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 Post subject: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:05 pm
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It has been announced that the Mount Rainier Scenic RR has stopped all passenger service until August. The reason given are the fires in Colorado which effect the owners other road the Durango & Silverton.


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1941
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Can someone explain to me how any business model could possibly involve shutting down operations for someone several states away (and really not in any major fire danger, unlike last year), based only on a large fire effecting a totally different operation run by the same parent company?
Under this mindset, wouldn't it just save them all the operating money if they just never ran trains again anywhere?

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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:53 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
To wantonly speculate based on your rather good question:

Is it at all possible that the company's railroad liability insurance just got abruptly cancelled?

How dry has it been up there?

What other RR operations does the company own/operate, if any?


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2488
My personal opinion, based purely on the press release, and not, in any manner, speaking for the company, is that it is a financial decision, rather than a fire danger risk (MRRR only has oil burners and fire risk is normal for this time of year) or an insurance issue.

Quote:
American Heritage Railways Suspends Passenger Service at Mt. Rainier Railroad Through August 3
Historic Scenic Railroad Near Mount Rainier National Park to Resume Service in Late Summer with Family-Friendly Special Events and Experiential Tasting Excursions Featuring Notable Washington Wineries, Breweries, and Cideries


DURANGO, Colo. - June 7, 2018 - PRLog -- American Heritage Railways, Inc. (http://www.americanheritagerailways.com/)(AHR), the country's premier scenic tourist rail operator, the industry expert in rail-related special event management, and the parent company of the Mt. Rainier Railroad and Logging Museum (MRRR)™ (https://mtrainierrailroad.com/) and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGRR)™ (http://www.durangotrain.com/), today announced it is suspending all MRRR passenger service and special events through August 3, 2018, due to the long-term operational and financial impact posed by the current 416 Fire in Durango on the D&SNGRR's overall business. Additionally, the inaugural Train to Table event scheduled for Friday evenings in August has been canceled for this year. The MRRR's Logging Museum in Mineral, Wash. will remain open limited hours during this time.

All guests whose train excursions are canceled as a result of this decision will receive full, immediate and automatic ticket refunds. Ticket holders should allow 7-10 business days for their refunds to be processed and appear on their credit card statements.

Located in Elbe, Wash., the MRRR will resume passenger service in early August to accommodate families still traveling on summer vacation and other guests interested in the railroad's rich logging and pioneering histories. In addition to conserving financial and human resources, the MRRR will also utilize the next several months to plan, execute, and promote its highly-anticipated slate of popular fall special events, including PEANUTS™ The Great Pumpkin Patch Express, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, and three adults-only affairs for cider, craft beer, and wine connoisseurs: Hard Cider Express, Washington Wine Express, and Rails to Ales: The Oktoberfest Express. The MRRR's 2018 fall schedule and special events calendar can be found at http://mtrainierrailroad.com/train-excu ... ial-events.

"We remain fully committed to the long-term vibrancy and sustainability of the MRRR, and to providing Pacific Northwest travelers with a unique, enjoyable, and affordable family-friendly travel experience that combines the state's fascinating pioneering and logging histories with the unparalleled beauty of the Cascade forests," said Allen C. Harper, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of American Heritage Railways. "While this was a difficult decision to make, we strongly believe the MRRR will emerge from this service hiatus as a more robust and improved historic scenic railroad that is strongly positioned for ongoing growth and development. In fact, we are currently assessing several ambitious short- and long-range expansion plans for the MRRR which will create more exhilarating guest experiences for passengers of all ages."

Today's announcement follows yesterday's D&SNGRR's extended suspension of its coal-fired steam train steam passenger service through at least Sun., June 17, after extensive consultation with local authorities and agencies regarding their progress in containing the 416 Fire and the status of current fire, drought and weather conditions. Additionally, the railroad canceled the 2018 edition of its popular family-oriented dinosaur train experience, The T-REX Express, originally scheduled for the weekends of June 16-17 and June 23-24.

"Given the severity of the 416 Fire, and the projected effects of this tragic fire on the Durango community and American Heritage Railways' multi-faceted business portfolio, we are carefully auditing all corporate assets at this time to determine where constructive changes in strategy, operations, and cash flow can be made," added Harper. "It is our sincere hope this thorough evaluation will not lead to more challenging decisions, but rather reveal opportunities which the corporation can leverage to make each property as healthy and viable as possible for the future."


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2488
p51 wrote:
Can someone explain to me how any business model could possibly involve shutting down operations for someone several states away (and really not in any major fire danger, unlike last year), based only on a large fire effecting a totally different operation run by the same parent company?
Under this mindset, wouldn't it just save them all the operating money if they just never ran trains again anywhere?


