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Date: 11/15/18 21:28
PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: jcaestecker

Good evening everyone,

A day has come that I never anticipated.  Due to the the highly restrictive environment that Amtrak has imposed upon us private car owners, along with painfully high prices to store and operate, my family and I have decided to sell the pride of our last 21 years, the Silver Splendor.  The new owners are Dave and Rhonda Swirk who run the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, NH.  My wife, Heidi, and I, along with our two sons, have had the pleasure of visiting there twice in recent years during our visits with relatives in Boston.  The lovely line in the White Mountains will now be the permanent home for the former Burlington Vista-Dome, originally known as Silver Buckle.  It's a fine place with people who deeply care about vintage rail equipment and the Splendor will be well taken care of.  We would like to sincerely thank all of you who have ridden and chased our car, along with those who have expressed their interest in its history.

Heidi, Martin, James and myself will be forever grateful for having lived the dream of rebuilding this beautiful piece of passenger rail history and for the privilege of being able to share it with all of you.  We wish Dave and Rhonda all the best as the new caretakers of the finest that the Budd Company had to offer.  

The car will depart L.A. for the final time this Saturday on Amtrak train #4, arriving CHI on the afternoon of the 19th.  On the night of the 20th, we depart CHI on train #48 with Albany, NY as our destination the following day.  The car will be taken off at ALB and moved in freight service to Hazens, NH, the connection to Conway Scenic.  Brian Solomon of Trains Magazine will be aboard to document the voyage and do a few interviews with the former owners and the new ones.  Don't be surprised to see an article about the journey in a future edition of Trains.  As always, photos and videos of our move would be appreciated.

Thank you all deeply.  The memories will last a lifetime!

-John, Heidi, Martin and James Caestecker


Date: 11/15/18 21:58
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: IC_2024

I met all of you years ago when I worked out of Oakland and vividly remember your family being very kind to all of us “rails” who were curious to have a look inside— many thanks for that.

Glad to see your fine car is going to a good home, too— perhaps I can get a ride if I ever visit there? Ultimately, I know that it must be hard to let her go, but IMHO, you made the best decision possible for her future— “Long may she run!”

Date: 11/15/18 22:02
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: walstib

Thanks for all the fine memories. Whether I was chasing, riding, or simply meeting the Splendor at the depot for a quick wave, it was always a fun time.

Thanks for your hospitality. You made riding the rails a great experience.

Posted from iPhone

Date: 11/15/18 23:49
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: stash

This is really sad news but with the best outcome possible under the present conditions at Amtrak. I feel fortunate to have ridden on the Silver Splendor as well as meeting you on board along with your family.

LARail gave the public a chance to ride private varnish and earned Amtrak some decent revenue. Too bad the railroad decided to shoot itself in the foot.

If/when I visit Conway I will ride the Splendor and I feel happy the car will have a good home.

Posted from Android

Date: 11/16/18 03:13
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: andersonb109

Richard Anderson should be ashamed of the heart ache he is causing PV owners. In September  I was in New Orleans on a PV charter and was approached by an Amtrak official there who was admiring the two cars stabled there. He indicated how much he enjoyed having PV's stabled at Terminal Station and was fully aware of how much revenue they brought to Amtrak, even before the draconian price increases.  Just how does Anderson think the average PV client can afford yet even more expensive trips? As is, many fares charged by PV owners barely cover their cost to operate. While it is good this fine car and some of it's other sisters such as Silver Solarium and Silver  Rapids have found good homes on tourist railroads, these cars were meant to be run on the main line at track speed. I've met many PV owners on convention trips and for some, these cars are not a business, but their lives. Soon, when combined with Amtrak's food service cuts, other than short corridor runs in commuter like equipment, any resemblance to first class long distance train travel in the U.S. (Canada not included) will soon be a thing of the past unless this idiot is removed from office.  

Date: 11/16/18 03:55
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: cozephyr

Silver Splendor at Denver Union Station, Denver, Colorado, 23 April 2015.  Thanks for your terrific care with ex-Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Silver Buckle.

Date: 11/16/18 05:01
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: joemvcnj

Anderson is just as anxious to reduce revenues as he is to reduce costs. 

