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Rare Mileage Trip - DC, VA, WV, PA & MD CANCELLED

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A rare mileage rail trip - the Susquehanna Express - is planned out of Washington Union Station on Saturday, May 19. It's an all-day loop trip passing through Manassas, Front Royal, Hagerstown, Harrisburg, and Baltimore en route back to Washington. Details can be found HERE.

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http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/01/22-rare-mileage-trip-out-of-washington

 

Fair use quote from the article.

Leaving Washington at 7 a.m., the train will travel south to Alexandria, Va., then west to Manassas, Va., and on across the Blue Ridge Mountains to Front Royal, Va. Turning north, it will cross the West Virginia panhandle through Charles Town and cross the Shepherdstown, W.Va. High Bridge into Maryland. After traversing Hagerstown, it will enter Pennsylvania and wind through farm country around Chambersburg and Shippensburg, Pa.

 

After crossing the Susquehanna River into Harrisburg, the train will turn southeast and hug the Susquehanna River for 60 scenic miles downriver to Perryville, Md. At that point, the train will join Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and cross the Susquehanna again at Havre de Grace, Md., to return south to Washington via Baltimore. Arrival back at Washington Union Station is estimated at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets set at 180 coach and 298 first (PV) if I'm correct

 

Sent from my SM-G930P using Amtrak Forum mobile app

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Wow. This one is worth doing.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

Ditto!😎

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It should be noted that this is NOT an Amtrak excursion and likely will not be organized in the same manner as Amtrak excursions have been in the past.

 

Several questions have been posed to me that I am unable to answer. Possibly, someone "in the know" will respond.

 

1. Will there be assigned seats? Will it be possible to guarantee a window seat?

2. Will there be a food car serving snacks/lunch, etc.? What type of items and what is the price range?

3. Will AU members be given a "heads up" if and when it looks like the excursion will sell out?

 

Thanks.

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It should be noted that this is NOT an Amtrak excursion and likely will not be organized in the same manner as Amtrak excursions have been in the past.

 

Several questions have been posed to me that I am unable to answer. Possibly, someone "in the know" will respond.

 

1. Will there be assigned seats? Will it be possible to guarantee a window seat?

2. Will there be a food car serving snacks/lunch, etc.? What type of items and what is the price range?

3. Will AU members be given a "heads up" if and when it looks like the excursion will sell out?

 

Thanks.

1. No assigned seats, but we do have assigned cars.

 

2. Yes, I'll get that answer back to you further in the planning stages when I have it. But right now I would expect standard amcafe.

 

3. Most definitely.

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Are these going to be Amtrak cars only, or will there be private cars too?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

Four private cars available for purchase. But there are actually five in total.

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Tickets set at 180 coach and 298 first (PV) if I'm correct

 

Well, it appears that you are not correct.

 

I try to avoid saying always or never, but it will be a rare occasion that I come across the phrase "Taxes & fees are extra and will be added at time of booking" and continue investigating. The organizer knows so much better than I do what the taxes are, and fees are often just a gimmick to jack the price after a teaser. If the organizer cannot be honest about how much money I need to pony up for what it is providing, then why would I trust it to be honest about anything else?

 

Yes, I know it is marketing, and truth has no meaning.

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Tickets set at 180 coach and 298 first (PV) if I'm correct

Well, it appears that you are not correct.

 

I try to avoid saying always or never, but it will be a rare occasion that I come across the phrase "Taxes & fees are extra and will be added at time of booking" and continue investigating. The organizer knows so much better than I do what the taxes are, and fees are often just a gimmick to jack the price after a teaser. If the organizer cannot be honest about how much money I need to pony up for what it is providing, then why would I trust it to be honest about anything else?

 

Yes, I know it is marketing, and truth has no meaning.

 

 

I found this when going to checkout:

 

JC0MISQ.png

 

Clicking through to the check-out page, it appears that's all they're adding. It's, sadly, pretty common in the entertainment world to see booking fees being offloaded to the customer. I'd rather see the offering be $199 for coach and $319 or $329 for first class with no additional fees. I can understand line-iteming any sales taxes (that's SOP for most businesses in the US) but it should be clear. Adding booking fees, while pretty common in the industry, is an annoying practice.

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"Booking/Convienence fees,as was said,are common for all types of tickets, but they really should be called ADP, Additional Dealer Profit.😥 I've actually seen this listed on Stickers on Cars @ Auto Dealers!😣

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I'm just the trainmaster on the trip and I have no real control over fees and terms. But I will relay that concern to my boss. I've been saying the terms and conditions and service charges are extreme. And when I said it he did nothing. However when a group of 60 declined the trip due to bad terms marketing and I used our collective strength to get that fixed.

 

So no promises I can pull any rank on transparency in it. But I promise you I will be looking into it.

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Adding booking fees, while pretty common in the industry, is an annoying practice.

 

I HATE them. Sometimes they're exorbitant for booking tickets online and not revealed until the last click. MANY times it has caused me to cancel rhe whole trip. It's so distasteful!!

Edited by City of Miami

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Just saw a post on the BookFace that this trip isn't happening.

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They have certainly gone very silent over the last day or two. Emails to them have gone unanswered. So who knows what is going on?

 

One odd thing was, they tried to convince me to pay by check. I told them I was only going to pay by Amex since I do intend to recover my funds if the trip does not happen and the organizers try to abscond. Didn't hear anything further from them.

 

On relief is that nothing has been charged on anything yet.

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OK, I just go an official email from the organizers that the trip is officially off.

 

There is some blurb about some other trip that they are trying to organize instead...

