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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Grand Canyon Railway owners ready to ride off into the sunset, consider sale

Twenty years ago, Max and Thelma Biegert bought the Grand Canyon Railway, which had been abandoned in 1968 after providing passenger-train service to the Grand Canyon for almost 70 years. The couple restored the route and reinstated service in 1989.

Now, they’re ready to retire and become less involved with the railroad’s day-to-day operations. So, the couple recently contracted investment banking and brokerage firm Peacock, Hislop, Staley and Given Inc. to “pursue strategic business options,” including a possible sale of the railroad in one to two years, according to a prepared statement.

During the past four years, the railway’s revenue has grown 73 percent. Railway officials recently completed a master plan that calls for developing 900 new hotel rooms, eight restaurants, 20,000 square feet of retail space, employee housing and a full-service spa.

Operating daily between Williams, Ariz., and the Grand Canyon, the railway offers five service classes and packages that include a stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/6/2006