WILLIAMS, Ariz. – After nearly 20 years of devotion and resources, Grand Canyon Railway’s owners, Max and Thelma Biegert, are ready to be less involved with the day-to-day operation and have set forth a new goal for the future – to preserve the Railway as their legacy.
Grand Canyon Railway has signed an agreement with Peacock, Hislop, Staley and Given, Inc. (PHSG) and are currently pursuing strategic business options, including the possible sale of Grand Canyon Railway.
“Max and Thelma are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of their labor during their Golden Years,” said David Chambers, president of Grand Canyon Railway. “And while each of us is saddened at the thought of not having Max and Thelma as the Railway’s owners, we support their decision and appreciate all they have done for each of us and continue to do.”
Originally built in 1901, Grand Canyon Railway provided passenger train service to the Grand Canyon until 1968. The line lay silent for nearly 20 years until Max and Thelma became involved.
Investing their own money and countless hours, they restored the historic route and reinstated train service in September 1989. Since their initial run, nearly 2.5 million people have traveled aboard the Railway – approximately 225,000 in 2005 alone.
With revenues up 73 percent over the last four years and a recently completed master plan for future growth, Railway leadership agrees that there is no better time for Max and Thelma to begin exploring strategic business options, including a possible sale.
Grand Canyon Railway’s master plan includes more than 100 acres of Railway property. The plan features 900 new hotel rooms, eight new restaurants, 20,000 square feet of retail space, employee housing and a full-service spa.
When considering viable financial options, Max and Thelma have said that their most important consideration is how the direction will affect their vision for the Railway. They’re committed to only exploring options that fulfill their vision and ensure their legacy continues, the couple said.
The tentative timeline for a possible sale is one to two years, including external stakeholder approvals. Once a purchase agreement is announced, it will go to the National Park Service for final approval before becoming official.
Grand Canyon Railway operates daily train service between Williams, Ariz. and the Grand Canyon. The Railway offers five distinct classes of service, as well as money-saving packages featuring the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams. Overnight stays at the Grand Canyon also can be included in the packages.
Grand Canyon Railway is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the Kaibab National Forest.