• Grand Luxe for a Point to Point Trip

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
It appears that Grand Luxe (American Orient Express) will be adding their "luxotrain' cars to regularly scheduled Amtrak trains.

http://www.americanorientexpress.com/ht ... dWash.html

For the winter months, they will be emulating the business model of their predecessor American European Express, but unfortunately AEE flopped.

Neverthekess, if you are willing to part with a hefty deposit that I would dare say you would have to "pull teeth' to see again in the event of a cancellation, here is a chance to try out this luxury service with a point to point ride and without the assorted 'fol-d-rol' of an escorted tour.

I for one, am starting to give some thought to such a journey to Florida next season.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Wed May 23, 2007 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by John_Perkowski
For the record,

From the accommodation pictured, the "Vintage Pullman" is a 1954-6 double Bedroom. The particular variant of the space was called Type S. The two sinks of the DBR pair abut; one annex is on the aisle pad, the other on the window pad.

Since I've never been on their cars, I cannot tell you if they have BC/BL (crosswise/lengthwise).

What they call "single sleeper" appears to be a BL double bedroom sans the upper.

Parlor suite appears to be a Drawing Room less the upper.

Classic Presidential Suite and Grand Suite appear to be two DBR en suite, the partition permanently removed, and one of the annexes removed.
  by prr60
Gilbert B Norman wrote: ....Neverthekess, if you are will to part with a hefty deposit that I would dare say you would have to "pull teeth' to see again in the event of a cancellation...
The GrandLuxe (and predecessor AOE) has a very good reputation for customer service. I'm not sure why you presume that deposits would not be refunded promptly in the event of a cancellation by GrandLuxe, or in accordance with the T&C's in the event of a customer cancellation. I have not heard a single complaint like that about either AOE or GL and it seems unfair to make that kind of assumption in the absence of any evidence that it is true.

Edited by moderator .

  by Gilbert B Norman
I'm pleased to learn, Mr. Pittsburgher, that you believe any concerns on my part regarding timely refunds of customer deposits in the event of a cancellation are unfounded.

As I noted in my originating posting, I am now giving thought to a Grand Luxe journey likely to Florida next season or possibly one of the positioning trips such as Chi to Wash.

I would think that others who are of the 'hold the escorted tour fol-de-rol; must pass the train ride' would also take interest. The fares noted in the linked promotional material do not appear all that "out of line'.

  by Scoring Guy
Having been on the AOE/GLJ a few times, allow me to offer these comments on the above comments:

I've had a couple of cancellations, and the refund was prompt, albeit with a plea (but NOT requirement) to apply it on a different trip, with an additional discount incentive.

What I fear, is that these abbreviated GLJ trainsets, for the point to point service, will not include a dome car, which, in my mind, greatly diminishes the value, especially on the western routes, plus winter, with its short days, seems like the wrong time for these trips (although the east coast route might work for the snowbirds)

Mr. Perkowski's annalysis of the accomodations is pretty close: for the sleeping cars that have been made from existing (vintage) sleeping cars, the Vintage Pullman is the crossways BR, the Single Sleeper is the lengthways BR with the upper disabled, and (some of) the suites are a combination of the two. However, GLJ owner Colorado Rail Car has also produced some sleeping cars (from gutted vintage cars) with rooms and beds of their own design, and unfortunately, those beds are not as wide or as comfortable as the vintage beds.

If they would have asked me, I would have recommended they run point to point runs on non-Amtrak routes - that I would pay good money for, , , and have.

Trip Suggestion:
The CP # 2816 (see 261.com) will be running trip from Calgary to Minneapolis in August and a return trip in September on CP and SOO rail, with motel stays for overnight stops on route. Consist includes the Cedar Rapids Skytop and # 53 Superdome.

  by Scoring Guy
I should also add
another interesting train riding option is the Colorado State Fair train (Denver to Pueblo, round trip), which uses the UP Challenger excursion train equipment.


  by John_Perkowski
Mr Scoring Guy,

IIRC at one point AOE had several domes. That was pre-sale to Rader. IIRC not all of them had been through shopping and were road-ready.

Mr Jack Deasy has commented he was approached for lease of his car, the MOUNT VERNON. Perhaps GLJ sees the weakness, and will do something about it.

I'll forgive a dome for an obs, particularly for HICKORY CREEK'S sister, SANDY CREEK!!!!!!!

That still provides obs on 2 of 4.

I just do not know how big a fleet AOE/GLJ had, and how it can be distributed amongst the proposed 4 services. From the schedule, Amtrak/AOE is talking about 1 consist per pool of cars serving the run.

  by Scoring Guy
The brochure states that each of the seven car point to point sets will have a dining car and lounge car, plus the sleeping cars (one of which will probably be a dorm).

During the later years of the AOE, under John Hillman Jr., the AOE was running two trains, (AOE I and AOE II) each with a sleeping car capacity of about 90, and each with a full length (ex-EB's) dome car, a flat top lounge, a tail car, and twin dining cars. Note that AOE only owned one operational tail car , "New York" (the ex-NYC car). They leased others for the second train; PV "Glacier Park" (painted in AOE colors) was used for a year, '04, and PV "Northern Spirit" (left stainless) was used alot from '05 on. The two sets of double dining cars, were different, one used two "regular" dining cars coupled kitchen to kitchen, while the other set was a kitchen only car and dining room only ,car pair (which they aquired when the BC Rail pass trains folded).
Under Tom Radar's command, GLR "cut back" the service to a single 130 passenger train set, with a full dome, flat top lounge, New York car, and the kitchen-kitchen double diner setup.

My GUESS is that for the three simultaneous point to point sets, they will give each one of the running "lounges", for example, Full Dome to CZ, New York to SWC and flat top lounge to SM (as one poster noted, the GLR might run behind the diesel, not at the end of the SM, so the New York car wouldn't work, plus the SM run is mostly in the dark). Although there's alway a chance that the second full dome could be used or the second flat top lounge, gining the NY a rest. Time will tell.

The big question is what is GLR going to use for the third dining car (the double set of kitchen car/dining car can't be split up).

Having been to the Col. Railcar shops, I know they did have some extra cars on hand but I didn't notice a third "regular" dining car. I might be that they will have to aquire or lease or build a diner.

Mr. Radar almost had a relationship with Amtrak and point to point service in earlier times. In the middle 90's Marlboro wanted Col Railcar to build them a private "double decker" train, but building had barely started when the project was cancelled. When Amtrak announced their coast to coast material handling car express train, (circa 2000?) Radar announced the "American Eagle, Santa Fe Express Grand Luxe" NYC (Hoboken?) to LA (with boarding stops also at/near Chicago and Santa Fe), a four (double decker) car luxury train on the back of the MHC express (two 15 BR sleeping cars, a dining car/dorm, and a lounge/library/dance floor car, which were designs for the Marlboro train). When the coast to coast MHC train idea was cancelled, so was the American Eagle.
Radar has two ("holywood backlot style) unfinished double decker cars on site, in Ft., Lupton, with portions of the American Eagle interiors built up for photo shots.

One would think the "Holiday" travel needs might help those GLR sets fill around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Crazy me, I booked a trip on the EB such that I'm aboard all day Thanksgiving Day, , , wonder if they will cook Turkey???