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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 4:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11498
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
co614 wrote:
To me the term " Full Monty" is a much better way to describe what to me is the full mainline steam product ( no diesel(s), minimum 60mph track speed, open window coach availability, multiple speed runbys, cab ride raffle tickets, reliable scheduling, reasonable ticket prices), that to me is the ideal steam excursion package.


I'm reminded of the old shop adage, "You can have cheap, fast, or good; pick a maximum of two at most."

"No diesel" will get you nowhere with most major lines these days. Not only do the diesels help starting and vastly extend the range of your steamers AND protect you and the passengers in case of breakdown, they also have dynamic braking that will reduce the wear on the brakes of the old-time open-window passenger cars you will insist upon.

Runbys? Chances are slim to none, and Slim left the station yesterday. Besides, the only place the RR would let you do so will be on the wrong side of the sunshine. Every time.

Reasonable ticket prices? Not with the runbys, cab ride raffles, no diesel, etc.

I regret to suggest that the only way we'll see this package on a North American mainline in 2025 is if Rowland himself buys an entire railroad and runs it at his whim. Might as well dig out the ol' MS TrainSim or Avalon Hill "Rail Baron" while we're at it. (And how come we've never seen Sheldon Cooper impose Rail Baron upon his RPG-loving fellow geeks?)

Is the Wolstzyn Experience still a thing? Maybe Poland needs this spirit of "can-do"................


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2024 5:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 1558
Location: Byers, Colorado
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Is the Wolstzyn Experience still a thing? Maybe Poland needs this spirit of "can-do"................


YES.

https://www.parowozowniawolsztyn.pl/

The railroaders of Wolsztyn have a clue. When a friend and I stayed in the crew quarters next to the roundhouse, the train crew were the only others staying there. Twelve bucks a night, totally authentic atmosphere. The next day, we went to the roundhouse museum, and when we tried to pay admission, they told us "No, you've already paid. You're our guest." So, we put our money in the donation box instead....

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Ask not what your locomotive can do for you,
Ask what you can do for your locomotive,

Sammy King


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 9:13 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:23 am
Posts: 48
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I regret to suggest that the only way we'll see this package on a North American mainline in 2025 is if Rowland himself buys an entire railroad and runs it at his whim.


Maybe it's time to dust off that old proposal someone here made, for buying the TP&W Railroad and using it for steam trains during the daytime (and freight at night). I am sure GNWR would sell if the price was right. Maybe Ross is ready to get into the real-life Rail Baron business?


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 765
Christopher Stone wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
I regret to suggest that the only way we'll see this package on a North American mainline in 2025 is if Rowland himself buys an entire railroad and runs it at his whim.


Maybe it's time to dust off that old proposal someone here made, for buying the TP&W Railroad and using it for steam trains during the daytime (and freight at night). I am sure GNWR would sell if the price was right. Maybe Ross is ready to get into the real-life Rail Baron business?


I got at least four candidates. Somebody want to find me 10 million dollars and we'd be in business...


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2561
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
The TP&W idea certainly has merit. Wonder how many OPM bucks that would take??

Hope springs eternal. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 2299
I grew up near the TP&W (literally a few hundred feet for a while) into my mid-twenties, and I can't see what the appeal of that stretch of track would be for riders, other than that two major accidents occurred on it, including the Chatsworth disaster, and more recently the Crescent City disaster in the early seventies involving tank cars with LP gas. For the operators it does have a lot of tangent track, few grades and a lot of bare ground for half of the year, so that you can see a deer or a car coming from miles away, but that doesn't really add to a train riding experience.


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2024 8:19 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3916
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Looks like it might be time to review this old thread.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=41074


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 1:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:28 am
Posts: 36
Location: York, PA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
co614 wrote:

"No diesel" will get you nowhere with most major lines these days. Not only do the diesels help starting and vastly extend the range of your steamers AND protect you and the passengers in case of breakdown, they also have dynamic braking that will reduce the wear on the brakes of the old-time open-window passenger cars you will insist upon.


I find it interesting that Ross and others have also failed to think of the capitalization happening these days with trips behind steam. Passengers want more than an "open window coach" experience. If you don't believe me, then see how fast the tickets sell for riding in first class accommodations behind 2102. Be it a dome car or a nice lounge car with food, the price of those tickets would help offset the need for a bunch of people paying big bucks just for a coach ticket.