 

 


However, we are working to on an exciting alternative itinerary for May 19th. We believe it will have an easier time gaining host railroad approval. This could be a trip on the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Port Road Branch hugging the Susquehanna River both ways between Washington and Harrisburg, or it could be a scenic daylight round-trip on the former B&O to Cumberland, MD and back. I hope you will decide to stay with us and travel on the alternate route.

 

They said they will be happy to keep me in the pre-booked list, and give me a chance to cancel after the new tripis announced, and nothing will be charged to the credit card before I explicitly approve the new trip.

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This is starting to sound shakey, hopefully no-one will get burned on this scheme!!!🤔😥

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I'm the trainmaster on the train and I'm not by anyway the business person on this. I can give anyone who wants his email that email so you can talk. But I will address all of the issues.

 

1. My boss Mr. Horstman unfortunately made the decision based on bad information to launch before the Norfolk Southern approval. Amtrak had already given him a quote for the train of 75,400 for the day trip which he took as a sign of it not having issues getting approved. Our contact at Amtrak was not concerned about the threat of NS turning it down. With that being said the marketing department has drafted an apology letter that should have been uploaded to the site. If it wasn't please let me know and I will personally have words with Mr. Horstman.

 

2. No money has been spent in marketing, deposits, or anything up to this point. So anyone who has reserved a spot has nothing to worry about. The reason Mr. Horstman has not approved PV deposits being paid at this point is because they are non refundable and he didn't want to pay them to have the trip pulled as what happened and be unable to refund your money. However we did have those four cars lined up that if they would have had a charter they would have notified us to give us first right of refusal.

 

3. What's happening now. Right now Mr. Horstman is attempting to work with Amtrak who is still willing to work with him. Here is what is being worked on WAS-HAR up and back via the Port Road is the first option. And the second option is WAS-CUM as a daytrip on the CL route. When I hear something I will be the first to pass it on.

 

4. This is me asking you not to judge me based on the failure. My job is strictly to manage the operation of the train on the day, crew the train, service, and to arrange which private cars are on the train. So any failures of my boss I please ask that you do not hold me to him. I've told him repeatedly to remove the taxes and fees or to specify what they are. I begged for him to change the refund policy till he lost a sixty man group because of it. I have relatively no power over the business of it.

 

If anyone has any questions feel free to reach out to me. I am still contracted to whatever spring excursion happens. And after that I am retiring from the excursion business because there are less stressful jobs to make money. And the bullying and cattiness between operators that I've witnessed happen because of this trip from people in the rail industry has really made me despise the rail industry. The funny thing is I loved trains before I worked on them. Now I really have grown to indifference and borderline hatred.

 

JH

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Sounds like a good choice to change careers, your Boss sounds like a Hustler to me!

Edited by Bob Dylan

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Hence today I've put in about thirty different applications in another industry after I heard the news. Why the train master doesn't hear till the passengers beats me. Hello Aviation.

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Just doing back of the envelope accounting, charging $189 in coach, you would need 400 reservations just to cover what Amtrak is charging, not to mention NS costs, PV charges ( which obviously wouldn't be covered by the limited numbers you can book in a first class car, and then you have salaries for TM, reservations people, marketing costs, etc.

 

This trip looks like it was destined to fail....

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I'm the trainmaster on the train and I'm not by anyway the business person on this. I can give anyone who wants his email that email so you can talk. But I will address all of the issues.

 

1. My boss Mr. Horstman unfortunately made the decision based on bad information to launch before the Norfolk Southern approval. Amtrak had already given him a quote for the train of 75,400 for the day trip which he took as a sign of it not having issues getting approved. Our contact at Amtrak was not concerned about the threat of NS turning it down. With that being said the marketing department has drafted an apology letter that should have been uploaded to the site. If it wasn't please let me know and I will personally have words with Mr. Horstman.

 

2. No money has been spent in marketing, deposits, or anything up to this point. So anyone who has reserved a spot has nothing to worry about. The reason Mr. Horstman has not approved PV deposits being paid at this point is because they are non refundable and he didn't want to pay them to have the trip pulled as what happened and be unable to refund your money. However we did have those four cars lined up that if they would have had a charter they would have notified us to give us first right of refusal.

 

3. What's happening now. Right now Mr. Horstman is attempting to work with Amtrak who is still willing to work with him. Here is what is being worked on WAS-HAR up and back via the Port Road is the first option. And the second option is WAS-CUM as a daytrip on the CL route. When I hear something I will be the first to pass it on.

 

4. This is me asking you not to judge me based on the failure. My job is strictly to manage the operation of the train on the day, crew the train, service, and to arrange which private cars are on the train. So any failures of my boss I please ask that you do not hold me to him. I've told him repeatedly to remove the taxes and fees or to specify what they are. I begged for him to change the refund policy till he lost a sixty man group because of it. I have relatively no power over the business of it.

 

If anyone has any questions feel free to reach out to me. I am still contracted to whatever spring excursion happens. And after that I am retiring from the excursion business because there are less stressful jobs to make money. And the bullying and cattiness between operators that I've witnessed happen because of this trip from people in the rail industry has really made me despise the rail industry. The funny thing is I loved trains before I worked on them. Now I really have grown to indifference and borderline hatred.

 

JH

You are handling this with class.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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Just doing back of the envelope accounting, charging $189 in coach, you would need 400 reservations just to cover what Amtrak is charging, not to mention NS costs, PV charges ( which obviously wouldn't be covered by the limited numbers you can book in a first class car, and then you have salaries for TM, reservations people, marketing costs, etc.

 

This trip looks like it was destined to fail....

I've had my doubts but I generally have had to keep quiet on those because I do not want to ruffle my boss's feelings too much because I do like a paycheck.

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