Yuma Valley Live Steamers Weekend Historic Train Ride

The train leaves each Saturday and Sunday during the winter months at 1 o'clock from behind Historic City Hall (180 W. 1st St.) The trip lasts about two hours, as the train, travelling 15mph for a leisurely pace, takes us west towards Somerton. The volunteer narrator gives information about the history of the train and interesting tidbits about Yuma Valley.

The ride begins where the canal seems to end:

But the canal continues hidden, as the Colorado River water is siphoned down nine stories below.

Fort Yuma is across from the parked and poised train. This was a former US Army Base from the Civil war days. The Quartermaster Depot stored and distributed supplies for all the military posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, as well as helping to keep the Yuma Crossing open. Crossing the Colorado River was a dangerous thing in the old days. Only at the place were the Colorado and Gila River meet each other could travellers cross the Colorado river. This became known as the 'Yuma Crossing'.

Our narrator, whose name was Tim, told us more facts about the river. Immense demands are placed upon it, and none of the water from it returns to the ocean. Ninety percent of the water is used for agriculture alone. Yuma County itself grows one hundred different crops.

We passed by Phase I of the West Wetlands Park, which had been dedicated in December, 2002. He pointed out our small mountains, and then showed us the tallest one in this direction.

All these mountains have been formed by volcanic processes.

We passed by Joe Henry Park, with its grove of eucalyptus trees. The railroad next went by a carpet plant. Tim explained the huge thick pipelines surrounding the plant took the steam necessary to process the carpet yarn and enabled it to be recycled later to produce electricity.

The train took us by acres of farm land. Later, we passed the Yuma fertilizer plant, which dries and deodorizes raw sewage for use by those farms.

Another industry we passed, whose product is also mainly for agriculture, is the Yuma Desalting Plant, which desalts 24 million gallons of water daily.

The last plant we neared is the Yucca Power Plant, which provides electricity for Imperial County in California. Yuma, however, gets its electricity from the Palo Verde Nuclear Plant, 50 miles south of Phoenix.

Then the train paused and we were invited to make our seats face in the opposite direction. This is a unique feature of the train, built in 1922.

The view inside the train has a homey feel to it. It has wooden walls, and a unique sliding window feature:

We saw lettuce workers gathering their crops from those windows:

The Yuma Valley Live Steamers have been making educational train rides for fifteen years now.

The train's engine was originally owned by the military. After the ride, I saw a lady take a picture of her man friend posing by the engine. When she was done, I told Julia, ''Go and do likewise!'' She was most happy to comply:

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