Rocky Mountaineer in the Colorado Rockies

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Northwestern

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
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162
Location
Santa Rosa
I'm not a hundred percent sure on the Gold Leaf cars to be honest. A Superliner is 16'2", and the Colorado Railcar UltraDomes are 17'4" tall. So a full foot and two inches according to my records. Now they might be able to fit. That is going to be a doozy trying to deadhead down from Canada trying to avoid low clearances.

The Silver Leaf will clear without an issue which is a former CN CC&F Coach that they converted. Originally those cars were the Red Leaf service which was the cheapest service offered till they decided that they did not want to offer the basic coach accommodations any more. So they converted a large batch over to Silver Leaf and quietly discontinued the Red Leaf product.

This expansion feels a bit half baked though. It seams to me they are going to lose some customers because no one knows what Moab, Utah is unless you google it and find out its home of Arches National Park. But they aren't including any sort of transfer from Moab to the outside world. Moab has a few shuttles that go to the outside world ran by three companies Red Rock Express, Road Runner Shuttle, and Porcupine Shuttle (Grand Junction only). And honestly all three have really crappy websites that are either lacking details or horribly laid out.

Next problem I have with their operation is that they have now launched a product and want someone to place a $25 deposit with them to reserve a spot. That I have no problem with. But when I click on a tour to get more information it goes straight to the deposit page. It doesn't tell me what days they are running, or what amenities might be included, what Gold Leaf costs. If I am going to launch a product like this I would want to have as much as information ready prior to the launch. Now Rocky Mountaineer is lucky that they have very good brand awareness and is well known. But this new project of theirs still leaves me with more questions about what they are planning to operate.

It's not been a large secret that their ridership in Canada has gone down in recent years and I think that's because they have eliminated Red Leaf service which was the cheapest service. I believe it was eliminated in the guise of expanding the Silver Leaf product which was a mid tier product between Red and Gold Leaf.

Their main market is the retiree market which can be very price conscious so I would make the assumption that the cutting of Red Leaf might be the reason ridership has gone down. And for those who would travel Gold Leaf I don't see why you would pay that price. For $1,000 more per person you can ride the Royal Canadian Pacific which has half the capacity of one the Gold Leaf cars on the entire train vs. Rocky which runs up to four or five Gold Leaf coaches in a consist. Its a more personal experience on the exact same routes, still runs daytime only like Rocky, includes off train tours of the various National Parks and cities. They also run on far more scenic lines such as Crowsnest Pass. A far better train at just about the same price, with far better service.

Couple this with the fact the Canadian border will probably be closed for a significant part of next year so there won't be any Americans or foreigners riding the train that almost exclusively markets and accommodates to foreigners. Canadians don't tend to ride the service. The people who have ridden their trains with the money to re-ride I've heard don't want to keep riding the same routes which makes sense. They might be a business in trouble in a decade. So I think they needed to open the new service in order to survive, and it makes sense why they are expanding. But it appears to be only a half baked plan.

I think a better route for them would have been Seattle-Spokane-East Glacier Park. It's closer to their maintenance base, it is equally scenic, and Amtrak runs a significant chunk after dark. When you look at their trains in Canada VIA runs along the same route Jasper-Vancouver. But VIA runs over large portions of that overnight. So the only way to have it all in daylight is Rocky Mountaineer. And the fact they could connect the two trains by keeping the Coastal Passage open.
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I agree that the Rocky Mountaineer should have considered Seattle-Spokane- East Glacier. A
much more sound idea, in my opinion. Moab is just too isolated to be a terminus for the Mountaineer. What if the Mountaineer were to go to Spokane then split. One leg going to Whitefish and East Glacier, with the other leg taking the BNSF route to Livingston, with shuttles to Yellowstone?

Richard
 

JWM

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Sarasota, Florida
I don't know if this was posted elsewhere, but before you book the "Rocky Mountaineer", be aware that, Covid-19 or not, you will not get a refund if something goes wrong. You will get a voucher for the amount you paid for a future trip period. Nothing against our Canadian friends, but under Canadian law, Covid-19 is classified as a "force majeure" for their corporations and the Rocky Mountaineer is one.
 

jis

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I should point out that VIA Rail did provide refunds without government prompting, although there were conditions specific to the type and complexity of tickets. Rocky Mountaineer should have followed their example, but probably did not have the resources to do so.
At least in their financial report all that should appear on the debit (money owed) side of the ledger and not on the credit (money earned) side of the ledger.
 
