Williams Junction station
|Location||Williams Junction, AZ 86046|
|Platforms||2 (ground level paving serving two tracks)|
|Tracks||3 (two main line tracks, one passing loop)|
|Opened||1960 (first station)|
1999 (second station)
|Closed||1969 (first station)|
2018 (second station)
|Passengers (2017)||9,672 20.1% (Amtrak)|
Williams Junction was an Amtrak train station on the Southwest Chief route, located three miles southeast of Williams, Arizona in the Kaibab National Forest. The station primarily served passengers travelling to the Grand Canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway.
The first station at Williams Junction was built by Morrison Knudsen for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as part of construction of the ‘Crookton Cutoff’: a re-routing of a 44-mile stretch of the Southern Transcon to avoid the sharp curves and steep gradients of the line between Williams and Ash Fork. With the new route bypassing the town of Williams completely, Williams Junction replaced the downtown Williams Depot as the connection point between main line transcontinental services and Santa Fe trains to and from the Grand Canyon (trains 14 and 15). The station officially opened on December 19, 1960. Williams Depot remained open for the Hassayampa Flyer service between Williams Junction and Phoenix via Ash Fork and the Peavine route (trains 42 and 47). Both Williams stations closed in 1969 following the Santa Fe's discontinuation of passenger services to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix via the Peavine. The station building at Williams Junction remained standing for a few years following its closure, but was eventually demolished. The spur from the Southern Transcon and the line through downtown Williams were retained for freight services.
Following the successful regeneration of the former Santa Fe line to the Grand Canyon as a privately operated tourist venture in 1989, Amtrak introduced a stop at Williams Junction on their Southwest Chief route to connect with Grand Canyon Railway services. The new station opened on August 2, 1999. Unlike its predecessor, the modern Williams Junction had no station building or facilities, and no private access for motor vehicles. Passengers were transferred to downtown Williams via a Thruway Motorcoach shuttle provided by the Grand Canyon Railway. The collection and drop-off point was the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel adjacent to the refurbished Williams Depot, now the southern terminus of the Grand Canyon line.
In 2017, the Grand Canyon Railway announced they would be discontinuing their provision of a shuttle to connect passengers on the Southwest Chief with their hotel in Williams, leaving the long-term viability of Williams Junction unclear. The station closed on January 1, 2018. To accommodate passengers requiring a connection to the Grand Canyon, Amtrak introduced a new Thruway bus service to and from Flagstaff.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2017, State of Arizona" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
- Trimble, Marshall (2008). Ash Fork. Arcadia Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7385-4832-6.
- Better Way for the Santa Fe. Morrison Knudsen. 1961.
- Gerber, Rudy J (1995). The Railroad and the Canyon. Pelican Publishing Company. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-4556-1086-0.
- "Condensed Schedules of Passenger Service, effective July 15th, 1968" (PDF). Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. 1968.
- "Williams Junction disused station building, 1973". Trainweb.org. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Glischinski, Steve (1997). Santa Fe Railway. Voyageur Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7603-0380-1.
- Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Indiana University Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-2530-2793-1.
- "Williams Junction, Arizona". Amtrak. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Southwest Chief schedule, effective November 5th, 2017" (PDF). Amtrak. 2017.
- Howell, Wendy (September 26, 2017). "Grand Canyon Railway to discontinue Amtrak shuttle service". Williams News. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Fonseca, Felicia (January 4, 2018). "Heading to Grand Canyon? Well-traveled train station closes". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- "Southwest Chief Flagstaff Service Change, effective January 1st, 2018". Amtrak. 2018.
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