BandA wrote: ↑Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:25 pm
I'm reading a lot of negative messages about CSRX; Is the situation as bad as I am reading, or is it something that is fixable? Is it still a good operation or one to be avoided?
Ultimately it’s the decision of the consumer. Conway is no longer a railfan friendly place. If you’re a railran then probably not. If you’re a vacationer then all these new rules and regulations probably won’t matter to you.
That said, reviews on Trip Advisor for the railroad have been increasingly negative. When I worked there we used to look at the reviews and even respond to them. But the idea of looking at them was so we could improve the operation. Susan Logan, the old marketing manager, did a great job of reaching out to the public via Trip Advisor and through Facebook. It was important for her and for Russ and Paul to actively be responding to reviews and comments on Facebook so they could improve the customers experience moving forward.
A big complaint I’m seeing on Facebook from the non-railfan community is that no one returns emails or answers the phones anymore. The communication isn’t there. Customers are confused because they’ll order tickets online but still need to get a ticket printed out when they arrive at the depot. They’re not getting instructions or being told the process. They just pay and show up and then figure it all out there. That’s probably why trains are consistently late now. The 3:30 departure for Conway didn’t have last call until 3:43 when I was up there.
When I worked for Russ and Paul we had timetables. If train 20 was scheduled to be at mountain junction at 11:37am, it was there. You could set your watch by those trains and I’m not kidding. Running on time is important to vacationers because they typically have multiple things planned for the same day. Trains running consistently late can mess those plans up.
Back to the reviews. When Susan Logan retired she was replaced by Brian Solomon to head up the marketing of the railroad. One of the first things that happened was the ability to comment on Facebook posts was limited. Comments were completely shut off for about 6 months on any post when the railroad had to cancel the Lerro and MassBay events in the beginning of the year. In fact the entire post was removed which I found odd because Lerro and Mass Bay both commented on why the cancellation had to happen with the engine not being ready. Comments now are mostly back on but they are heavily filtered. Brian will delete the comments that bring up valid questions or concerns.
When Solomon took over the reviews section was also removed from Facebook. Reviews have mostly been negative since the takeover so I’m guessing that’s why. But these weren’t negative because the scenery was bad or a railfan was complaining about the yard being closed. One review which I took a screenshot of complained about a leaking roof in one of the Notch cars. They posted a photo of a cup on a seat to catch the water leaking in. That’s a valid review, people should be aware of that and the railroad should be responding to that. When the railroad removes these reviews and removes the ability of non workers to just take a look around, you have to ask yourself why. A lot more is being hidden there now, there’s no transparency anymore and the lines of communication have all gone dark.
Ultimately the decision is yours if you’d still like to go or not. Personally I’ve decided not to and I know the majority of former employees are in the same boat. With Russ and Paul you had complete transparency. With Swirk and Solomon that’s completely gone and that’s unsettling.