The catch is that while yes, you could have each car run its own generator for HEP, or have a power car, a HEP equipped diesel might be the most ideal situation.

_________________
John Frantz

York, PA
Crossroads of the Maryland & Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania and Western Maryland Railroads.


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 2:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2022 8:31 am
Posts: 30
Hi
I agree with the last post,, my friend and I have rode behind Reading & Northern 2102 twice,,, we prefer the open window coach,,. we came down to listen to the locomotive work... and her stack talk..
Watching the sensory go by in a closed coach,,is what you want and that is,what that is what you prefer,.....
Any railroad in the passenger train business,,, makes it money on the tourists, not on the railfan's..
Maybe that is the reason (why) the 1st and 2nd class seating quicker than the coach seats...Some people don't care what is pulling them, Steam or Diesel...from point A to point B... and return...
Some just want the experience saying they rode behind Steam,,or Diesel,, and yes they just might be sitting in that closed coach,, with there family just for that one reason...
Not everyone is a railfan,, some just want the experience of just taking the train ride,, this is why the tourist trains,, make money,, Strasburg, R&N 2102,, Cass, etc etc..Pat.


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2561
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
John Frantz is spot on. 95% of the 20,000 passengers we carried on the Port Jervis trips behind the 614 were daisy pickers who were out for a train ride.

The two open window coaches we offered were for the hard core steam lovers ( like me ) who really wanted to be immersed in the sounds,smells and magic of steam up close and personal. The other 18 coaches were for everybody else.

And yes, our 150 1st. class seats in the 5 parlor/lounge cars always sold out first.

I've ridden 2 of the 2102 trips and the mix there is a little different in that the 8 open window coaches have quite a few hard core folks in the mix. And yes, here also the premium service cars sell out first.

Onward & Upward. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 12:42 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 1497
Fans like the first class cars too. When I rode the 261's 2-day trip to Duluth I bought a ticket in the Cedar Rapids car. Now if I had known that was going to be the trip that ran with NO DIESEL I would have just bought a coach and glued myself to a vestibule or baggage car door haha but I spent plenty of time in the open air and also enjoying the one and only Cedar Rapids car.

Fans can enjoy the first class cars too.


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 2:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
Posts: 925
Banging around this thread the last few days, and with respect to the standards we all love (yay steam, boo internal combustion, yay fast) I keep trying to understand what we're solving for. It's kind of like seeing someone talk about a new smartphone that has features that have been on the market for years already, but they're in a slightly different package, or arranged in a slightly different manner.

What problem is this thread addressing that the market is not already answering in some way?

Operations on the Buckingham Branch have the potential to be well on their well to becoming a Diesel Free Zone™ though the 611 leading portion is quite a lovely show and the vestibule question is likely one that can be addressed in time.

Reading & Northern operates variously sized steam locomotives in various capacities with no diesel locomotives and open windows in a variety of classes (my tickets purchased already booked for this year too).

The 765 operates dozens of trips of late with no diesels, with open windows or open vestibules and sound cars, albeit at lower speeds. Though as noted before, the last mainline*** steam trips in the country which operated around 70MPH or higher appear to have been out of Chicago only 6 years ago (with a diesel on the rear of a few of them since the train couldn't turn on a few of them.)

Not a single person among the 20,000 served by our group over the two years complained about slower speeds and many of the nonfans enjoyed what are normally railfan perks, i.e. the runbys, the open-air car, vestibules, etc. which is part of the mission to radicalize the normal passenger and turn them into the fan for life. I do see some purchasing decisions influenced by motive power, but the offerings sell out regardless.

If the onboard experience, amenities, and customer service are solid, the rest is just cream. First class is the most popular because it is a differentiator, an experience, something you can't necessarily do every day. If a customer is going to go to all of the trouble to drive, get lodging, do whatever, they want to splurge and at least get the bagel and the coffee and the danish in air conditioning too. We've been treating our open-air car as a first-class car, including food service and the like in it, and will be rolling out two more open-air/open window parlor/lounge cars in the future so folks can get their cinders and their tea.

