Home Tourist attractions Owner of Durango & Silverton to take over Arizona tourist attraction

Owner of Durango & Silverton to take over Arizona tourist attraction

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County Council to vote on American Heritage Railways deal to operate Old Tucson Studios

American Heritage Railroad LogoTUCSON, Ariz. — The parent company of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is set to expand its interests by taking over Old Tucson Studios, a tourist attraction that closed in 2020.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Pima County, Arizona has recommended that American Heritage Railways be granted an operating agreement for Old Tucson. The county council will vote on the deal at a meeting on April 5.

The operating agreement would pay Pima County $60,000 in annual rent plus 4% of its gross operating revenue, which the county says will go towards maintaining and expanding the facilities, which have been home to over 400 feature films and TV shows. It closed when the COVID-19 pandemic halted live events at the site.

The agreement includes a five-year lease, as well as two possible 10-year extensions and a 25-year extension.

In addition to the Durango & Silverton, American Heritage Railways operates the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in North Carolina and, through its subsidiary Rail Events Inc., licenses Polar Express train rides and rail events involving the comic ” Peanuts”. It also operates a hotel in Silverton, Colorado.

The company closed another railroad operation, Washington State’s Mount Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum, in 2020. The company said at the time it would seek a new owner, but the operation did not reopened.