Rocky Mountaineer in the Colorado Rockies

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Seaboard92

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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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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

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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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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

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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.
 

TheMalahat

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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 !
 

WWW

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Going back to the RM website it is up and running for bookings starting in August until October.
6 different tour travel options - spoiler alert - 2 days on the RM and 5-6 days on a motor coach (aka THE BUS)
Even the Amtrak Zephyr doesn't go up dead end canyons and traverse the National Parks & Monuments like the BUS can do
Some meals some lodgings some of this some of that - - -
It appears that RM is only offering Silver Leaf cars service - no bi-level Gold Leaf - - -
But this beats being quarantined in baggage car !
Did not pursue any Covid Virus vaccination restrictions in browsing - probably comes out in the booking stage.
No mail out information - all by internet download.

Going to check further with my AAA travel agent who has hosted the Canadian trips in the years past.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Did not have any issue take a bus tour of the Grand Canyon, after take the train to the Grand Canyon. Not sure I will sign up for a multiple day bus ride.

As for a Covid-19 requirements, one think a service starting in August, could easily have one. If there a commonly requirement for one. The card my parents receive, it was implied that it might be use as travel card one of these days.
 
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me_little_me

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Going back to the RM website it is up and running for bookings starting in August until October.
6 different tour travel options - spoiler alert - 2 days on the RM and 5-6 days on a motor coach (aka THE BUS)
Ugh! Long 4+ hour bus ride.

As an alternative, one could take the train to Moab (2 day, 1 night for $1200+) then rent a car and see the sights in the area and skip Salt Lake City or Vegas. Then possibly take the train back or one-way rental to Glenwood Springs or SLC and catch the Zephyr or car to Vegas and fly home from there.
 

flitcraft

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Ugh! Long 4+ hour bus ride. As an alternative, one could take the train to Moab (2 day, 1 night for $1200+) then rent a car and see the sights in the area and skip Salt Lake City or Vegas. Then possibly take the train back or one-way rental to Glenwood Springs or SLC and catch the Zephyr or car to Vegas and fly home from there.
Yeah, long bus rides don't sound like the luxury tour that Rocky Mountaineer promises. Though, I suspect that the busses will be more luxe than a Greyhound would be. And, thinking about it, I might prefer a comfortable bus where I was free to sit back and take all the pictures I wanted to in preference to having to drive myself. Hmmm...well, it is only a theoretical choice, since I don't see myself forking out for the RM regardless.
 

jiml

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Just out of curiosity, how are their accommodations?
The key difference is single-level traditional cars vs. bi-level "Sightseer" style cars, as detailed above. Food has been included with both since they discontinued their basic service some years ago. There is no sleeping or private accommodation offered in any class. I believe in 2021 they are only offering Silver class.
 

me_little_me

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Just out of curiosity, how are their accommodations?
You mean sleeping accommodations? There are none. It is basically a luxury daytime tourist train for the well off.They include nighttime accommodations at hotels along their routes.
 

WWW

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You mean sleeping accommodations? There are none. It is basically a luxury daytime tourist train for the well off.They include nighttime accommodations at hotels along their routes.
As noted a luxury daytime (scenic) tourist train with meals beverages (breakfast & lunch included # dinner your own dime)
hotels at enroute stops (origin and destination hotels on your own) taxi-limo-motor coach to from hotel luggage transfers.
*** some prebooking deals but none yet on the RM USA trips.
From what I have looked at there are no bi-level dome cars (Gold Leaf service) only single level Silver Leaf service.

The rail portion is a a two day event each way - additional days are by motor coach (BUS)
Fares are based on one-way trips

For more info go on line - contact RM or perhaps one of the travel agencies used by the RM i.e. AAA

LINK: Home (rockymountaineer.com)

Click on FAQ for more details

AND YES this is an expensive rail trip not necessarily for the well off but those that can pay the fare -
BUT don't mention any of this to Amtrak ! LOL !
 
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