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Western Railroad Discussion > RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch


Date: 03/10/23 16:53
RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: WP921

Found this article dated today from the Los Angeles Times:

https://www.latimes.com/travel/story/2023-03-10/railbike-sunburst-ventura-santa-clara-river-valley

If you haven't visited the Los Angeles Times website in awhile, you get one free article before the Paywall kicks in.  There is a quote from Robert Pinoli in the article regarding the construction of the railbikes.  He mentions a patent is pending for the "electric assist" that these rail vehicles have.  Hopefully today's Atmospheric River doesn't cause more problems for this line.
 



Date: 03/10/23 16:57
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: WP921

Just noticed the cost to book a two-seat railbike is $249.00 for a 3.5 hour ride.  Local residents of Fillmore and Piru are offered a discounted rate of $186.00.  These prices seem awfully steep to me.  If I'm paying that much, I'd want to be riding in a dome car on a passenger train!



Date: 03/10/23 17:13
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: robj

WP921 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Just noticed the cost to book a two-seat railbike
> is $249.00 for a 3.5 hour ride.  Local residents
> of Fillmore and Piru are offered a discounted rate
> of $186.00.  These prices seem awfully steep to
> me.  If I'm paying that much, I'd want to be
> riding in a dome car on a passenger train!

Yep and if you are on Amtrak you can even ??? of hours extra for your money.  Sorry, could not resist.

Bob



Date: 03/10/23 17:37
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: webmaster

WP921 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Just noticed the cost to book a two-seat railbike
> is $249.00 for a 3.5 hour ride.  Local residents
> of Fillmore and Piru are offered a discounted rate
> of $186.00.  These prices seem awfully steep to
> me. 

Coming from someone who operates a similar enterprise I can tell you the price is not steep for a nearly four hour journey. I would expect after an introductory period that price will go up considerably as is typical of Mendocino rail bike enterprises.  These tours are not cheap to operate. For us we run with 3-4 employees making $20-25 an hour, workers comp and liability insurance costs, equipment fabrication and maintenance, track upkeep, and of course a lot of money towards advertising.  The business is not directed towards railfans so they are not competing with people choosing a dome car.  We get very few railfans, most customers are people that would never ride a train.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 03/10/23 21:40
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: pdt

just for comparison....

Todd and Masons 6 mile handcar ride in Monterey County is #189. for up to 4 people.   Thats c an be less that 50. per person, compared with mendicinos $125. a person

The Handcars appear to be much more substantially built than  the "railbikes"
One of the plusses for Mendicino is that they travel thru towns and farms where people can disembark and buy local good or "pet the goats"

The 2 are in totally different physical locations/marketplaces, so no overlap in the people they are trying to attract.

I hope the best for everyone..... but especially our feerless leader...for them its a stand alone business...for mendicino its an add onto a common carrier railroad...IMHO its a relatively easy way for them to pick up another 20K a week or so..



Date: 03/11/23 07:19
Re: Rail Bike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: BAB

webmaster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WP921 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Just noticed the cost to book a two-seat
> rail bike
> > is $249.00 for a 3.5 hour ride.  Local
> residents
> > of Fillmore and Piru are offered a discounted
> rate
> > of $186.00.  These prices seem awfully steep
> to
> > me. 
>
> Coming from someone who operates a similar
> enterprise I can tell you the price is not steep
> for a nearly four hour journey. I would expect
> after an introductory period that price will go up
> considerably as is typical of Mendocino rail bike
> enterprises.  These tours are not cheap to
> operate. For us we run with 3-4 employees making
> $20-25 an hour, workers comp and liability
> insurance costs, equipment fabrication and
> maintenance, track upkeep, and of course a lot of
> money towards advertising.  The business is not
> directed towards railfans so they are not
> competing with people choosing a dome car.  We
> get very few railfans, most customers are people
> that would never ride a train.

  I will add something here as the person who was commenting on cost appears to not understand much about the cost to run anything. This includes volunteer operated and maintained rides of any sort I am one of those who work for nothing and just expect people to enjoy what we supply to them. All of those little fees, wages and taxes paid by operators such as the rail bike deal along with insurance make the cost very reasonable so there is hopefully some pay back for there endeavor to keep afloat.  Wish that before posting some people would understand all of the hidden never seen little fees and costs involved with any business of any kind so they can enjoy there free time.  Oh and PDT am sure that would be nice but for those times when there is little business but still has to be there in case someone shows up and no one does wonder how nice it would be for them just to make wages?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/11/23 07:23 by BAB.