Like first class, steam is a differentiator. Once you get precious about diesels in the consist or speeds, the audience you're speaking to gets narrower and narrower. That's why 90% of our train serves the general public and 10% caters to those that are in the know ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Can this ratio work if it's flipped around? Only if the onboard experience works.

People do ask "can't it pull it the train by itself?" but it's not a purchasing decision. "What's the speed limit here?" they inquire, but they're already on the train. Honestly, the folks usually asking us these questions are trying to plan out their photos and videos lineside and aren't buying the tickets.

But, who are we solving for? Are we solving for RYPN.org? Aren't the market's needs being met already? Not that I don't mind continuous improvement or having standards (it's why we often wind up turning our all-day excursions around overnight so steam leads both ways on despite the extra time, mileage, personnel, expense etc...) Perfect shouldn't be the enemy of good, but good should be a champion of great. Lots of offerings out there are pretty good-to-great already.

Edited to add this postscript -- there should really be a thread that lists everything a "mainline" experience ought to have to be successful (profitable, hospitable, marketable, patronized, etc) that is not limited to just motive power exclusivity or speed. We index way too much on the obvious wonky stuff, never the amenities, experience, destinations, or polish.

I would go further to define a "mainline" as a "destination-oriented or experience-driven outing between two or more points that either exceeds a particular speed (30mph?), duration (half day, all day?), or distance (30 miles or greater?)

_________________
Kelly Lynch
Vice President
Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc
http://www.fwrhs.org


Last edited by nathansixchime on Sun Feb 25, 2024 9:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 188
nathansixchime wrote:
(Just go back and read everything in the post above)


I might just be an armchair enthusiast, but I have to say that whole post deserves applause.

I have been following online the reactions to the rumors of 614 going to Goshen spurred by this thread., and it's been an attitude of incredulity. Partially it is from railfans coming to this thread and seeing the prevailing attitude of "no diesels, high speeds, specific rolling stock, etc." not to mention the general question of who is going to foot the bill for this. An entire generation has passed since 614 has turned a wheel under steam, and all of the hand-wringing in this thread just sounds like a shot to recapture what worked in steam preservation 50 years ago. It's the same reason that prior 614 revival ideas (Greenbrier Express, Yellow Ribbon Express, the suspiciously silent 2026 Freedom Train idea) have caused many casual railfans to just doubt there are any serious plans to bring the engine back to steam.

Kelly though just head the nail on the head. He described real 21st century concerns, and real 21st century operational needs. He emphasized the importance of how things can't be planned to stroke railfan egos and how to capture the hearts and imagination of the general public. Let the sacred cows die, and bring the mindset into 2024 like Kelly has if things are going to have any chance of real success. If 614 is to return to steam it has to come with that mental shift to how the game is played, and looking at what successful steam groups are doing now to get stuff done and not how they were done 50 years ago. I am just an armchair on the sidelines, so maybe my endorsement isn't the most rousing; but if anything Kelly's words make clear is he is not an armchair enthusiast and he is speaking from a place of earned knowledge.

To be honest, just donating 614 to the Fort Wayne Historical Society or Kentucky Steam or a similar group would likely be a faster path back to steam than the rest of the speculation in this thread has been already...


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 4:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm
Posts: 925
To be clear, I'm pro 614 on Buckingham, or anywhere, for the right reasons. I've said it elsewhere, but the fact that a handful of mainline engines like 765, 611, etc have found regional shortlines in their "backyards" so to speak (both, after years of courtship, no less) and have managed to cobble together dedicated passenger fleets out of thin air is nothing short of a series of sweaty, serendipitous miracles. (I believe ATSF 2926 is eventually going to be in this position, too.)

It's the closest we've got for now to "control our fates," which is perhaps why I'm less precious about speed limits and diesels because this ain't a stretch of sunshine ain't guaranteed. In the meantime, hopefully, partnerships like these bode well for many groups and locomotives (both named and not named here), too.

KL


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 Post subject: Re: C&O 614 To Goshen, VA?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:28 pm
Posts: 444
Thank you, Kelly, for injecting a much-needed dose of reality into this. The 90%/10% observation speaks volumes. After all, unless there's a rail enthusiast Daddy Warbucks writing big checks, where do operating funds come from? The general public, methinks.


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