Rocky Mountaineer Comes To Colorado, Utah, and the Union Pacific

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Rocky Mountaineer Comes To Colorado, Utah, and the Union Pacific
Posted by GeoPRR on Thursday, November 19, 2020 2:18 PM

A newswire story today reports that Rocky Mountaineer will run its excursion trains in 2021 on a route from Denver to Moab, Utah.  Questions come to mind:  Wouldn't their power have to be made compatible with UP PTC?  Or is there some exemption, as was the case with 4014?  Isn't it interesting that UP would even allow this?  Isn't Moab about 35-40 miles down a branch off the former D&RGW mainline, where UP has been hauling uranium mine tailings for safe disposal?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, November 19, 2020 2:41 PM

As usual, the provided link is worthless.  Go here instead:

https://www.rockymountaineer.com/train-routes/rockies-red-rocks

Discussion of the route in their blog, as mentioned:

https://www.rockymountaineer.com/blog/introducing-our-new-route-rockies-red-rocks

Sad to have to do the journalists' job for them, but I guess that's just the way they roll.

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 19, 2020 2:56 PM

Interesting, single level cars only, no open platform.....Silver Leaf Service only.    I don't think that is a clearence issue on UP I suspect they do not have enough of the bi-level cars available or they do not want to move them to Colorado in case the response is disappointing.

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 3:00 PM

A while back, Amtrak said no more open platforms or windows, even on private cars.

I know this train is not part of Amtrak, but is there some sort of rule on U.S. rail lines that would not allow the open platforms?

York1 John       

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 19, 2020 3:03 PM

York1
I know this train is not part of Amtrak, but is there some sort of rule on U.S. rail lines that would not allow the open platforms?

My bad they mention a small open platform and a new lounge car for "Silver Leaf Plus" passengers in the longer description.   Sounds like they have a platform obs car that is a lounge.   We'll see in the summer.     I don't think they offered Silver Leaf Plus before.    Lounge car sounds like mixed drinks throughout the trip via a trained bartender, which Amtrak won't touch and will be a huge money maker.

$1200 is fairly cheap in my view for what your getting with the package.

Would be really nice if they restored the Milwaukee Road Skytop Obs Coffee Creek that is sitting in a shed out there in Alamosa, that would be a nice lounge car and would get them better reviews.....me thinks.

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Posted by GeoPRR on Thursday, November 19, 2020 3:16 PM

York 1 - No such rule.  Amtrak, in its imperial ignorance, makes it own rules.  UP, of course, runs its own open-platform business cars on its own trains.  If this were running as an Amtrak Special Train, which is not permitted these days except for Joe Biden, then their rules would apply. This is a contracted service between a private enterprise and UP.  Whatever commitments RM has with the Canadian carriers (insurance, safety, mechanical) must be good enough here.  Must be lotsa profit for UP to do this, methinks.  Wonder if a UP unit will lead the RM units.  That might answer the PTC question. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, November 19, 2020 4:52 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
York1
I know this train is not part of Amtrak, but is there some sort of rule on U.S. rail lines that would not allow the open platforms?

 

My bad they mention a small open platform and a new lounge car for "Silver Leaf Plus" passengers in the longer description.   Sounds like they have a platform obs car that is a lounge.   We'll see in the summer.     I don't think they offered Silver Leaf Plus before.    Lounge car sounds like mixed drinks throughout the trip via a trained bartender, which Amtrak won't touch and will be a huge money maker.

$1200 is fairly cheap in my view for what your getting with the package.

Would be really nice if they restored the Milwaukee Road Skytop Obs Coffee Creek that is sitting in a shed out there in Alamosa, that would be a nice lounge car and would get them better reviews.....me thinks.

 

"Starting at $1250"  

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Thursday, November 19, 2020 7:19 PM
 

GeoPRR

Isn't it interesting that UP would even allow this?  

 
Not really as the Moffat Line is down to only a few trains a day. Plenty of capacity on the line.
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Friday, November 20, 2020 12:19 AM

From the blurb, "Make sure you keep your camera near by as we travel along the Colorado River through a series of picturesque canyons,"

And all the rafters MOONING the train.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 20, 2020 2:51 AM

SD60MAC9500
Not really as the Moffat Line is down to only a few trains a day. Plenty of capacity on the line.

Wasn't the Rio Grande Pacific also offering a daily passenger train as an incentive for folks to appove their line?

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:37 AM
 

CMStPnP

 

 
SD60MAC9500
Not really as the Moffat Line is down to only a few trains a day. Plenty of capacity on the line.

 

Wasn't the Rio Grande Pacific also offering a daily passenger train as an incentive for folks to appove their line?

