Categories Trains, Travel Ideas

Fueled by Fries: Explore the Grand Canyon on a Train Powered by Vegetable Oil

Stepping aboard the Grand Canyon Railway’s historic locomotive No. 4960 is like taking a journey back in time to the Old West. This vintage train, originally built in 1923, has undergone a remarkable transformation – from a coal-guzzling workhorse to a diesel-powered dynamo fueled by recycled french fry oil. The 4960 was originally a coal-guzzler that was impacting our air. But in 2009 it was modified to run on recycled vegetable oil. The train has been affectionately dubbed the “French Fry Express,” as a testament to the railway’s commitment to sustainability. By converting the locomotive to run on recycled waste oil from its own on-site restaurants, the Grand Canyon Railway has reduced the locomotive’s emissions by half. This innovative approach not only preserves the train’s historic charm but also paves the way for a more environmentally conscious future. It takes roughly 1,200 gallons of oil to fuel the train on its round trip excursion. One of their restaurants, The Fred Harvey, offers a selection of deep-fried goodies that keep the oils flowing. Potato cakes, chicken nuggets, and more are all available during your travels. “Initiatives like this preserve history, pave a more environmentally conscious future, and reduce toxic emissions and the dependency on fossil fuels,” says Sam Langer, the Grand Canyon Railway’s Community Relations Manager. The 65-mile journey from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim takes just over two hours. This beautiful ride offers passengers a panoramic view of the high-desert scenery. Travelers can choose from a variety of service classes, ranging from the economical Pullman Class to the luxurious Luxury Dome Class, which features glass-enclosed streamliners for unparalleled vistas. The most exclusive option is the Sante Fe Luxury Parlor Car, a 33-seat adults-only rail car with access to an open-air rear platform, a spread of gourmet treats, and plush, lounge style seating. This ticket is currently about $240 and has additional offerings like included food and drinks and access to an outdoor platform. Kids of all ages will enjoy the characters that make the Grand Canyon Railway extra special. From western musicians to cowboys, the immersion will feel almost real. Upon arrival at the Historic Village at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, passengers can embark on a variety of adventures, from visiting the iconic El Tovar Hotel to hiking the rugged Bright Angel Trail. The Hopi House, an Indigenous arts and crafts market modeled after ancient pueblo dwellings, also offers a unique cultural experience. Whether you’re drawn to the train’s vintage charm or its eco-friendly innovation, the Grand Canyon Railway’s “French Fry Express” provides a truly memorable journey to one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders.

East Coast Transportation Museums

trolley driving on street
Connecticut Trolley Museum
Explore all the East Coast has to offer on a long weekend getaway. These museums on the eastern coast feature a variety of transportation modes include trolleys, cars, trucks, and more. Find east coast museums to explore

The States Eating the Most Grilled Cheese

grilled cheese consumption by state map
Pepperidge Farm
A new survey of 5,000 Americans commissioned by Pepperidge Farm reveals how deep our national love for grilled cheese runs. The survey shows that the average American eats 36 grilled cheese sandwiches each year. Read more interesting grilled cheese statistics  

Leave a Comment