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Date: 02/13/20 15:40
Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: mt-king

For almost 40 years the private car association (AAPRCO) ran one or two excursion/convention trains each year.  What they all had in common was that the trains (with Amtrak support) went to places all over the United States where regular Amtrak service did not exist.  In addition, during the same 4 decades Amtrak ran less frequent "test" trains to places where there was enough political pressure to investigate service for a route that did not currently have passenger trains. VIPs, AAPRCO car owners and their guests, families and friends could and did enjoy these type trips.  People living on these non-served routes could get a taste of "what if" when these trains stopped or even just passsed through their cities or towns. Lots of local media coverage was generated.

 Even today, on a semi- regular basis, communities and states still exert  pressure to get train service back in their area but  about the best they get is a six or seven figure "$$$$ feasibility study" which has probably been done and paid for  once or several times before in the not too distant past.

When Mr. Anderson and Gardner go on to their just reward and the Amtrak management pendulum swings back to Amtrak seeing historic rail cars and their owners as something more than rich "white trash" the issue of private car excursions will come up again.  What if Amtrak partnered with the private cars to run a series of one-time excursions OPEN to the general public on former Amtrak routes fondly remembered but no longer operated?
Por ejemplo,
Broadway Limited (where still possible)
National Limited (same as above)
Montrealer
Floridian
Texas Chief
North Coast Hiawatha
Pioneer
Desert Wind
One big reason AAPRCO operated their excursions trains year after year was the trains were the organization's single biggest money maker.  Remember AOE. 


 



Date: 02/13/20 16:16
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: engineerinvirginia

Rather than try to get Amtrak off their high horse....AAPRCO and other organizations might try to find another operator....perhaps even the host road itself......perhaps these organizations could become their own provider.....lease or buy some decent passenger locomotives....and  gather your cars.....reserve time and track with the railroad of choice....I am sure fair prices could be arranged and it might even be cheaper than hiring Amtrak! At the very least one those "feasability studies" could be conducted and it doesn't have to cost $$$$$! As a railroad man I'd like see these trains run.....if they come to my line I could be first out to run one!



Date: 02/13/20 16:50
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: dan

insurance
 



Date: 02/13/20 17:36
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: engineerinvirginia

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> insurance
>  

I knew that would come up, but bonds can be bought and they can get more reasonable with demonstrated diligence....meaning...the first one would be expensive but if no claims are filed, then next years bond would be cheaper....and so on. And if by chance the host road IS the operator, a surety bond would be even cheaper!



Date: 02/13/20 18:55
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: ctillnc

NS and CSX would demand an indemnification beyond the level that any private group could possibly afford the premiums for.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/13/20 18:55 by ctillnc.



Date: 02/13/20 19:06
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: another_view

mt-king Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For almost 40 years the private car association
> (AAPRCO) ran one or two excursion/convention
> trains each year.  What they all had in common
> was that the trains (with Amtrak support) went to
> places all over the United States where regular
> Amtrak service did not exist.  In addition,
> during the same 4 decades Amtrak ran less frequent
> "test" trains to places where there was enough
> political pressure to investigate service for a
> route that did not currently have passenger
> trains. VIPs, AAPRCO car owners and their guests,
> families and friends could and did enjoy these
> type trips.  People living on these non-served
> routes could get a taste of "what if" when these
> trains stopped or even just passsed through their
> cities or towns. Lots of local media coverage was
> generated.
>
>  Even today, on a semi- regular basis,
> communities and states still
> exert  pressure to get train service back in
> their area but  about the best they get is
> a six or seven figure "$$$$ feasibility study"
> which has probably been done and paid for  once
> or several times before in the not too distant
> past.
>
> When Mr. Anderson and Gardner go on to their just
> reward and the Amtrak management pendulum swings
> back to Amtrak seeing historic rail cars and their
> owners as something more than rich "white trash"
> the issue of private car excursions will come up
> again.  What if Amtrak partnered with the private
> cars to run a series of one-time excursions OPEN
> to the general public on former Amtrak routes
> fondly remembered but no longer operated?
> Por ejemplo,
> Broadway Limited (where still possible)
> National Limited (same as above)
> Montrealer
> Floridian
> Texas Chief
> North Coast Hiawatha
> Pioneer
> Desert Wind
> One big reason AAPRCO operated their
> excursions trains year after year was
> the trains were the organization's single biggest
> money maker.  Remember AOE. 
>
>
>  

If it’s such a great idea and can support itself why don’t you put together the consortium and make it happen.

Oh I forgot, it can’t support itself, what was I thinking? You said it all with your last statement “the organization’s single biggest money maker”.



Date: 02/13/20 19:34
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Like livestock and LCL freight, the freight railroads don't want to be bothered with such a thing.  Too much infrastructure is gone and the logistics are considered too complicated for what these types of trains require (water, trash disposal, fuel for generators, etc.).  They don't want car owners and passengers wandering around in areas where they shouldn't be wandering around.  They don't even want people on open platforms when the train is moving. 

It's so much easier to "just say 'no'".



Date: 02/13/20 19:56
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: railstiesballast

Your timing is terrible, today came the news of another $10 million judgement for injuries in the Cascade derailment.
My heart is with the concept that passenger excursions should continue and expand but to me the only logical response to our business and legal environment is that "no" is the real world answer.



Date: 02/13/20 23:36
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: jcaestecker

railstiesballast Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Your timing is terrible, today came the news of
> another $10 million judgement for injuries in the
> Cascade derailment.
> My heart is with the concept that passenger
> excursions should continue and expand but to me
> the only logical response to our business and
> legal environment is that "no" is the real world
> answer.

Sadly, I have to agree.  Lawyers and risk management people rule the modern world now.

-John



Date: 02/14/20 02:37
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: andersonb109

Some of this year's AAPRCO trip on on non Amtrak rails. They are promoting dutch door and open platform riding during those segments. Don't they know how dangerous that is? 



Date: 02/14/20 08:54
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: MojaveBill

Lawyers and risk management are a response to past actions, not some sort of conspiracy.
 

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 02/14/20 10:50
Re: Amtrak Heritage Excursions
Author: swiftstream

> Lawyers and risk management are a response to past
> actions, not some sort of conspiracy.

It's not just lawyers and risk management, it's the whole culture of the freight railroad industry.  Have you ever tried getting a freight railroad company to do ANYTHING?  Their default answer is almost always "no," whatever the question.  They even joke about it.  I've had an NS guy tell me "I'm authorized to buy you lunch and tell you no."  And this was a guy in economic development, supposedly with the job of drumming up new business.  The operations guys won't even call you back, assuming you can figure out how to call them in the first place.  Actively avoiding existing or potential customers - who in the world does that?  It's a weird mentality that you don't run into in any other business.  Things already work for the railroad the way they are, and they are not interested in talking to you about anything different.  The AAPRCO trains over the years relied extensively on individual personal contacts, as a way of getting around the default answer of "no."  The trips also took a LOT of time and effort by the AAPRCO trip organizers.



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