 

You're thinking of Colorado Pacific which wants to reactivate the Tennessee Pass route. They added pass service to their latest proposal as way to try and gain support for their cause. Though you do bring up a tidbit.. RGP if they do end up getting the Tenn Pass route. Don't be too surprised if UP eventually offers them the rest of the entire ex-DRGW. As RGP already operates former DRGW trackage in the state.

 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 20, 2020 11:49 AM

SD60MAC9500
You're thinking of Colorado Pacific which wants to reactivate the Tennessee Pass route. They added pass service to their latest proposal as way to try and gain support for their cause. Though you do bring up a tidbit.. RGP if they do end up getting the Tenn Pass route. Don't be too surprised if UP eventually offers them the rest of the entire ex-DRGW. As RGP already operates former DRGW trackage in the state.  

Wow that might really send some of the readers of these forums through the roof if we ended up with competing privately run Long Distance trains in Colorado, that turned a profit,  wonder what the rebuttal would be there.   

CMSTPnP was right all along?......it's not that the long distance train concept itself is unprofitable, it's that Amtrak does not attract enough passengers or market position it enough to make it profitable.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, November 20, 2020 1:43 PM

CMStPnP

CMSTPnP was right all along?......it's not that the long distance train concept itself is unprofitable, it's that Amtrak does not attract enough passengers or market position it enough to make it profitable.

Don't pay yourself on the back yet, this could turn out like RMR's Seattle route.

Long-distance trains are like ocean liners, RMR is a cruise ship.  

As a private company, RMR is able to cherry pick the choicest and most scenic routes to run its trains on, unlike Amtrak or VIA.  And they operate few, if any trains during the off-peak (winter) season.  

RMR also does not operate overnight, and has never operated any sleeping cars.  Passengers sleep in hotels in Kamloops, Vancouver, or Quesnel on their current multi-day trips.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by GeoPRR on Friday, November 20, 2020 5:04 PM

SD70Dude - Yes, you are an Articulate Malcontent. If we were casting for a performance of "A Christmas Carol," I know what character you would audition for.  I, for one, am delighted to see another non-Amtrak, private company, endeavoring to run passenger trains on US rails.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, November 20, 2020 6:08 PM

I'm more suited to Tiny Tim.

But you didn't disprove anything that I said. 

Don't get me wrong, I think this is an interesting proposal and if RMR can't make this work, then no one can.  As we all know they have done very well operating their routes between Vancouver, Banff and Jasper over the past 30 years.  

But their business model does not work everywhere, or year-round.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, November 20, 2020 9:48 PM

GeoPRR

SD70Dude - Yes, you are an Articulate Malcontent. If we were casting for a performance of "A Christmas Carol," I know what character you would audition for.  I, for one, am delighted to see another non-Amtrak, private company, endeavoring to run passenger trains on US rails.

 

About a dozen private operators have tried to run tour trains in the US, and all the previous ones have failed.  We will have to see how Brightline does once they build out.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, November 21, 2020 2:59 AM

SD70Dude
Don't pay yourself on the back yet, this could turn out like RMR's Seattle route.

I never understood the whole Seattle to Vancouver thing, I mean those folks were all happy on a Talgo for Pete's sake, noway were they going to fork over money for a comfortable or safer trip.   RMR could have done that route with lawn chairs bolted on a TTX car.

Anyways, we'll see how RMR does.   I think Colorado will be less of a spend thrift market and they will do better there.     I agree they can cherry pick routes and yes scenary does help but sometimes the draw is just riding a LD train and getting decent service with a convient schedule and an overall pleasant experience.    Someone will prove that sooner or later I am fairly confident.

If you ever rode the RGZ on the route, the lounge car with a bartender is a good idea.

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, November 21, 2020 3:05 AM

GeoPRR
Must be lotsa profit for UP to do this, methinks.  Wonder if a UP unit will lead the RM units.  That might answer the PTC question. 

PTC systems have interoperability.  I think everyone pretty much uses the wabtec I-ETMS stuff, anyhow. (That's what the "I" in I-ETMS is for)

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, November 21, 2020 3:08 AM

MidlandMike
About a dozen private operators have tried to run tour trains in the US, and all the previous ones have failed.  We will have to see how Brightline does once they build out.

I'm sure this one will be different and succeed - esp in this current pandemic which shows no sign of letting up.  (/sarcasm)

 

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Saturday, November 21, 2020 7:25 AM
 

CMStPnP

 

 
SD60MAC9500
You're thinking of Colorado Pacific which wants to reactivate the Tennessee Pass route. They added pass service to their latest proposal as way to try and gain support for their cause. Though you do bring up a tidbit.. RGP if they do end up getting the Tenn Pass route. Don't be too surprised if UP eventually offers them the rest of the entire ex-DRGW. As RGP already operates former DRGW trackage in the state.  

