THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT DID. VERDE CANYON RAILROAD.
Along with the State of Arizona, Verde Canyon Railroad celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2012. As the Railroad shifts into its next 100 years of rail service, it is still significant to reflect on the journey that brought them to this celebratory juncture.
It all started in the tiny town of Jerome, Arizona that clings to a steep-angled mountainside two thousand feet above the valley floor. There is nothing easy or accessible about Jerome, yet during its heyday, over 15,000 residents called this vertical burg their home. They were here for the mines, which through the decades, churned out a billion dollars worth of gaudy ore. It was the wealth of the mines that lured them but it was the railroad that brought them.
The railroads were the arteries that conquered the unforgiving landscape and fed the communities of the Verde Valley. While the mines have been closed over half a century, the Railroad continues to be an economic engine for the region.
In 1895, the first track laid directly into Jerome was the United Verde & Pacific Railway, which originated from Jerome Junction near Chino Valley. With 186 curves on the short 26-mile narrow gauge stretch, the Railroad became known as the crookedest line in the world. The builder, William Andrews Clark, also owned United Verde Copper Company and would continue to leave his indelible imprint on the area, including a town with his namesake.
The shift from underground to open pit mining led to a complete restructuring of Jerome and the surrounding area. Construction of a new smelter began on the valley floor and on an entirely new town. Clarkdale ? named after William Andrews Clark ? was Arizona?s first company town and designed with precision planning and technological advancements far from the norm in the early 1900s. The community of sturdy brick homes included modern conveniences such as electricity, sewer and copper piping.
In 1911 Clark financed construction of the Verde Valley Railroad, a 38-mile standard gauge line from Clarkdale to Drake. It took 250 men using picks, shovels and DuPont black powder one year to complete the task. It was an astonishing feat considering that the line included a 680-foot tunnel carved through a mountain and a trestle spanning a 175-foot gorge aptly named S.O.B. Canyon.
Verde Valley Railroad proved to be a workhorse, continuing to haul passengers and freight even after the mines closed. In 1988 Dave Durbano purchased the line. On his first ride through the unspoiled wilderness, he knew that this was a treasure, both scenic and historic, that must be preserved. Verde Canyon Railroad was born.
The first excursion train of the Verde Canyon Railroad rolled out of the Clarkdale depot on November 23, 1990. It carried neither freight nor ore, only people. They were not seeking a better way of life, but the beauty of a wild river-carved canyon where eagles nest among high cliffs and wind makes music in the cottonwoods. Along the way they hoped to catch a glimmer of the ones who came before, whose perseverance, vision and hard work made it all possible. That?s what a railroad is: not just lengths of iron linking one place to another, but a symbolic connection of the past to the present.
Today people travel from all over the world to ride the rails into the Verde Canyon ? an average of 90,000 people per year. They come to experience the sights and to revel in the casual elegance of train travel as they discover the heritage of the landscape. It?s a journey worth taking. It is the scenery that lures them but it is the Railroad that still brings them ? because it?s always a good day when you?re on a train.
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Mayflower Cruises & Tours Eric White
Director Group Sales - Western Region 650 Warrenville Road Suite 500
Traveling is a time of pleasure, filled with those must-see and must-do experiences. At Mayflower Cruises & Tours we understand that you expect your holiday to include the most memorable attractions, touring opportunities and highlights, provided in comfort and to your satisfaction.
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At Mayflower Cruises & Tours we understand that planning and preparing for your next guided holiday is extremely important. From the very beginning, throughout the critical planning stages, our first priority is to provide you with the ultimate travel experience and service.
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You will always get a "real" person when you contact us. We make sure that questions are answered, details of the holiday are fully explained, and travelers are kept up to date on any revisions that may occur. This communication is in place pre-tour, while on tour, and post-tour dialogue.
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Our Tour Managers are selected for their knowledge and experience. And, we include more local guides and historians than most other travel providers, we believe they truly enhance your experience with their first-hand knowledge and expertise of the area. Our executive staff has over 400 combined years in the travel and hospitality industry. Their leadership, knowledge and experience solidify us a leader in providing guided holidays.
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Our travel programs have a strong reputation of offering maximum value for the amount spent. We include most of the touring experiences, meals, quality of lodging and attractions as possible, allowing a balance of leisure time for you to experience the destination on your own.
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To make your holiday even more convenient, make your airline arrangements with Mayflower Cruises & Tours. When booking your flights with us we will include all taxes, fees and transfers. Airport transfers are included upon your arrival and departure when traveling on group dates. This is a convenient and carefree way to complete your guided holiday.
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Our free home or local pickup and return service has been designed to add ease to your holiday, allowing you to concentrate on the most important part, enjoying yourself. For those of you residing in the greater Chicagoland area or Florida's Sun Coast area, your holiday will begin when we pick you up from your home or the convenient pickup location on the day of your holiday's departure.
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Aventura World goes the extra mile! Exemplary client service, destination expertise and meticulously planned tour and travel packages are just a few of the key attributes that set Aventura World apart from others and keep travelers exploring the world with us time and time again. Featuring our exclusive first-class "international awareness programs", our team's insight into each destination offers your group and members of the local community spectacular travel opportunities enriched by the splendors of the world. Let our professional, experienced staff handle the details of your next group travel program with Aventura World, a valued leader in the US group travel marketplace since 1972.
Due to constant feedback from our valued travelers, our philosophy of travel has evolved to encompass "the experience of travel". No longer is travel just about seeing monuments and the local sites. It's all about traveling to spectacular places at a relaxed pace, discovery, education, and inspiring interactions.
Oh, we will still visit the sights and sounds of the region, but we will also meet locals and have people-to-people interactions to understand their life, culture, social aspects, and economy. We will plan unusual, off-the-beaten-track events such as truffle hunting with a family in Croatia, discovering a thermal greenhouse in Iceland powered by volcanic steam and tasting soup made from their greenhouse tomatoes, dropping in at a village pub in Ireland to meet the locals over a Guinness, or visiting a family olive plantation in Sicily to learn about their production and sample their product.
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