Posts Tagged ‘New River Train’

New River Gorge Train to Operate in 2020

January 18, 2020

The Autumn Colors Express will operate in 2020 through the New River Gorge of West Virginia.

Rail Excursion Management Company, which sponsors the train, said there will be four round-trip runs between Huntington and Hinton, West Virginia, from Oct. 22 to 25.

Tickets go on sale Monday at www.acewva.com. Ticket prices range from $599 (chairman’s class) to $225 (coach).

The train will stop in Charleston to pick up passengers and will operate during the Hinton Railroad Days Festival.

The consist of the train is expected to be 25 to 30 cars. Last year’s train was made up of private rail cars pulled by Amtrak locomotives.

2019 New River Train Now Set to Go

August 2, 2019

The long awaited announcement of the return of the New River Train will be made Friday by Rail Excursion Management Company.

The train will operate under the name Autumn Colors Express on the weekend of Oct. 25-27 between Huntington and Hinton, West Virginia.

Ticket sales will begin Aug. 5.

Amtrak agreed earlier this week to a contract with Rail Excursion for the 2019 trains after some prodding by West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin had said on Twitter in May that the New River Train would return, but various operational issues had to be ironed out before it was official.

The former operator of the train, the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, had in February canceled the train, citing financial issues.

Rail Excursion said it believes it can reduce the cost of the excursion by keeping its operations to one weekend, therefore avoiding car storage costs.

It also plans to replace a commissary car with additional seating and serving food to all passengers in their seats.

In previous years the New River Train operated over two weekends.

As in past years, private rail cars will be used as part of the excursions.

Providing support for the excursion will be the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

The latter has operated excursions behind its 2-8-4 Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

Sponsor Says Excursion Train Still a Go

July 9, 2019

The operator of a proposed fall excursion train that will replace the discontinued New River Train in West Virginia expects to announce shortly details about the excursion.

Lou Capwell of Rail Excursion Management told a Huntington, West Virginia, newspaper the process of organizing the train has been complicated and all he can say at this point is that the excursion will happen.

It is expected to be named the Autumn Colors Express and operate roundtrips on Oct. 25, 26 and 27.

Capwell’s statements came nearly seven weeks after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced that the October Huntington to Hinton excursion trains would run this year after all.

For years the New River Train was sponsored by the Colis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society but that group has been dormant since earlier this year.

News reports said that group had operating losses of $180,000 on last year’s New River Train.

Last February, the Society said it would not operate the New River Train in 2019 due to higher costs and more restrictive policies for operation of private cars and excursion trains imposed by Amtrak.

By focusing operations over one weekend Railexco expects to save the cost of storing rail passenger cars in Huntington due the week. The New River Train had operated over multiple weekends.

Capwell said Railexco is working with state and local government entities, Amtrak, the CSX railroad, and liability insurers to make the excursion train possible.

Amtrak is expected to provide locomotives and operating crew members.

A spokesperson for Manchin said it was the senator’s understanding that an operating agreement for the fall excursion train is close to being finished.

New River Train May Run This Year Afterall

May 25, 2019

A U.S. senator from West Virginia said this week that the New River Train will operate this October after all.

Senator Joe Manchin tweeted this week that he has been working to Amtrak to keep the famed excursion train operating and said he’ll have more details soon.

The train, which operates between Huntington and Hinton, West Virginia, is sponsored by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society.

The group said last February it was ending the excursion’s 52-year run due to high costs and financial losses that it attributed in part to increased fees imposed by Amtrak.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that Manchin’s office would not elaborate on the tweet other than to say more information would be released next week.

New River Train Sponsor Facing Hard Times

April 21, 2019

The organization that has long sponsored the annual New River Train in West Virginia was already having financial difficulties before Amtrak hiked the fees it charges to handle the train, Trains magazine reported last week.

The magazine reported on its website that the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society has posted deficits during many years over the past decade.

The Society had earlier this year announced it would not operate the New River Train this year and pointed to increased costs imposed by Amtrak.

Citing the opinion of a Kentucky-based certified public accounting, the report indicated that posting deficits is not necessarily a problem for a non-profit organization provided that it earns enough revenue to achieve its mission.

The accountant noted that a non-profit organization is not in business to make money, but like any business it must have enough cash in the bank to be able to cover its expenses.

Trains quoted a Society volunteer as saying that the organization despite the deficits was doing fine until Amtrak increased its fees.

He said that rising costs, which included expenses unrelated to Amtrak fees, was squeezing the New River Train.

That created a situation in which the society decided it could no longer increase ticket prices to cover the increased costs for fear that ridership would fall and the train would lose even more revenue.

The volunteer and a member of the group’s board of directors said the Society has been able in past year to raise money through various other activities, including private car trips to Washington and New York on Amtrak’s Cardinal.

However, the New River Train was the Society’s primary fundraising event.

The Trains report reviewed forms that the Society filed with the federal government and which can be viewed online.

The Society volunteer said the organization has been chipping away at a $130,000 deficit, some of which was reduced by having members pay small bills and expenses out of their own pockets.
Efforts to gain money from the state have met with mixed success.

The New River Train typically operated between Huntington and Hinton, West Virginia.