Joined
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Somewhere in Southern Ontario
I don't know if this was posted elsewhere, but before you book the "Rocky Mountaineer", be aware that, Covid-19 or not, you will not get a refund if something goes wrong. You will get a voucher for the amount you paid for a future trip period. Nothing against our Canadian friends, but under Canadian law, Covid-19 is classified as a "force majeure" for their corporations and the Rocky Mountaineer is one.
The airlines here did not give refunds until they received government bail-outs. The one airline that didn't take government money - WestJet (think Southwest Airlines of Canada) didn't give refunds for cancellations they made during Covid. I have a credit for travel with them that I'll probably never use before it expires.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,881
I found a copy of the ebrochure that you can view without giving the Rocky Mountaineer website your email address. There are no prices listed.
2022 Rocky Mountaineer Brochure
Just give them a throwaway email address. I use them by the dozens and the nice thing is you can temporarily or permanently shut down any one of them with a single click on the incoming message. Even if the place wants you to verify the email address by responding to a link, it works like a charm. Best thing is that the one I use in Firefox can fill in a new disposable address in one click.
When they start spamming or I don't want to hear from them any more, they are gone in an instant and they don't even have the name of my email provider.
 

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
378
Location
northwestern Montana
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I agree that the Rocky Mountaineer should have considered Seattle-Spokane- East Glacier. A
much more sound idea, in my opinion.

That would be a lovely run for the passengers, who presumably would disembark at East Glacier for a land tour of the national park. The whole trip from Spokane to East Glacier deserves to be seen in daylight.

But it would pose some big logistical challenges for the equipment; East Glacier's wye and private car spur are both only 4 car-lengths long, and there is no way you are going to be allowed to tie up a passing siding all day long. You would have to either run it back to the top of Marias Pass, or all the way east to Shelby, to turn it and/or store it overnight.

The logistics would be a great deal simpler to run over the ex-NP to Livingston, where there is a wye and abundant parking.

Some years ago MRL hosted a series of eoughly monthly passenger excursions over a good portion of that route. I forget the name of the tour operator.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
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I took the RM ride a few years ago. Vancouver to Banff. It was shortly after the union contract with his employees ran out. The big boss there, a guy named Armstrong, fired them all and hired non-union people. The former employees were still picketing when I rode his train. I am aware of three separate couples who cancelled reservations and were unable to get their money back. only credit for a future trip. My impression of the two-day ride: very expensive for a so-so experience. The people who really liked it were folks who had never been on a train before and had never seen serious mountains. Save your money. Not a good organization.
 

peteypablo

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Messages
66
I don't think it would work as a station for the Mountaineer. A scenic short excursion train might work. Maybe they could open it to tourists not on the Mountaineer.

Here is the Google map location of the 'old train depot'

View attachment 26702

The interior 360 view shows the structure has good bones, but very old bones.

I think my dad told me that was just a place where the railroad once stored explosives.
 

Seaboard92

Engineer
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Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,665
Location
South Carolina
That would be a lovely run for the passengers, who presumably would disembark at East Glacier for a land tour of the national park. The whole trip from Spokane to East Glacier deserves to be seen in daylight.

But it would pose some big logistical challenges for the equipment; East Glacier's wye and private car spur are both only 4 car-lengths long, and there is no way you are going to be allowed to tie up a passing siding all day long. You would have to either run it back to the top of Marias Pass, or all the way east to Shelby, to turn it and/or store it overnight.

The logistics would be a great deal simpler to run over the ex-NP to Livingston, where there is a wye and abundant parking.

Some years ago MRL hosted a series of eoughly monthly passenger excursions over a good portion of that route. I forget the name of the tour operator.

That wouldn't be unheard of for them. Rocky Mountaineer actually runs all the way into Calgary as of right now on the CP. The passengers all detrain at Lake Louise and Banff, the crew gets off at Canmore, but the consist runs all the way to the CP Yard in Calgary.
 

Northwestern

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Santa Rosa
Although now defunct, I wonder if anyone ever rode the Rocky Mountaineer- Vancouver to Whistler run, which was called the "Whistler Mountaineer". Whistler village was fun but it didn't have the nearby vistas and recreation possibilities (other than Whistler Blackcomb for sking) as does Jasper and Calgary. The train trip up to Whistler was interesting, especially the little town of Squamish.

