I have to ask if this is a real train or not. It is a picture, which is posted below, of a scale model of what looks like a Southern Pacific design of a diesel engine pulling a passenger consist. The train pulls passengers around the property of this hotel:
When the Ramada Inn at 3801 East Van Buren installed a streetcar trolley to deliver guests to their rooms, the HiWay House at 3148 East Van Buren, which advertised itself as the "King-Sized Playground of the Southwest," invested in a large-scaled train. They named it the Arizona Pacific Railroad and it pulled its visitors of all ages on a locomotive tour of the grounds as seen on this map of the hotel.
The hotel was a Del Webb Construction Company project and Van Buren's largest hotel complex; besides its private locomotive and passenger consist, the HiWay House Hotel had its own business complex and convention center. In December of 1956 the “Web Spinner”, an internal communications tool of the Del Webb Construction Company, the HiWay House is mentioned as still being under construction. In the November of 1956 issue it was mentioned as being scheduled for opening in December of 1956. I am not sure exactly when it opened its doors, but it was shortly before the picture on the post card posted below.
The trains were not inexpensive. At a time when a new Chevrolet was $2200, the average house $18,000 and average annual wage $5500, Webb paid $13,700 for each of the Arizona trains FOB North Tonawanda, New York. Rail, ties, ballast, other track components, crossing signals and labor brought the overall cost of each railroad to close to $20,000 - and he already owned the land.
The hotel had two engines that pulled the train: the one shown in this post card
The Hiway House in Phoenix changed ownership and names several times in the mid-sixties and seventies, but the train stayed and continued carrying guests around the property. The name on the side of the engine changed as often as hotel ownership. The Hiway House Express was at various times the Ramada Inn Express, International Hotel Express and Sleepy Bear Express (Travelodge) among others. The interstate highway system bypassed the area and by the mid-seventies the area was in significant decline.
In the mid-'90s, the HiWay House became the Big House, when the state of Arizona purchased the property and turned it into a women's prison, which operated until the end of the 1990s.