Grand Canyon Railway Adds Historic Dome Rail Car to its Passenger Service

Sunday, October 07 2012 12:54   Western Travel Buzz
Grand Canyon Railway has added a completely refurbished, full-length dome car to its rolling stock and named it in honor of Fred Harvey, an 1870s railroad restaurateur who became a legend in the Old West for bringing good food, civilized service and attractive, honestly run eating houses and hotels to travelers.

gcrluxdome1crop"Naming the car after Fred Harvey is a tribute to the legendary customer service standards established by the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad," said Bob Baker, general manager of train operations for the Grand Canyon Railway. "It is our goal to maintain and honor the legacy of the Fred Harvey Company and its commitment to quality railroad hospitality."

The historic luxury dome car's interior and mechanical systems were completely stripped and rebuilt from the wheels up over the course of close to one year, and the car received a fresh coat of exterior paint.

Grand Canyon Railway invested more than $1 million in labor and materials to bring the Fred Harvey back to life. The car features a lounge area, two restrooms and two bars.

The "Fred Harvey" will be the keystone to the railway's new fifth class of passenger rail service between Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon.

Upstairs are 66 assigned seats running the full length of the car. The downstairs seating area features a Victorian decor and is reminiscent of the early days of train travel when ladies and gentlemen traveled in luxury with the fine clothing, meals and service almost as important as the final destination.

Two passenger service attendants provide personal attention, and luxury dome passengers also have access to the back platform of the luxury parlor class car and all cars forward.

Roundtrip travel between Williams, Ariz. and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in luxury dome class is $190 per adult over the age of 15. Children 15 and younger may not ride in this class of service.

Included in the ticket, passengers will enjoy a light continental breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and pastries during the morning trip and fresh vegetables, cheese and crackers along with a complimentary sparkling wine toast on the return trip. Coffee, soft drinks and juices are also included. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at one of the cash bars on board.

The dome car was originally called the Copper Canyon and was built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern Railway's premier "name train," the Empire Builder which ran from Chicago to Portland and Seattle. Amtrak still has a train called the Empire Builder running on the same route through Glacier National Park.

The dome car was named Fred Harvey in honor of the famed restaurateur who was known as the "Civilizer of the West" because of his contributions to hospitality and tourism throughout the West.

In 1876, Fred Harvey opened his first railway restaurant in Topeka, Kan. From that modest beginning, the Harvey organization grew into a far-flung resort, restaurant, hotel and retail organization, with operations extending from Cleveland to the West Coast.

Serving the good food were the famed "Harvey Girls," - pretty, well-trained waitresses. The girls were recruited from good homes in the East and had a major part in taming the West.

Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information, visit the Website at .


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