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Great Scenic Rail Journeys - 150 Years on the Track

Great Scenic Rail Journeys – 150 Years on the Track

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Great Scenic Rail Journeys – 150 Years on the Track: Hosted by Grammy-winning musician David Holt, this travel program explores many historic and scenic tourist railroads in North America. More than just a tour, the program shows how these railroads defined the spirit of an era, creating a new industry and re-writing the history of transportation. Featured railways include Verde Canyon Railroad and Branson Scenic Railway, among others.



 

 

Host David Holt presents the stories of historic and scenic tourist railroads from across the U.S.

 

Great Scenic Rail Journeys – 150 Years on the Track

 

Verde Canyon Railroad

The Verde Canyon Railroad is a heritage railroad running between Clarkdale and Perkinsville in the U.S. state of Arizona. The passenger excursion line operates on 20 miles (32 km) of tracks of the Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad (AZCR), a shortline. The Verde Canyon Railroad has its depot, headquarters, and a railway museum in Clarkdale, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Sedona.

The tracks on which the Verde Canyon Railroad runs were opened in 1912 as part of a north–south branch line linking a copper smelter at Clarkdale and the copper mines at Jerome to Santa Fe Railway tracks passing through Drake. The Santa Fe Railway owned and operated the 38-mile (61 km) branch line from 1912 to 1988.

David L. Durbano bought the branch line in 1988. Passenger service between Clarkdale at milepost 38 and Perkinsville at milepost 18, resumed in 1990 under the name Verde Canyon Railroad. Milepost 0 of the AZCR is at Drake, where the line meets the BNSF Railway system. The AZCR track to Drake is still used for hauling freight even though the excursion line stops at Perkinsville.

Excursions involve a 4-hour, 40-mile (64 km) round trip from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back. Scenes from How the West Was Won were filmed at Perkinsville in 1960s. The route follows the Verde River, crossing bridges and trestles, and passes through a 680-foot-long (210 m) curved tunnel. Between milepost 30 and Perkinsville, most of the land along the railroad right-of-way is in the Prescott National Forest or the Coconino National Forest (across the river).

Branson Scenic Railway

The Branson Scenic Railway is a heritage railroad in Branson, Missouri. The trains depart from a historic depot in downtown Branson and operate in the scenic Ozark Mountains for an approximate 40-mile (64 km) round trip.

As the underlying rail lines are owned by the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA) and are still in use as an active railroad, MNA traffic determines whether a particular trip will operate northbound from Branson to Galena, Missouri, or southbound from Branson to the Barren Fork Trestle in Arkansas.

The railroad was originally built as the White River Railway between 1902 and 1905. Because of the rugged terrain of the Ozarks, a number of trestles and tunnels were required in order to create a level railroad grade. The lines later became part of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and in 1992 were sold to MNA.

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Great Scenic Rail Journeys - 150 Years on the Track
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Great Scenic Rail Journeys - 150 Years on the Track: this travel program explores many historic and scenic tourist railroads in North America.