Thunder from the Wild West. Like the wild wild west of the 1880's, the human story unfolds with the beautiful Arizona scenery setting the stage. Here is just a taste of what you'll get to see.
Imagine in one short year how a lonely cattle ranch in the high desert explodes into an old west-style Las Vegas? Saloons, ...gambling, ...supplies for the trail, ...and fortunes won and lost on a draw of a card. That's what happened to Williams, Arizona in 1881-'82.
Cowboys, prospectors, loggers, ranchers, workers, and fortune-seekers suddenly ride in from all over the high desert and beyond to forge a town where the rules are being made up as they go along.
What was the thunder-clap that sparked this "stampede"?
It was the Santa Fe Pacific Railway.
In 1881, the Santa Fe carved the first mainline across the state of Arizona...and nothing would ever be the same.
Can you believe it? Back then, the Grand Canyon was considered nothing more than a "big hole" inside a forest preserve. Good for mining...and maybe "spittin' into". Prospectors were about the only ones really interested in it.
Yet the Santa Fe Railway just a few years later jubilantly proclaim itself to be "The Grand Canyon Line"?
Well, that's just part of the little-known history of the world's most famous National Park. ...the history that comes alive for you in Thunder From the Wild West.
Thunder From the Wild West brings to life the often-ignored railroad history of the world's most famous National Park ...and the historic spur track heading north off the Santa Fe main known as The Grand Canyon Railway. ...how it got started...how it grew...and how it changed the lives of the people of the high desert Canyonlands.
Visiting the site of historic cattle ranches along the line gives you a glimpse of life in the high desert before and after the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway.
And then later, you'll hear the story why the Grand Canyon Railroad operation whithered and was abandoned by the Santa Fe ...how it was nearly torn up ...and how it miraculously came back to life.
Massive comeback effort Discover the new Grand Canyon Railway's race against time to bring the first steamer (#18) back to life from a 35-year slumber...while the whole world watched!
Tour the locomotive shop where legendary steam locomotive #4960 was carefully restored...costing over one and a half million dollars!
First generation diesels are now almost as rare as steam locomotives. The new Grand Canyon Railway has those, too...an elegant fleet of ALCO passenger diesels. (Have you ever seen the engine-room of these old beasts? In Thunder from the Wild West you will.)
See moments frozen in time... snowy winter railroading with steam and first generation diesel equipment. Exclusive, historic footage that enriches Thunder From the Wild West into a film of mythic proportions.