Date: 03/11/23 07:58
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: longliveSP

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> just for comparison....
>
> Todd and Masons 6 mile handcar ride in Monterey
> County is #189. for up to 4 people.   Thats c an
> be less that 50. per person, compared with
> mendicinos $125. a person
 
Why not do a full accurate comparision?

Handcar tours of Monterey
$189 per handcar
Up to 4 people
About 1.5 hours plus a short break at the half way point
$31.50 per person per hour

Sunburst Railbikes on the Santa Paula branch
$249.95 per bike
Up to 2 people
About 3.5 hours including a stop at Prancer's Farm
$35.71 per person per hour

 



Date: 03/11/23 09:21
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: AZSP

longliveSP Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pdt Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > just for comparison....
> >
> > Todd and Masons 6 mile handcar ride in Monterey
> > County is #189. for up to 4 people.   Thats c
> an
> > be less that 50. per person, compared with
> > mendicinos $125. a person
>  
> Why not do a full accurate comparision?
>
> Handcar tours of Monterey
> $189 per handcar
> Up to 4 people
> About 1.5 hours plus a short break at the half way
> point
> $31.50 per person per hour
>
> Sunburst Railbikes on the Santa Paula branch
> $249.95 per bike
> Up to 2 people
> About 3.5 hours including a stop at Prancer's
> Farm
> $35.71 per person per hour
>
>  

Pebble Beach golf round currently $595/person. Going up next month

Posted from iPhone



Date: 03/11/23 13:44
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: gobbl3gook

"If I'm paying that much, I'd want to be riding in a dome car on a passenger train!"

Well, this is pretty close, as you get to see the view to the front, the rear, and above.  Just like a dome car.  

Also, unless you have a time machine or you happen to be in Vancouver BC, Canada, you don't have the option to ride in a dome car anyway.  


Ted in OR



Date: 03/11/23 14:38
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: callum_out

I do believe that Grand Canyon Rwy has dome car service.

Out 



Date: 03/11/23 16:45
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: PasadenaSub

Interesting comparison discussion, thanks for the link Gary.

Rich



Date: 03/11/23 18:48
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: callum_out

I remember my dad, in breathless disbelief, when his banker buddy was saying that he, the wife, and two kids had spent
$100 going to Disneyland! The times they do change.

Out 



Date: 03/11/23 22:02
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: WP921

"Also, unless you have a time machine or you happen to be in Vancouver BC, Canada, you don't have the option to ride in a dome car anyway." I was thinking more about Dome Car Fares on the Conway Scenic Railroad ($182.00), Grand Canyon Railway ($189.00), and Royal Gorge Route Railroad ($199.00).  I understand these operations do have economy of scale going for them that smaller businesses do not. For what it's worth, I've followed the adventures of Mason and Todd Clark's Handcar operation since Todd first shared with us that Mason had built a prototype as part of his Senior Project in Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly, Pomona.  I have followed the progress of their operation with great interest and always wished them the best.  Also, the design, engineering, and construction of Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company's handcars seems to be superior to many of the railbikes out there. 



Date: 03/11/23 23:28
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: webmaster

WP921 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For what it's worth, I've
> followed the adventures of Mason and Todd Clark's
> Handcar operation since Todd first shared with us
> that Mason had built a prototype as part of his
> Senior Project in Mechanical Engineering at Cal
> Poly, Pomona.  I have followed the progress of
> their operation with great interest and always
> wished them the best.  Also, the design,
> engineering, and construction of Kalamazoo
> Manufacturing Company's handcars seems to be
> superior to many of the railbikes out there. 

Thank you for noticing.  It is people like you and the ones who travel long distance who make an effort to seek out Mason on tours that keep him motivated and continuing on the endless projects.  This is a labor of love and is often overwelming dealing with operations and new vehicle construction.  It puts a smile on my face when I evesdrop visitors describing the cars to their party or pointing at Mason as the mastermind.  

Mason is currently building a fleet of rail bikes using a design that took him 15 months to refine.  Except for portions of the brake system, everything else is purposely designed for the vehicle. The new machine has over 800 parts, all custom designed and fabricated.  Everything properly engineered so there are no failures caused by poor design which is all too common with most of the jimmy rigged railbikes out there.  The rain storms have shut us down this weekend so Mason is in the shop welding. We have 52 wood wheel centers ready to go into our spun rims.  Yep, we still build wood centered wheels just like they did in 1890.

Link to our rail bike page showing Mason's latest creation:  https://www.handcar.com/mht/rail-bicycle/




 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com








Date: 03/12/23 20:05
Re: RailBike Service begins on the Santa Paula Branch
Author: Gonut1

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