It runs from Grapevine’s Main Street station to the Fort Worth Stockyards, and it is a popular excursion and special event train in the area. The Grapevine Valley Railway Company (GVRR) is owned and operated by the City of Grapevine.
The railroad provides passenger excursion trains that are pulled by a 4-6-0 steam locomotive built in 1896 and, on occasion, by a diesel engine (an EMD GP7) that was built in 1920 to power its 1920s-era Victorian carriages. Customers embark in Grapevine’s historic Main Street station, and the train travels on former St. Louis Southwestern Railway trackage to the Fort Worth Stockyards via a 21-mile (34-kilometer) trip to the city’s stockyards (aka the “Cotton Belt”).
Grapevine is the starting point for the main run, which continues to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The train departs from its stop at the stockyards and then makes a separate excursion along the Trinity River to the 8th Avenue Yard of the Fort Worth and Western Railroad before returning to its original destination in the stockyards. As soon as it returns to the stockyards, the engine turns around and runs around the train on a siding before departing for the direction of Grapevine.
The Tarantula train was a service that was previously operated by the Federal Way and Rail Road (FWWR). The FWWR entered into a contract with Coe Rail, Inc. in 1999 to operate the Tarantula train for a limited period of time. After an accident involving a freight train in 2000, the Fort Worth & Western severed its ties with the railroad and reclaimed control of passenger operations. Later in the year, the City of Grapevine expressed an interest to FWWR owner William Davis in purchasing and operating the Tarantula train, which Davis declined. The purchase was completed about 2005, following the receipt of an offer.
The Grapevine Vintage Railroad (GVRR) is the name given by the city to their new operation, which has the FRA reporting mark GVRX. In order to run the train, Grapevine had to sign trackage agreements with FWWR. In anticipation of Trinity Metro’s launch of their TEXRail commuter line, GVRR worked with them to secure trackage rights on their right-of-way from Haltom City to Haltom City. From that time forward, the GVRR operates on FWWR trackage under the terms of the original agreement.