Imagine your ran a franchise business. Your main store is doing great, and you buy a store in a different town. Right now, that store isn't profitable yet, but you feel it has great potential and could definitely make money in the future. So, for the short term, you accept the losses while working to make it better, grow customer base, and improve revenues. You do that using some of the profit from your main operation.

Suddenly, there's a major revenue change at your main operation. You no longer have the profits coming in that you were planning to use to grow the new operation, and it's the slowest time of the year for the new place. What do you do now?


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1941
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Bobharbison wrote:
Imagine your ran a franchise business. Your main store is doing great, and you buy a store in a different town. Right now, that store isn't profitable yet, but you feel it has great potential and could definitely make money in the future. So, for the short term, you accept the losses while working to make it better, grow customer base, and improve revenues. You do that using some of the profit from your main operation.

Suddenly, there's a major revenue change at your main operation. You no longer have the profits coming in that you were planning to use to grow the new operation, and it's the slowest time of the year for the new place. What do you do now?

Bob, that only makes sense if it really is the slow season. You of all people know that right now, it's the prime season for any tourist operation in the Pacific Northwest...

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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 298
Location: Oroville, CA
I grew up in the tourist business. Summertime was "bread & butter" time, when the resort made most, if not all, the money to carry us through the winter. Even if the line is being "carried" by the D&S, this is the one time of the year that it would make enough to at least cover the present, immediate, expenses--or at the very least, cost the least to operate due to offsetting sales; either way, it makes little sense to shut it down right now-not only does it hurt current sales, but it puts a major dent in future sales (as in, don't go there, they're not running). Reputation is critical in the tourist trade. If you don't deliver one time, then folks shy away, afraid you won't deliver when they are there.
Methinks something else is afoot, or the accountants are in control & don't understand the biz.
Just IMHO, of course!

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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Gentlemen, times have changed, and the plain vanilla excursions are no longer the bread and butter for most operations.

June was always a slow time, schools are still in session until mid month. Even when the railroad ran 6 days a week, we didn't start weekday operations until late June and things didn't start picking up until the July 4th weekend.

The railroad has over 35 years experience in proving that you cannot simply run excursion trains during the summer and make a long term profit. The museum tried it, Jack Anderson leased the equipment for a few years when the museum threatened to shut down and tried it. Nobody could make a long term go of it. If they had, the place wouldn't have needed to be put up for sale.

Special events are where the real money is. They run Polar Express from Thanksgiving through January 1st. A quick glance at their schedule shows nearly 100 runs are currently available. Even if you count the now cancelled Friday Evening trips, they had 6 trains per weekend for July. So the Polar Express has as many trains as roughly 15 weeks, or nearly 4 months worth of trains. I don't know how the revenue compares, I'm certainly guessing the Polar trains do better though. (Yes, obviously the fares are higher. But so are costs, two engines, more cars, snack service, the staffing needed is quite a lot larger, so it's not that easy to compare.) When they first bought the line, they indicated events like that are where they hoped to generate the best revenue.

No, July is NOT peak season. December is.


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:40 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 544
Bobharbison wrote:
Gentlemen, times have changed, and the plain vanilla excursions are no longer the bread and butter for most operations.

June was always a slow time, schools are still in session until mid month. Even when the railroad ran 6 days a week, we didn't start weekday operations until late June and things didn't start picking up until the July 4th weekend.

....



The same was true for our NRHS chapter in the Midwest-- June was a terrible month to try to sell mainline excursion tickees because of all the weddings and graduations.

the other Bob H !!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 101
Has Mt. Rainier ever had great attendance? 20 years ago I remember going by (sadly I was on the way to a family wedding in the park and didn't get to ride) and the place looked like a ghost town back then. Mix-matched cars, rough looking track.. but a steam locomotive fired up and ready to go! I had hoped things had improved, and it sounded like they had.. but then sold to Harper which seemed like an odd thing for a non-profit to do, but I didn't know any details so I can't say much.

Either way.. I hope they, and D&S manage to survive this whole ordeal.


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 Post subject: Re: Mount Rainier Scenic closed
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:37 am
Posts: 4
Imagine your ran a franchise business. Your main store is doing great, and you buy a store in a different town. Right now, that store isn't profitable yet, but you feel it has great potential and could definitely make money in the future. So, for the short term, you accept the losses while working to make it better, grow customer base, and improve revenues. You do that using some of the profit from your main operation.

Suddenly, there's a major revenue change at your main operation. You no longer have the profits coming in that you were planning to use to grow the new operation, and it's the slowest time of the year for the new place. What do you do now?[/quote]

Bob's logic is spot on.

We are scheduled to restart operations at the beginning of August because of the special events that begin then.

Meanwhile, track repairs and equipment maintenance continues...

Brian


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