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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 pm
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Location: Leicester, MA.
Ross, you mean to tell me that you can't build up credibility by working from the ground up? Trying to work with shortlines and regionals? I'm sorry but I disagree with you. I do think some of the ideas that have been tossed around in both the mainline steam home thread and this one could work. However I think it's also safe to say that such projects would be time consuming and incredibly difficult. We put men on the bloody moon in this country. As far as I'm concerned that sets the bar for impossible rather high...

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:55 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 120
The idea of a liability pool seems reasonable until you realize that there must be enough financial support attached to the pool to cover the maximum loss and liability. Therefore, if $500 million is the needed coverage, there must be $500 million in assets (cash, equipment, etc.) attached to the coverage. No state insurance commission would allow less. The risk is so high that pools are established by the large firms that then broker the amount out to multiple parties to provide the coverage.

Having worked several times to just get the coverage for the deductible of $10-30 million, the cost of a policy for $500 million will require lots of millions. Many of the policies that I have obtained have also asked for specific event locations and estimated passenger counts in advance of writing the policy. The issue of liability and risk is a hard one to deal with and explain, and often simple answers create far more questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:13 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1021
Location: Back in NE Ohio
All I'm saying is that a lot of individuals, corporations and groups stand to lose millions in sunk capital expenses if a workable solution to this situation can't be found. So, there is incentive to at least find some expertise and have some discussions around creative solutions. It's not just non-profit historical groups with a stake in this, corporations (for instance, Charter Industries and Patron Tequila) own PV's that are moved to places between major Amtrak terminals. Perhaps they have some resources that can be brought to bear on this situation. There are also support industries - repair and overhaul shops, part suppliers, etc., with business at stake too. I'm not saying it's a billion dollar industry, but it certainly ain't bean bag.

What kind of arrangement did Ringling Bros. have with the freight railroads? As far as I know, there never was any drama around their operating two very long private trains carrying passengers, large animals and cargo all over the U. S. for a very long time, apparently at a profit for those railroads. And I know from having been employed by one of those railroads when they were in town, that there were special things that had to be done to accommodate them at points where they laid over and performed. So, what is the difference between our situation and theirs, and why can't this problem be overcome?


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 84
co614 wrote:
It is NOT POSSIBLE mathematically to set-up a start-up insurance pool ( or underwriter) with the financial muscle needed to provide credible liability policies in the $ 500M amount (with a small deductible) that the Class 1's would accept. There just aren't enough operations that would subscribe to the service to make the numbers work....not even remotely close.

Again, and for the last time.....without the Amtrak umbrella,.... mainline excursions ( steam or diesel ) are dead.

Ross Rowland


Sure it's possible... it may not be easy, maybe not even practical, but it's certainly possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
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Sounds like the simpler solution is to get Amtrak to rescind this edict.

Wick Moorman seems friendly to excursions, and has intimate experience with Amtrak. Does anyone have a connection to him to ask his opinion on this situation and what the best solution would be?

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Using Mr. Rowland's estimate of $200,000 per day for a $500,000,000 policy with a $100,000 deductible, I calculate an annual premium of $73,000,000. Back in 2010, I was buying freight railroad liability insurance for $18,300 per year, $3,000,000 per incident, maximum of $6,000,000 per year, $25,000 deductible. This included up to 1 passenger excursion per year.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 120
Ringling Brothers was an interesting case, and I'd love to see a full contract sometime. However, back when I was with Union Pacific, the contract was full of liability clauses, bonus and penalty payments, and other clauses that most people would never have to deal with. The company already had a large liability policy to operate in the many show sites, and there was also a policy that dealt with the passenger cars, performers and staff, and the animals.

I had one situation where during a crew change, two elephants got into a pushing match that injured one of the handlers. The time that it took to rescue the handler, provide medical treatment, assign a new handler, and make a full inspection took the train from several hours early to several hours late. This was an issue as the railroad received a bonus for an early arrival. However, because of the source of the delay, we still received it. The issue of covering the injured circus employee was clearly a circus liability as the worker was on-duty. The circus' Trainmaster certainly knew the contract better than me, and there was never an issue that the railroad faced. We wrote a report, got treatment for the handler and reloaded everyone, and then sent the train on its way.

