jerome, is renowned for its towering red rock pinnacles; clean, green waters; Indian ruins, tunnels, trestles and clear azure skies. This picturesque setting is further enhanced by the variety of indigenous flora and fauna and the many migrating waterfowl, and the bald eagles that winter in this riparian respite each year."
And they are correct. I took this trip, my third, as a Christmas gift from some friends. The canyon is home to a pair of bald eagles, Black and Decker. Yes, that IS their names. The Verde Canyon is also one of a very few scenic railroads that can boast a tunnel where you cannot see the other end. The 680' tunnel is curved and takes about a minute to go through. Much of that time you are in total darkness. A day trip that is worth every penny. You have access to both an air conditioned coach car and open air cars on each end of your coach. The trip is about 4 hours long and takes you from Clarksdale to Perkinsville and back. In between are gorgeous views of a part of Arizona you cannot see unless you hike it. Views include going along the Verde River and Sycamore Creek. Each season gives you a different trip. From spring flowers to the fall colors, a chance to see Black and Decker, Blue Heron, White Cranes and yes even the occasional cattle grazing on the tracks, every trip is different. As I mentioned this was my third trip and won't be my last. This trip was unique as it took place during the major winter storm that flooded Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. Even with the inclement weather the train was sold out. Many of the pictures I took were of the Verde River and Sycamore Creek as you rarely get the chance to see them run with this much water. In some pictures you can see how the water level rose. Sit back, enjoy the pictures or better yet, take the ride yourself.

Click on the pictures to enlarge, turn off pop up blockers.
At the bottom of the page you can view some videos. Go through the 680' tunnel, watch the FP7's go right by you.

What better way to start a train ride than your train under a full rainbow.

Because of the rain and for our safety, this work truck ran about a mile ahead of the train checking the track for debris and damage.

The Verde Canyon Railroad also runs freight in the mornings. Here you see the 2 PG7/9 they use.

A close up shot of #3413.

Another picture of a full rainbow.

Here you see a slag wall. When the mine was running the slag was dumped off. You can see where the metal wall that held the slag back was.

2 of only 10 FP7's still running pull the train up a grade.

The Verde River just after we left Clarksdale.

The Verde River.

The train goes over the first of many tressels.

The wash that runs under the first trestle.

The FP7's start across S.O.B. bridge.

The train stops here so you can get a great view of the Verde River.

The water is running a bit faster now.

Mile marker 31, the red rocks start to show.

The Verde River flows.

You can see how high the river is as large trees are now in the middle of the river.

The back end of the train.

A bend in the Verde River.

The water changes from the muddy Verde River to the clear Sycamore Creek.

The towering red rocks up close and personal.

Another picture of Sycamore Creek.

This is a lot of water for this creek. The normal flow can be about a tenth of this flow.

Earlier high water runs this month pushed these trees down.

You get very close to the rocks.

The train bends around Sycamore Creek.

The red rocks start to rise as we go deeper into the canyon.

We come back to the muddy Verde River.

You cross the Verde River on a steel trestle.

Nearing the turn around point of the trip Perkinsville.

Perkinsville was once a thriving community of about 10 -12 families when the railroad was running steam. Perkinsville was a stop over and watering station for the train. Now only 1 family lives here running a ranch.

Perkinsville's watering tower base and bunk house.

A close up of the water tower base.

End of the line.

FP7 #1510 goes toward the back, now front, of the train.

FP7's #1510 & 1512 get read to reconnect to the rest of the train. Here you can see the beautiful eagle paint scheme of the railroad.

The rising Verde River just south of Perkinsville on our way back to Clarksdale.

The flowing Verde.

A picture inside the tunnel.

The Verde River rages on.

Rainbows were plentiful on this trip.

One of many interesting rock features you can see.

The river continues to rise.

Our train heading home.

Oh we got lucky here. In the larger picture, highlighted in a white box, you can see one of the resident bald eagles.

The sky is clearing and the clouds hang low as we near Clarksdale.

As we cross S.O.B. bridge on the way back the Verde has gotten higher.

Some of the smaller trees are almost totally under water.

The first trestle becomes the last trestle we cross.

A stand of trees give rise to some white water flows.

Indian ruins.

Another set of Indian ruins.

The videos

Click on the text to view videos. All videos 640 X 480 in size.


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