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Rocky Mountaineer in the Colorado Rockies

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Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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The problem with Rocky Mountaineer is they have some financial issues not withstanding from the pandemic. They have had a ridership issue in the last few years.

Now this stems from multiple points which I have went over before but I'll briefly recap again.

1. They have been running the same route from the 1990s on to now. While there are plenty of people who haven't ridden either of those routes it is a problem all excursion operators have. The longer you operate on one stretch of track the less likely you are to get repeat business. That is something that hurt the Virginia Museum of Transportation's last year of excursions when a lot of the trains had large amounts of empty seats. You keep running the same route you exhaust your ridership base. Now that being said I think their current routes are definitely famous and can draw ridership from around the world still.

2. They are slowly pricing the working class out of the experience. A few years ago they had the Red Leaf experience which provided some rail only trips as little as $750 if I remember correctly. I tried to verify it but the internet wayback machine isn't functioning well. But back in the early 2010s they converted a handful of the Red Leaf coaches (EX CN CC&F Day Nighters) into Silver Leaf cars which basically have the skylights like the Seaboard Airline SunLounges. At some point they decided to convert the entire fleet of Red Leaf Coaches into Silver Leaf cars and with that the price moved up to the Silver Leaf product which is a significant increase. That is causing there to be a lighter load factor as more groups are priced out of it. Rocky doesn't quite understand that a large portion of their Red Leaf market were retired baby boomers living on a fixed income. So as that ridership number went down they started to have a problem.

3. The Gold Leaf cars while they are newer than the Red/Silver Leaf CC&F coaches are from a builder that has long since gone out of business. There isn't a large part market for these speciality cars seeing only Rocky Mountaineer and the Alaska Railroad roster any significant number of these odd balls. So one thing to think about in their operations budget is how expensive it is to find custom parts.

4. The economy isn't as strong as people like to make it out to be right now, and even before the pandemic. The best way to tell is what I call the Freight Train Index, the longer the trains are, and the more frequent they are the better the economy. If the economy isn't great less people are traveling especially on a luxury product.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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The problem with Rocky Mountaineer is they have some financial issues not withstanding from the pandemic.
The new double decker railcars from stadler is one of these financial issue. Add on all the rebuilt sliver leaf railcars. Then you must wonder why are they not in major financial distress.


3. The Gold Leaf cars while they are newer than the Red/Silver Leaf CC&F coaches are from a builder that has long since gone out of business. There isn't a large part market for these speciality cars seeing only Rocky Mountaineer and the Alaska Railroad roster any significant number of these odd balls. So one thing to think about in their operations budget is how expensive it is to find custom parts.
While the older cars have been built by a company that is no longer here. The new batch of double deck is still a custom built product. Also all those new sliver leaf level of cars are custom jobs too. So maintenance is going to be maintenance.

It is what it is.

 
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Just-Thinking-51

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Back to the OP. A 25 usd deposits is not overwhelming high. Unlike that will make a dent in the big financial situation.
 

Brian Battuello

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Jul 23, 2014
Messages
109
The $25 deposit is remarkably small, to the point of being meaningless for holding a spot. The real concern would be the final payment date, which according to their web page is 60 days before departure. That's when RM will find out how many people are really coming.

Given their theft of customer deposits and payments in Canada, I wouldn't want to spend 60 days wondering if they are going to bother to run the train, especially if I have to buy other travel and hotel arrangements. I understand that the Covid situation was beyond their control, but it doesn't mean that totally unearned funds shouldn't have been immediately returned.
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
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I rean an article about this new venture.
They plan to arrive in Moab around 10 am, then turn the train around and leave that afternoon at 3 pm.

I would think it might get kind of dark in the late afternoon, at least in the winter.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Sep 24, 2011
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Nova Scotia
I rean an article about this new venture.
They plan to arrive in Moab around 10 am, then turn the train around and leave that afternoon at 3 pm.

I would think it might get kind of dark in the late afternoon, at least in the winter.
Other than trying a couple of winter trips a few years ago......at least in Canada...... Rocky has been a late Spring, Summer and Fall operation.
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
355
Other than trying a couple of winter trips a few years ago......at least in Canada...... Rocky has been a late Spring, Summer and Fall operation.
True, they are talking about March, I think.

Moab is pretty hot in the summer, but it stays pretty busy.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2016
Messages
10
The $25 deposit is remarkably small, to the point of being meaningless for holding a spot. The real concern would be the final payment date, which according to their web page is 60 days before departure. That's when RM will find out how many people are really coming.

Given their theft of customer deposits and payments in Canada, I wouldn't want to spend 60 days wondering if they are going to bother to run the train, especially if I have to buy other travel and hotel arrangements. I understand that the Covid situation was beyond their control, but it doesn't mean that totally unearned funds shouldn't have been immediately returned.
It will be interesting to see how that impacts them in the future. Across many travel related industries that awful practice appears to be normal. I've still got a few grand sitting with Air Canada to my frustration.

In any event - this route appears to be more a way for RMR to make some revenue. Canada, although quite different by Province, is highly unlikely to provide an environment where they can operate in 2021, at least without massive restrictions. The border is still closed and that's unlikely to change in the near term future. Cruises look bleak, and as others have pointed out RMR has exceeded the local economy's ability to sustain the train.

Assuming vaccine adoption is decent in Canada, and so far its tracking well, we still have an abnormal summer ahead. Our target end of vaccination period is September.
 

WWW

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If we can't fly take a train cruise to/from Canada --- bring the train to the USA !
There is superb scenery in all seasons in Colorado !
 
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