 

Wow that might really send some of the readers of these forums through the roof if we ended up with competing privately run Long Distance trains in Colorado, that turned a profit,  wonder what the rebuttal would be there.   

CMSTPnP was right all along?......it's not that the long distance train concept itself is unprofitable, it's that Amtrak does not attract enough passengers or market position it enough to make it profitable.

 

The only issue this is not scheduled passenger service. If the states of Colorado, and Utah were to pursue a daily service between DEN-SLC. It would require a state subsidy. RGP does operate excursions on it's current lines. If they were to become the future owner of the Moffat Line such scheduled service might be feasible.

One thing I would like to see RMR try are seasonal ski trains. Maybe they can call it the Snow Trekker. It would operate 2-3RT/WK Denver-SLC. With stops for skiers at Winter Park, Glenwood Springs, ending at the Wasatch Range for it's world class skiing. They could use the existing AMTK SLC facility. Using a shuttle transporting skiers to places such as Park City. Once the season is over for Red Rocks. Switch over to operating the Ski trains to bring in additional revenue. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, November 21, 2020 11:01 PM

SD60MAC9500
One thing I would like to see RMR try are seasonal ski trains. Maybe they can call it the Snow Trekker. It would operate 2-3RT/WK Denver-SLC. With stops for skiers at Winter Park, Glenwood Springs, ending at the Wasatch Range for it's world class skiing. They could use the existing AMTK SLC facility. Using a shuttle transporting skiers to places such as Park City. Once the season is over for Red Rocks. Switch over to operating the Ski trains to bring in additional revenue. 

Winter Park is good, as shown by the recent ski train.  It's great for day skiers from Denver, but most multi day skiers take ATK's Zephyr.  Glenwood would be impossible for day trippers, since the shuttle would arrive at Aspen as the ski lifts close.  Again people on a ski week can take ATK, without change of trains along with your luggage and ski equipment.  At SLC you can fly in and be at the ski areas within 45 minutes of the airport.  Note: I have skied at all these areas, and taken the Zephyr 3 times, but never on the same trip.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, November 22, 2020 4:40 PM

FWIW, my wife was intrigued by this service when she ran across a description on Apple News a couple of days ago. Start of service seems right as a good portion of the market for this service will have had access to at least one of the COVID vaccines.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, November 23, 2020 9:31 AM
 

CMStPnP

Interesting, single level cars only, no open platform.....Silver Leaf Service only.    I don't think that is a clearence issue on UP I suspect they do not have enough of the bi-level cars available or they do not want to move them to Colorado in case the response is disappointing.

 

I figured clearance was the issue. Superliners are Plate F. RMR Bi-Levels are Plate F+

 

 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, November 23, 2020 11:04 AM

SD60MAC9500
 I figured clearance was the issue. Superliners are Plate F. RMR Bi-Levels are Plate F+ 

According to Bob Johnston’s News posting for November 23rd, the proposed Rocky Mountaineer Denver to Moab, Utah train, “won’t offer the bilevel GoldLeaf domes .......... That’s because those cars, ......., are taller than Amtrak’s Superliners and won’t clear all 28 tunnels on the former Denver & Rio Grande Western route.”
 
Once the pandemic is under control; I am going to sign up for the ride.  I have made three trips on the CZ between Denver and Emeryville, i.e. two westbound and one eastbound.  The scenery is breath taking.  One of the best trips was in the winter.  The snow turns the countryside into a winter wonderland.  
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Posted by runnerdude48 on Monday, November 23, 2020 2:41 PM

I think I'm going to sign up for this too if the virus is under control. Beautiful scenery and much more relaxing than Amtrak. Probably a better class of people also.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, November 23, 2020 7:21 PM
 

JPS1

 

 
SD60MAC9500
 I figured clearance was the issue. Superliners are Plate F. RMR Bi-Levels are Plate F+ 

 

According to Bob Johnston’s News posting for November 23rd, the proposed Rocky Mountaineer Denver to Moab, Utah train, “won’t offer the bilevel GoldLeaf domes .......... That’s because those cars, ......., are taller than Amtrak’s Superliners and won’t clear all 28 tunnels on the former Denver & Rio Grande Western route.”
 
Once the pandemic is under control; I am going to sign up for the ride.  I have made three trips on the CZ between Denver and Emeryville, i.e. two westbound and one eastbound.  The scenery is breath taking.  One of the best trips was in the winter.  The snow turns the countryside into a winter wonderland.  
 

Agreed! I'm thinking the same too JPS1. I love the Intermountian West region of this country. 

 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!

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