However, look at things like a broken wheel on the circus train many years ago, what would have happened it it hit another train, etc. I am sure the policy was pretty big.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Not to be a drag, but let's face it, in terms of how we are often perceived by the public, politicians, and most unfortunately by the industry itself, we are a bunch of red-headed stepchildren. It doesn't mean this situation is impossible, but our lot is always going to be a tough one.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41381

What a stomping ground this would be, if we could get it (and the freight traffic to support it)!!

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41580


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:09 pm 
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co614 wrote:
I don't know how to say it more plainly without sounding rude. It is NOT POSSIBLE mathematically to set-up a start-up insurance pool ( or underwriter) with the financial muscle needed to provide credible liability policies in the $ 500M amount (with a small deductible) that the Class 1's would accept. There just aren't enough operations that would subscribe to the service to make the numbers work....not even remotely close.

I have to agree. I work in the industry and if the idea of "Hey, let's start our own insurance company" sounds like something right out of the Little Rascals era, that's because that's the last time anyone succeeded in doing so.
It takes a monumental amount of capital (and infrastructure) to get an insurance carrier going; even a small one. And to underwrite a passenger train on main line to the degree that Class Is and Amtrak will pay attention, you'll need something massive.
Not saying it can't be done...
...no, wait. I am.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 84
No one has suggested that anyone start their own insurance company. What is being suggested is that it is possible (not easy, cheap, fast, etc.) to have mainline passenger excursion train insurance without having Amtrak involved.

That being said... the mainline steam thing was gonna have a tough time paying for PTC as it was. Glad we have UP at least. #4449 didn't run much, neither did #3751 and even #261 has only been running mainline trips every couple years lately. So I'm not sure what we are losing here... the every so many a year trip with one of the big engines? Well maybe every so many years Amtrak will be willing to run a special when things calm down.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1021
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
No one has suggested that anyone start their own insurance company. What is being suggested is that it is possible (not easy, cheap, fast, etc.) to have mainline passenger excursion train insurance without having Amtrak involved.


Actually, I am proposing the creation of a non-profit corporation to carry out this function. If that turns out to be the best way to achieve the goal.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:48 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
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This entire edict from Amtrak is - what - a day old? And already we’re sounding the tolls of death to mainline steam. Amtrak management hasn’t responded to people yet, pressure hasn’t been fully applied yet, they could completely rescind the whole thing in an instant, and yet the doom and gloom is already filling the lungs of so many who have posted in this thread. The ink is barely dry, people - let’s let things play out for a couple of days or even weeks before hitting the panic button. Concern? Sure. Death to private varnish and mainline steam? Come on...

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
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This business of "sharing" an insurance policy is an old Internet chestnut that pops up every year or two. It simply can't be done - you can't have entities (companies, non-profits, museums, etc.) with no business or other relationship "share" a policy. There have been groups in the past who claimed to be able to do so, but they were lucky they never filed a major claim - it would have been denied. Setting up a non-profit front company wouldn't make any difference.

And even if it was possible, who would write the check up front for the annual premium? It would be well north of $1,000,000 for the type of coverage any class 1 would require.

Ringling Bros. wasn't hauling the public, so its insurance isn't the same as what a passenger carrier would hold. Nor would insurance covering rail-grinding trains from private operators apply either.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:11 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 440
Location: Winters, TX
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Last edited by Charlie on Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Special Moves and Charters Under Threat
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:23 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8597
Location: Somewhere between Baltimore, MD and Prescott, AZ
co614 wrote:
Paul I wasn't dismissing it out of hand. When we were working on the Greenbrier Express project in 2012 we got into the whole liability insurance issue in depth with both Amtrak and CSX.

Trust me,... to purchase $ 500M in general public liability coverage with a $ 100k deductible you'd be looking at an estimated premium of at least $200k for EACH day it ran. Plus, the only way that amount can be gotten is through an underwriting pool in which 6-10 underwriters share the risk including members of the Lloyds pool in London, UK.

The railroads will only accept coverage written by well established underwriters who have the wherewithal to pay off in case of a bad accident.

Again, without the Amtrak umbrella to work through special mainline excursion trains ( steam or diesel ) are finished.

Sad but true.

Ross Rowland


Boy, someone insists on being a Nattering Nabob of Negativity®.

Think positive! We don't need this constant nay-saying around here!

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