Richard
 

Northwestern

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Santa Rosa
Thanks for posting the video. Jeb Brooks does a great job! However, and I don't want to sound too negative, compared to the Canadian RM trains I've been on, I wasn't impressed by the Denver to Moab excursion. Brooks said the trip ran $ 1870 per person. For a comparison, the Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver to Banff train, Silverleaf level, is only about $ 600 more. From what I can tell, after watching the video, the onboard experience, food, and overnight accommodations seem to be a few cuts below the RM Canadian trains. I think I would rather take the Amtrak CZ and still experience that great scenery.
 

WWW

No real RR Job
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MSP
RM has two levels of service on the Canadian trips - Gold and Silver Leaf - The Gold Leaf service is in the double decker cars much more
of improvement over the Amtrak Superliner Sightseeing Lounge cars. The Gold Leaf of course is more expensive.
The RM Colorado Utah Moab service is Silver Leaf only (no double decker cars as pointed out tunnel restrictions) there is a PLUS Silver Leaf
service a higher cost better meal and beverage service (dedicated cars).

And Summa cum Laude for the Jeb Brooks YouTube video USA's NEWEST TRAIN * * * * * !
 

Northwestern

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
162
Location
Santa Rosa
RM has two levels of service on the Canadian trips - Gold and Silver Leaf - The Gold Leaf service is in the double decker cars much more
of improvement over the Amtrak Superliner Sightseeing Lounge cars. The Gold Leaf of course is more expensive.
The RM Colorado Utah Moab service is Silver Leaf only (no double decker cars as pointed out tunnel restrictions) there is a PLUS Silver Leaf
service a higher cost better meal and beverage service (dedicated cars).

And Summa cum Laude for the Jeb Brooks YouTube video USA's NEWEST TRAIN * * * * * !
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Dittos on Jeb Brooks.

Even though Jeb had SilverLeaf Plus, I still wasn't impressed by the food and lounge car. I don't understand why the Mountaineer can't provide the GoldLeaf level, with a dome car and dining car below, for Denver to Moab. Very expensive but, at least to me. worth it. When I first took the Mountaineer from Vancouver to Jasper, It offered GoldLeaf, SilverLeaf, and RedLeaf. I can't remember, but I think even the SilverLeaf package offered premium hotels for overnight, such as the Jasper Park Lodge. This was a number of years ago.

I hope Jeb will do a travelogue on the Coast Starlight from LA to Seattle.
 

WWW

No real RR Job
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
509
Location
MSP
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Dittos on Jeb Brooks.

Even though Jeb had SilverLeaf Plus, I still wasn't impressed by the food and lounge car. I don't understand why the Mountaineer can't provide the GoldLeaf level, with a dome car and dining car below, for Denver to Moab. Very expensive but, at least to me. worth it. When I first took the Mountaineer from Vancouver to Jasper, It offered GoldLeaf, SilverLeaf, and RedLeaf. I can't remember, but I think even the SilverLeaf package offered premium hotels for overnight, such as the Jasper Park Lodge. This was a number of years ago.

I hope Jeb will do a travelogue on the Coast Starlight from LA to Seattle.
I don't understand why the Mountaineer can't provide the GoldLeaf level, with a dome car and dining car below, for Denver to Moab.

It is reported in the video that there are tunnel restrictions on overheight cars - The RM Gold Leaf and the Alaska RR Gold Star cars are in the
class/zone - think of seeing the CZ sightseeing car next to one of these almost triple height cars and you would be able to see the difference !
Inside these RM and AK RR cars you could wear a Lincoln top hat and not touch the ceiling and the same topside in the glass dome.

You would have to ride these cars to see the remarkable difference in height.

Also note the meal service the RM Colorado/Utah service the meals are served at your seating - while the Gold Leaf (Star AK RR) you go to
a diner on the lower level for your food service - beverage service on both level.

The pricing of the fares is based on the level of service - remember that meals and beverages are included with RM service no matter what
level is chosen and the overnight hotel accommodations either in the USA or Canada trains. Note that your luggage/baggage is handled
from the time of origin to destination - you only take a small carry on with necessities (meds camera gear ID $).
 

Shanson

Train Attendant
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Sep 17, 2021
Messages
65
Location
Austin TX
Although now defunct, I wonder if anyone ever rode the Rocky Mountaineer- Vancouver to Whistler run, which was called the "Whistler Mountaineer". Whistler village was fun but it didn't have the nearby vistas and recreation possibilities (other than Whistler Blackcomb for sking) as does Jasper and Calgary. The train trip up to Whistler was interesting, especially the little town of Squamish.

Richard
One can still visit Whistler (and Quesnel) on Rocky Mountaineer. It's called "Rain Forest to Gold Rush." And it's part of this circle tour:
 
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