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Celebrity Rails and Imaginary Tales
Perkinsville, AZ - Due to the incredible scenery framed in the Verde Canyon Railroad’s panoramic window, passengers may sometimes find themselves taking an imaginary train ride in the world of literature, music and movies. Relaxing in a beautifully appointed vintage rail car, it is easy to slip in to a starring role in an imaginary story.
The Verde Canyon Railroad line was featured in the 1962 academy award winning movie How the West Was Won starring Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, Eli Wallach, John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Lee Marvin and Walter Brennan.
At the historic Perkinsville depot, which is still standing, Debbie Reynolds steps off the train to meet her nephew, George Peppard, and a cloud of dust rises up thanks to Eli Wallach and his band of bad guys. Only the platform remains of the old water tank that once stood at the end of the passenger line. It was blown up for a scene in the movie but unfortunately the footage ended up on the cutting room floor and never made it into movie theatres.
The Verde Canyon Railroad has often been a retreat for celebrities, where they can sit back and enjoy Arizona scenery at its best, away from adoring fans, paparazzi and studio cameras. Ted Danson brought a car full of kids to ride in coach class, while Senator John McCain and anchorman Hugh Downs chose the comfort of first-class. Ernest Borgnine rode the train numerous times and even Judge Lance Ito of O.J. Simpson fame, had a relaxing respite aboard Verde Canyon Railroad shortly after the big trial ended.
The literary connection to the Verde Canyon Railroad is most notable through the writings of renowned western author Louis L’Amour in Education of a Wandering Man, his beloved best selling autobiography. Published in 1989, just one year before the renewed Verde Canyon Railroad made its debut through the scenic Verde Canyon; the book includes this treasured memory: Another place I often went was the wilderness area of Sycamore Canyon in Arizona. In those days there was a small railroad—the Verde Mix, I believe it was called—and for a couple of dollars one could buy a ticket and the train crew would drop you off and pick you up later.
It is a beautiful area, near Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, but kept even now as a wilderness, as well it should be.
Mr. L’Amour would certainly be pleased to know that the Verde Canyon Railroad continues its historic route carrying passengers into this vast and scenic chasm. Despite its “celebrity status” wilderness is still first priority.
The Verde Canyon Railroad depot is located in Clarkdale, 25 minutes from Sedona and two hours north of Phoenix, making Verde Canyon Railroad the perfect Arizona day trip. For an overnight stay, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal Packages. Call 800-293-7245 or book online at verdecanyonrr.com.
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It’s not the Destination, It’s the Journey