In September 2008, Trains magazine reported that Xanterra would no longer operate its steam locomotives.  The decision came as a result of the 2000s energy crisis and the late 2000s recession conspiring against passenger numbers, although it was claimed to be an environmental decision. The railway's policy of always running a diesel with a steam locomotive as backup however does render the decision environmentally friendly. As part of the end of steam, 20 employees were laid off.  Around that time, both steam engines 29 and 4960 were placed on static display on the Williams Depot platform. Limited steam operation returned on September 19, 2009, with the engines being powered by waste vegetable oil . According to the GCR website, the service will be available during the 2011 season  with engine 4960. Over the winter of 2011/2012, engine 4960 underwent its 15-year overhaul and inspection, and returned to service in February 2012 for a special Centennial Run on February 14, 2012 celebrating 100 years of Arizona Statehood. Since then, engine 4960 continues to pull GCR excursions once per month during the summer months from May through September, and for special occasions.
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