Posts Tagged ‘Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society’

New River Train Gets High Green

May 4, 2018

Amtrak and the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society have reached a tentative agreement to allow the New River Train to operate this year.

The group has resumed selling tickets for the excursion, which originates in Huntington, West Virginia, and operates over a former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline to Hinton, West Virginia.

The annual excursion, which has operated for more than 50 years, had been threatened by an Amtrak policy change prohibiting most specials and charters.

Huntington Society officials said that the trip will be more expensive and some operations will change from what they have been.

New River Train Assistant General Manager Joe Rosenthal said fares will be much higher than they were in 2017.

The website for the train shows fares ranging from $170 to $600. It is not clear if these are the most recent fares because tickets originally went on sale in January.

The group is also examining costs and seeking ways to save money as well as make the operations more efficient.

The New River Train will run on the third and fourth weekends of October.

West Virginia officials along with Society members recently met with Amtrak management to discuss the train and emphasized the economic impact that it has on West Virginia.

Tickets are being sold at at www.newrivertrain.com

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Amtrak, W.Va. Officials to Talk about New River Train

April 17, 2018

Amtrak executives will meet today with public officials from West Virginia to discuss the future of the New River Train, which operates annually in the fall between Huntington and Hinton.

The train, which has operated for the past 51 years, is in danger of being canceled after Amtrak said last month that it would no longer operate specials and charters.

The passenger carrier also has been restricting the use of its trains by privately-owned rail cars although a formal policy in that regard has yet to be announced.

Last week some West Virginia officials indicated that Amtrak had said it might make an exception to its policy to enable the New River Train to continue operating.

There has been discussion that Amtrak might be amendable to allow select specials to run on routes over which it operates scheduled trains.

The New River Train uses the part of the route of the tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal.

The train, sponsored by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, has been touted for its economic impact, which has been put at $5 million.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin asked Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson for a meeting to discuss the future of the New River Train.

“I will continue doing everything I can to fix this problem,” Manchin said in a news release.

West Virginia Congressman Protests Amtrak Policy Change

April 3, 2018

A West Virginia Congressman whose district includes Huntington, is trying to rally opposition to an Amtrak policy change that will in effect wipe out operation of the New River Train.

Amtrak said in a memorandum sent to employees last week that it will cease handling chartered and special train movements.

Evan Jenkins, who represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District has written to Amtrak President Richard Anderson to protest the policy, saying it will hurt the state’s tourism industry.

The New River Train is operated by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society and has run over former Chesapeake & Ohio tracks for 51 years.

The Society estimates the New River Train has an economic impact of $3.5 million in the Huntington region and $1 million in Hinton, West Virginia, the eastern destination of the train.

About 90 percent of New River Train passengers are from out of state.

Ann Adkins, a spokesperson for the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau, said losing the train would be devastating to West Virginia in general and particularly to Huntington and Hinton.

Amtrak to Halt Charter, Special Trains

March 29, 2018

Amtrak has apparently decided not to agree to operate special trains and certain private varnish movement.

Trains magazine reported on Wednesday that it has obtained a copy of a memorandum sent to Amtrak employees outline the policy change.

“Generally, Amtrak will no longer operate charter services or special trains. These operations caused significant operational distraction, failed to capture fully allocated profitable margins and sometimes delayed our paying customers on our scheduled trains,” the memo read in part.

“There may be a few narrow exceptions to this policy in order to support specific strategic initiatives, for example trial service in support of growing new scheduled service. Otherwise, one-time trips and charters are immediately discontinued.”

Many questions remain as to the scope of the policy, but the magazine said that some private car operators already have had their move requests denied.

Among them is the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society in Huntington, West Virginia, which was told that Amtrak would not longer allow the society’s passenger cars to be attached or detached in Huntington on the tri-weekly Cardinal, effective at the end of April.

“We are trying to better understand if Amtrak will allow the cars to be moved at beginning or end points,” Assistant General Manager Joe Rosenthal told the magazine.

The Huntington group is unsure if it will be allowed to move its cars on any Amtrak train even if they are moved to Chicago or Washington.

Rosenthal said the policy change apparently also spells the end of the 51-year tradition of operating the New River Train.

“West Virginia will be losing a huge economic impact and it’ll be particularly devastating to the cities of Huntington and Hinton,” he said.

The New River Train typically operated on the third and fourth weekends of October from Huntington to Hinton, West Virginia, and in recent years has used Amtrak locomotives and crews.

The New River excursions typically carry 5,000 riders annually and are the largest mainline excursion trains in the United States.

Holiday Trips to Operate out of Huntington

October 25, 2017

A holiday theme train using Amtrak and private equipment will operate out of Huntington, West Virginia, in December on the CSX Kanawha Subdivision.

The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society is hosting the Huntington Holiday Express between Dec. 14 and 17.

The train will make a 25-mile roundtrip excursion on former Chesapeake & Ohio tracks to Barboursville, West Virginia.

The train will have Amtrak P42DC locomotives on each end. Tickets are $55 for adults and $45 per child.

