Bingo....Bingo.....Bingo. In military fighter aircraft, the pilots typically calculate the minimum fuel level required to make it home with a safe reserve remaining and enter that data into their airplane's flight management computer. It's referred to as "Bingo Fuel." When that level is reached, a female voice will whisper in the pilot's ear "Bingo....Bingo....Bingo." It means go home now, dude, or you might be landing on a parachute.
Things aren't quite that sophisticated on a 113 year-old steam locomotive, that burns french fry juice. The crew has only dip-sticks to check the oil level in the tank, and obviously, that's not something you can continuously monitor. There's also no computer, no blinking light and no seductive female voice in your ear to warn you that all of those smoky run-bys you've been doing all afternoon are rapidly running you out of "gas". So it was on the second day of our photo charter when our train was parked on the siding at Quivero, awaiting the passage of the daily diesel-powered passenger train, that our crew took a moment to get out the dip-stick and check the oil level.....and yikes(!!!), what they found surprised them. A quick calculation told them we barely had the fuel to make it back to Williams. So, instead of several sunset run-bys, we all walked down the line about a quarter of a mile, and the train came forward to pick us up, giving us the one last photo op you see here. Unfortunately, the fuel calculations on a steam engine aren't quite as precise as they are in an F-16, so.....you guessed it, we didn't make it. The fire blew out at about MP 10 and we ended up being rescued by diesels. It was almost as if the 29 knew her Form 4 would be expiring when she got back to Williams.....and she just didn't want to go.
The Grand Canyon Railroad, operating a 64-miles former Santa Fe branch to the eponymous natural wonder, is one of the best tourist railroads in the United States. It operates both steam and diesel locomotives.