• Uniq. Eqpmt Sightings: Private Varnish (PV's), Charters, etc

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by gregorygrice
 
Tadman wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:02 pm Odd sighting on the NB Crescent today (12/26) about a mile north of New Orleans station). One P42, four amfleet, one baggage mid-train, four more amfleet. No sleeper, no diner.
Amtrak's Polar Express. Runs in Nola and Chicago.
  by jhdeasy
 
Morristown and Erie Railway in NJ operates a Polar Express in conjunction with a theater production company, all properly licensed thru Warner Brothers. I was amazed when their VP COO told me they sold about 60,000 tickets for their Polar Express trains in 2018, and they were hoping to increase to selling 65,000 Polar Express tickets in 2019. A profitable venture!
  by ExCon90
 
jhdeasy wrote: Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:10 pm I’ve spoken with a few current and former owners of Union Pacific dome lounge cars and dome diners.

Those fins on the roof are most commonly know as buffers. The intended purpose was to alter air flow across the dome glazing to provide better visibility, especially in rain, snow and sleet conditions.

They would only work as intended if they were forward of the dome in the direction the car was moving; that would require the dome diners to operate with the kitchen end forward, and the dome lounge cars to operate with the vestibule end forward.

Over the years, the buffers were removed from some of these dome cars, and buffers were re-installed in other dome cars.
So the buffers would force the airflow upward before striking the glass, thus avoiding a steady upward flow of water on the forward window? It seems the designers thought of most things in those days.
  by dgvrengineer
 
jhdeasy wrote: Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:11 pm Morristown and Erie Railway in NJ operates a Polar Express in conjunction with a theater production company, all properly licensed thru Warner Brothers. I was amazed when their VP COO told me they sold about 60,000 tickets for their Polar Express trains in 2018, and they were hoping to increase to selling 65,000 Polar Express tickets in 2019. A profitable venture!
Of the contracts with Warner Brothers that I have heard, they require 30-33% of the gross receipts. Plus, you have to buy their products to sell both on and off the train at inflated prices. Then you have to figure in on board entertainment, food, employee expenses, fuel, wear & tear in cold weather conditions, etc. Still money to be made, but not as much as first glance.
  by Greg Moore
 
Trains Magazine had an article (can't recall if recently but I think it was within the last year) talking about how some places were getting rid of "Polar Express" and simply going with "Christmas train" or similar for a theme because of the licensing costs.
  by Tadman
 
I was thinking the same thing, it would be just too easy to call it the "Christmas Express" and keep all the money. Given that shortlines and tourist carriers have had holiday specials for years, it would be harder to legally stop them. Not that that wouldn't stop the greedy Hollywood types from trying - they could just throw a pile of money at lawyers.

But at the end of the day, the whole Polar Express movie connection is pretty tenuous. There is not 1225, no steamer at all, no Tom Hanks, no North Pole, it's usually just 20 year old corridor coaches with xmas lights running 1 mile to the yards and back. I mean there's little proprietary magic to that other than the name.
  by mtuandrew
 
Many tourist roads have stopped booking Thomas the Train for that same reason - there’s a lot of up-front investment for an uncertain return. Unseasonable weather, competing events (best hope Disney on Ice isn’t in town or another Cars movie drops), poor advertisement or insufficient volunteers will sink a licensed event. I’ve heard of a few museums who are still digging out of a Thomas loss.
  by Tadman
 
The concept of a billion dollar media organization trying to skim 1/3 of the revenues from a marginal operation like most museums or tourist pikes is utterly ridiculous. Especially when you consider that either Polar Express or Thomas is going to be pulling crusty old SPV's or Lackawanna commuter cars, readily available at any tourist pike all year round.

Last week my sister told me she thought about taking her family of four on the Polar Express in Chicago and the price was just too steep ($200-ish) when they could ride a standard Metra train with some box juices and Christmas stories on Saturday AM for $20 total. I totally agree.
  by gregorygrice
 
Most of these Polar trains sell out, no matter what equipment they run. They also still have a crap ton of host locations in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. I don't see the popular ones going anywhere anytime soon.
  by mtuandrew
 
I’m with your sister on that, Tad, but then we know how the system works. Sometimes the extra attraction or enjoyment is worth it; sometimes it’s too little reward for too much money.

I agree with that too, Mr. Rice. Small roads without deep pockets are taking a big risk in their search for a massive money-making windfall, but large museums (the Steam Railroading Institute with PM #1225, the B&O Railway Museum, etc) can reliably front the money and expect a good return year-over-year.

The same calculus goes for special Amtrak charters. To be honest Amtrak seems to have largely taken the profit margin away from big public charter trains, so the only Amtrak-led charters at the moment seem to be publicly-funded. I have to defer to AAPRCO members like Mr. Deasy about the single, two, or three-car charters on Amtrak regular LD or corridor trains.
  by Tadman
 
For the last week or two there's been an NPCU at the New Orleans locomotive shop. This is odd because no service here operates with an NPCU. Perhaps a refugee from the Flyer, maybe here for work since there is no shop in Fort Worth?
  by mtuandrew
 
Tadman wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:58 am For the last week or two there's been an NPCU at the New Orleans locomotive shop. This is odd because no service here operates with an NPCU. Perhaps a refugee from the Flyer, maybe here for work since there is no shop in Fort Worth?
Would be useful if Alabama ever approves funding for the Gulf Breeze.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
I'm at Boston's South Station. On track 2 right now there is an Amtrak train consisting of a diesel, a single Amfleet coach, and another diesel. Can anyone tell me what this might be?
  by mtuandrew
 
charlesriverbranch wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:58 pm I'm at Boston's South Station. On track 2 right now there is an Amtrak train consisting of a diesel, a single Amfleet coach, and another diesel. Can anyone tell me what this might be?
In my unprofessional, unscientific opinion: sounds like a transfer run from BON to BOS for a bad-order car.
  by liftedjeep
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:29 pm
charlesriverbranch wrote: Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:58 pm I'm at Boston's South Station. On track 2 right now there is an Amtrak train consisting of a diesel, a single Amfleet coach, and another diesel. Can anyone tell me what this might be?
In my unprofessional, unscientific opinion: sounds like a transfer run from BON to BOS for a bad-order car.
I've seen similar:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=4262199

Ben
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