Date: 11/16/18 05:29
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: Wurli1938

Sad - - but this is probably going to happen to some of the other cars

Date: 11/16/18 06:26
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: randgust

If there's an upside to this, it's that there's never been a bigger shortage of usable cars for first-class services nationwide on many excursion operations with a longer footprint, and first-class services are consistently selling better than conventional coach.   That extends into Polar Express and many others.   So while it's not good news, it's not awful either as at least there's a market and good home for cars that has evolved from this.  Budd cars in particular that have outlived the ACF and P-S cars are always first choice due to structural issues. 

I think one of the best things that Cuyaga Valley Scenic ever did was pick up the St. Lucie Sound round-end Budd observation for charter, corporate, and first-class use, at the time I questioned it purely due to cost but it made a huge difference in the entire operation. Now it's really evolved into a PV experience on an excursion operation.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/16/18 06:42 by randgust.

Date: 11/16/18 07:33
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: Arkeytek

Photo 1:  John and Heidi enjoying the view approaching the Huey P. Long Bridge after leaving New Orleans; April 2016.

Photo 2:  Me.  November 2013 leaving Fullerton after Pam's and my charter trip to San Diego in celebration of our mutual milestone birthdays and 25th wedding anniversary.

Photo3:  Pam enjoying the view of the Dallas skyline, April this year.

Too many memories, too many friends, so much good times.  It's very hard to see it end.  But the memories and friendships make will continue, always.   

Date: 11/16/18 07:43
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: rtd1121

Definately a sad day in LA. We had some nice PRS Excursions in recent years with the Silver Splendor, the Caestecker's are great people to work with. 

A couple photos of the car:

Silver Splendor in San Bernardino on April 17, 2011
Silver Splendor in Oceanside on August 17, 2013 
Finally a view from inside the dome on a PRS trip to San Luis Obispo on May 2, 2015

All photos by me, Andrew Novak. 

Date: 11/16/18 09:09
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: jp1822

Thank you. 

Thank you for preserving a little bit of "Splendor" from the height of a golden age of railroading that could never be repeated. It's only in books and through private railroad charters that one can take a glimpse into "what was." 

Date: 11/16/18 09:11
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: jcaestecker

Thanks for the photos Mr. N.!  And thank you all for your kind remarks and rembrances.

-John, Heidi, Martin and James

Date: 11/16/18 11:37
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: randyr

In Andrew's pic above of the Silver Splendor at Oceanside in August of 2013, the car was chartered by Athearn Trains. My youngest son and I were aboard that day. Note the placement of the car behind the Cabbage Car. I must echo all the comments made about the Silver Splendor and its owners. That trip was one of the best PV trips I have been on. The family was very gracious and answered all of my questions about rebuilding and operating the car. I am a nerd accountant and fascinated by costs and rebuilding projects. While I agree it is too bad the current climate is squeezing PV operators out of the business, the Conway Scenic is a pretty good alternative. I have visited there a few times, with the same son and found them to be a great line. I was thinking about taking my grandson up there next summer to ride along with the Maine 2 footers. This just gives me more incentive to get up there.

Fun fact I was just looking at my Silver Splendor T Shirt from the 2013 trip the other day. Highball for the past and present owners, the Silver Splendor was and will continue to be a class act. 

Randy in PHX

Date: 11/16/18 13:07
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: jcaestecker

Thank you Randy!  That was a really fun event with Shane and the Athearn gang.


Date: 11/16/18 13:36
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: edsaalig

May Amtrak truly rot in hell for all the misery it has brought to to so many good people,  Amtrak truly does not serve in the public interest.  The decline in service and equipment is a prime example.

Date: 11/16/18 14:14
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: Arkeytek

Rode Amtrak for two reasons:  As a puller of PVs and the Coast Starlight for the Pacific Parlor Cars.  Both essentially gone (yes, long distance PV travel may still be around, but will be much more expensive).  So goodbye Amtrak (just unsubscribed to the Amtrak Vacations emails); off to places that know the value of rail travel.  .

Date: 11/16/18 15:12
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: mt-king

A government monopoly killing off small businesses goes unchallenged today while private monopolies were outlawed over a century ago for the same reasons.

Date: 11/16/18 16:23
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: PHall

You know guys, Amtrak is NOT the only game in town.
Come up with a business plan that could get BNSF or UP to agree to haul your cars.
4 or 5 PV's and a HEP Generator car could easily be handled by one unit.
The trick is to make it worth their while.

Date: 11/16/18 19:57
Re: PV Silver Splendor going to Conway Scenic
Author: jcaestecker

After my car is relocated to Conway, I will have something to say.

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