Each trip will take approximately an hour. The consist is expected to include six passenger cars, including three Amtrak café cars and three private cars.

Onboard amenities will include hot cocoa, cookies, and such Christmas activities as a visit from Santa Claus.

Best known for its New River Train fall foliage excursions, this will be the society’s first Christmas train on CSX rails.

CSX Shops Paints ex-PRR Passenger Car Tuscan Red

August 28, 2017

A former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car is being restored to its original colors at the CSX shops in Huntington, West Virginia.

The Braddock Inn is being repainted into its original Pennsy Tuscan red after wearing Maryland Area Regional Commuter colors for several years.

The car is slated to operate in October on the New River Train, which is hosted by CSX for the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society.

The society owns the 69-year-old car, which it also plans to operate in charter service in Washington, New York, and the Midwest beginning with trips later this year.

It was built in February 1949 as a 21-roomette sleeper and regularly assigned to the Iron City Express between New York City, Washington and Pittsburgh.

A latter assignment found it on the Indianapolis Limited as a through sleeper before it was converted to a stainless steel coach.

New Jersey Transit operated the car for several years before selling it to MARC in 2004.

As part of the restoration process, the Baddock Inn received new floors, shelving, cabinets and other lounge car amenities.

Plans Set for Annual New River Train

August 10, 2017

Plans have been announced for the annual New River Train, which will roll on Oct. 21, 22, 28, and 29 between Huntington, West Virginia, and Hinton, West Virginia, through the New River Gorge.

New this year will be a consist of all heritage cars from private owners.

Gone are the Amtrak Amfleet and Horizon  coaches that have characterized the makeup of past trains.

All of the 30 cars on the New River Train will come from private owners. Three Amtrak P42DC locomotives will pull the train.

Some of the passenger cars expected to be in the consist include California Zephyr vista-dome car Silver Solarium, Pullman-built Milwaukee Road Super Dome, Budd-built full-length dome car Summit View, the Overland Trail, a former Southern Pacific barber shop car, and Great Northern full-length dome car Prairie View.

Other cars will include lounge and passenger cars built for the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore & Ohio and Central of Georgia Railway

Sponsored by the the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, the 51st running of the New River Train will travel CSX’s Kanawha and New River subdivisions, both of which are former Chesapeake & Ohio.

The train has a capacity of 1,200 passengers per day and usually sells out by early September. Some heritage coach tickets remain at $179 per person.

New River Train Marks 50th Anniversary

October 22, 2016

Chartered trains through West Virginia’s New River Gorge marked their 50th anniversary this month.

West VirginiaThe trains are sponsored by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society and operated this year between Huntington and Hinton on the third and fourth weekends of the month.

Past years have seen such steam locomotives as the Nickel Plate Road No. 765, Milwaukee Road No. 261 and Pere Marquette No. 1225 pull the trains, but these days the motive power is Amtrak P40DC and P42DC locomotives.

The trains travel over the Kanawha and New River subdivisions of CSX.

For the 2016 trips, Amtrak assigned heritage units  822 and 156 to the 30-car trains, which included 24 private cars.

Among the private varnish in the consist this year was: Passaic River, Powhatan Arrow, St. Augustine, Wenonah, Nokomis, Lake Pepin, Alexander Hamilton, Wisconsin Valley, Super, Dome, Dover Harbor, Prairie View, Scenic View, Braddock Inn, New York Central 38, New York Central 43, Morris County, Birken Diner, New York Central 448 Diner, Kitchi Gammi Club, J. Pickney Henderson, Berlin, Moonlight Dome, Silver Lariat, and Dearing.

Flood Aid Sent in Rail Passenger Cars

July 6, 2016

The West Virginia-based Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society has shipped cleaning supplies, food and other items by rail to help victims of the recent flooding in the group’s home state.

West VirginiaThe donations were sent in two passenger cars owned by the group in cooperation with Amtrak, which attached them to the rear of the eastbound Cardinal.

The car was unloaded in White Sulphur Springs, which is located in a region hard hit by the flooding. The donated goods were taken to a distribution center.

The group, based in Huntington, received more than $300 in membership donations and another $400 from the community.

The passenger cars continued on to Washington for an Independence Day event.

New River Train Excursions Set

April 19, 2016

Four excursions of the New River Train have been set for 2016. Operated by the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, the train will travel from Huntington to Hinton, West Virginia, and return over the former Chespeake & Ohio mainline.

West VirginiaNow owned by CSX, the C&O mainline traverses the New River Gorge. The train will have coaches, lounge cars, dome cars and a business car on the rear, all pulled by Amtrak locomotives.

Trains will operate on Oct. 15, 16, 22 and 23 and include a layover in Hinton.

Tickets are $149 for adult coach, $99 for child coach, $179 for heritage, $269 for premium, $319 for dome car and $550 for the business car.

To purchase tickets or obtain information call 866-639-7487 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or visit http://www.newrivertrain.com

The New River Train is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.