Next stop: Williams, AZ. Passengers climbed back aboard the Santa Fe 3751 bound for Williams this morning after an overnight stop in Parker. Passengers waved from windows as the steam engine powered up – its bell ringing, horn sounding, steam escaping from every opening – and slowly moved off before a quick top-up with water, provided by Parker Fire and San Bernardino County Fire Departments.
Coaches from numerous old passenger lines around the southwest were pulled with some extra power from two diesel engines, including California Zephyr coaches at the back, their Airstream styling harkening back to 1959 (the year they were put into service).
Many people turned out to see the locomotive, which dates to the late 1920s – the only one in its class still operating – including many locals. One Parker area resident, realtor Betty Hunter, got a seat on the train, doing this leg of the ride for a rare opportunity to see Arizona desert by rail.
The Santa Fe 3751 will be back for another overnight stay on Friday, on its way back to Los Angeles.
Aerial shot via Michael Collins: