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 Post subject: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Glad to continue what has become a holiday tradition in recent years. I'd like to invite any fellow RyPN members who would like to join me for a steam cab ride on Baldwin 2-8-0 #40 to make a reservation on one of my steam duty days ( 12/17, 12/18, 12/19, 12/20 and 12/23) by going to www.newhoperailroad.com and follow the prompts.

New this season will be a new passing siding called Deer Park about halfway between New Hope and Lahaska. This siding will permit us to operate 3 train sets on 30 minute headways ( 2 diesel ( North Pole Express) and 1 steam ( Santa's Steam Spectacular) on weekends when we often sell out. It will require all trains to strictly adhere to a 59 minute round trip which will keep everyone on their toes. Northbound & Southbound trains will pass at Deer Park. I'm pleased to report that the steam version holds its own against the diesel versions even with an approximate 15 % fare premium.

My early best wishes to all for a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, rewarding 2020.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 606
Location: Byers, Colorado
Thank you very kindly, Mr. Rowland, and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours. It's too bad I live way too far away to accept your kind invitation, but I'd like for you to know how much I appreciate it. Hoping you have a Happy New Year as well, and as always,

Take Care & WORK SAFE

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Sammy KIng


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 95
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Thanks Ross, like Sammy I'd love to ride with you folks, but Phoenix is a bit too far to drive. However, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and a safe New Year too! Ned.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
I'm pleased to report that our first weekend of running 3 trains ( 2 diesel, 1 steam) on 30 minute head ways out of New Hope ( passing each other at the new Deer Park siding) went exceedingly well.

I'm also pleased that the steam version continues to sell very well despite its approx. 15% premium fares and that bodes well for steams future on the NH&I RR.

I'm looking forward to meeting in person the 6 RyPNers who have made cab ride reservations to ride with me on # 40.

Best wishes to all for a great Christmas and a healthy, rewarding 2020.

Thanks, Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 15
co614 wrote:
I'm pleased to report that our first weekend of running 3 trains ( 2 diesel, 1 steam) on 30 minute head ways out of New Hope ( passing each other at the new Deer Park siding) went exceedingly well.

I'm also pleased that the steam version continues to sell very well despite its approx. 15% premium fares and that bodes well for steams future on the NH&I RR.

I'm looking forward to meeting in person the 6 RyPNers who have made cab ride reservations to ride with me on # 40.

Best wishes to all for a great Christmas and a healthy, rewarding 2020.

Thanks, Ross Rowland


Ross,

Seeing as your the official spokesperson for the New Hope Railroad, one can't help but notice that it costs a family of four approximately $300 plus tax (tack on another $25 for parking) for standard coach behind a steam locomotive at NHRR. However, one can spend approximately $132 plus tax (free parking) to ride first class on "Santa's Paradise Express" at Strasburg? The duration of both operations are identical and the experience/equipment is comparable. Even a trip behind a NHRR diesel in coach during "off-peak dates" nets $200 plus tax.

A resident of New Hope could travel to Lancaster, ride the train at Strasburg twice and return home and still spend less (fuel and tolls included) than taking one trip behind 40. I'm glad NHRR has decent ridership, but IMO those prices seem a tad greedy. Hope it pans out well for them in the future!

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:36 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Bucks County and West Chester, PA
For what it's worth, while I'm certain both railroads also receive a large number of tourists from outside the area, New Hope has a median family income of $195,013, while Strasburg borough's is $56,829. So perhaps a "typical" resident of New Hope may not object to NHRR's pricing, or see the value in traveling to Strasburg over the convenience of the NHRR.

In general, from my experiences living relatively close to New Hope, I would say the railroad's prices are likely a result of taking full advantage of the deeper pockets of potential customers. Conversely, based on photos and videos, they seem to have had much lower turnout for their summer specials out of Lansdale, which has a median income comparable to Strasburg.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:02 pm 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 736
Location: Bucks County, PA
Tyler H. wrote:
Conversely, based on photos and videos, they seem to have had much lower turnout for their summer specials out of Lansdale, which has a median income comparable to Strasburg.


Part of the issue with the Lansdale trips, especially the Founder's Day weekend trips, was that those trips were originally advertised to be behind #40. However, on one of her prior outings a month or so earlier, the engine had a mechanical issue and was placed OOS. The RR waited and waited as long as they could for a replacement part to be made, but it did not arrive in time for them to comfortably continue advertising steam power for those trips. So they offered refunds or tickets to future steam trips for those who had already bought tickets (myself included). From there, they advertised the trips as diesel-powered, but attendance was presumably low.

On the flip side, for the North Wales 150th anniversary trips in May, the train was heavily advertised for steam, and #40 was confirmed to go. Tickets sold out extremely quickly for all trips that day, and the trips were a huge success.

I have a feeling that had #40 not had the mechanical issue, and steam had been heavily advertised again, the Lansdale trips would have had no problem selling well.

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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:36 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Bucks County and West Chester, PA
Fair point, I had seen that the North Wales trip did well, but was not aware refunds were being offered on the Lansdale trips due to the issues with #40. Good on the railroad for doing so. My main point stands.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:27 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Several points;

1. I am not a spokesman for the New Hope railroad but rather just a very part time hogger. I am not authorized to speak for the Company and am only sharing my take on very publicly available information.

2. As to the fares. I agree that the fares NH gets are rich indeed, but the railroad has been at this for years and has learned what the market will respond positively to. The proof is in the pudding. Part of the answer is that NH has done a great job marketing their Santa season trains via social media and on a very well done website.
Nearly all successful tourist railways are successful by being parasites to their surrounding host locations. New Hope, Pa. ( and sister town across the Delaware River, Lambertville, NJ ) are major tourist towns loaded with novelty shops, arts & craft shops, tons of restaurants, dozens of antique shops etc., and the railroad gets many of its riders from folks who come to New Hope to play tourist, hear the whistle and decide to take a train ride. New Hope & Lambertville are only 35 miles from Philadelphia.
The Strasburg RR enjoys being in Lancaster County, Pa. well known for its horse and buggy Amish residents.
The Grand Canyon RR succeeds taking folks to its namesake.
Etc., etc. etc.

3. As is the case in real estate the 3 critical ingredients needed for success are 1. location, 2. location, 3. location.

4. Even with good location it takes good management, a good product and aggressive professional marketing to produce maximum results. A prime time real world example is the contrast between the NH RR and the BR&W RR less than 20 miles apart. My WAG is that the NH RR carries 7-10 times as many Santa season riders as does the BR&W and at substantially higher fares. That's for sure the proof in the pudding.

Important to always remember that all tourist railways are in the entertainment business and competing for the consumers discretionary entertainment dollar vs. all the other venues vying for that patronage. Those that succeed clearly know this and have created a product that meets the test of time.

Best wishes for a great Christmas and a healthy, steam filled 2020. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:08 am 

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 pm
Posts: 736
Location: Bucks County, PA
co614 wrote:
A prime time real world example is the contrast between the NH RR and the BR&W RR less than 20 miles apart. My WAG is that the NH RR carries 7-10 times as many Santa season riders as does the BR&W and at substantially higher fares. That's for sure the proof in the pudding.


To be fair, New Hope also runs trains on a nearly daily basis throughout the Christmas season, and now can run three trains at half-hour intervals. Black River runs weekend trains, but they do sell extremely well, often completely sold out. So it’s natural that New Hope will end up carrying more riders thanks to scheduling and capacity.

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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 528
Black River has a great location, they are 2 totally different operations. Black River has a limited operating schedule because they are mostly volunteers. They are a non-profit while New Hope and Strasburg are both for profit.


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5707
Location: southeastern USA
Nonprofit is a legal standing, not a business plan. If BRW can fill trains on weekdays at prices that will leave more in the bank than paying hired crew to fill out the schedule, they are missing out. Nonprofits not only can but should bring in more than they spend to increase supporting their mission with better programming.

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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 885
Location: NJ
I'm not so sure I can agree with co614's assessment of things going reasonably well, at least as far as last Sunday went. Maybe from an operational standpoint, but in terms of ridership?

My wife and I were trackside and watched three consecutive trains, starting with the 4:00 departure behind 40. We could not see how full the streamlined car on the head pin was, but it looked like there were lots of empty seats in the RDG parlor, and the RDG MU was empty.

The second train, diesel powered, looked like it had similar ridership in the RDG parlor, but the trailing two coaches looked empty as well. The third diesel train also had only a partial load in it's RDG parlor, and the trailing coach was empty, except for Santa and his helper.

Is this a matter of pricing? Or was it the weather? I suspect the former, as the museum line I volunteer with, 170 miles to the Northeast, had relatively few no-shows; like NHIR our tickets are sold in advance.

EDM
Just Saying, NJ


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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 603
Location: New Franklin, OH
In my experience, when we had local trackside events where you purchase your tickets at the event as well as online, in the late afternoon is when the crowds start to die down. When we ran Santa trains during the day, the last runs had empty seats though the earlier ones were pretty much sold out. You’re getting close to dinner time at 4PM. Hungry kids are cranky kids. That could explain it. If you run on into the late evening, I bet the crowds pick up again.

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Orrville Railroad Heritage Society
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 Post subject: Re: Early Christmas Invite
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5681
Our museum runs three Saturday Santa trains; at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. All trains diesel powered with operations on December 7th, 14th and 21st. Cost of the trains is $3 over the regular scheduled fares for each classification (Adults, Youth, Child).

Les Beckman,
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum,
North Judson, Indiana


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