UPDATE: DC rare miles trip in limbo

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UPDATE: WASHINGTON — Unforeseen track access issues have forced charter rail excursion manager RailsNW to abandon its originally proposed routing for The Susquehanna Express, which is still expected to operate out of Washington, D.C.’s Union Station on Saturday, May 19. RailsNW is in the process of negotiating with Amtrak and host railroads to secure an alternate routing for the excursion, which may still include the scenic former Pennsylvania Railroad Port Road Branch that hugs the Susquehanna River for 60 miles. However, RailsNW will not make a formal announcement of the revised routing until Amtrak and host railroads have granted it formal approval.

RailsNW apologizes to prospective passengers for having prematurely announced a routing that had not been formally approved. RailsNW decided to make the announcement in an effort to boost ticket sales at a time when its communication with Amtrak offered no reason to expect that its requested routing would not be feasible.

More information is available online.

The original story follows.

"WASHINGTON — Charter train operator Rail Center LLC opened ticket sales on Jan. 18, 2018, for a unique daylong rail journey out of Washington’s Union Station to take place on May 19, 2018. The planned route includes sections of track normally used only by freight trains, which have not hosted regularly scheduled passenger service since the 1960s. The special train will offer two classes of service: coach and first. Food and beverages will be sold on board; First Class passengers will receive complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.

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.

Amtrak will provide locomotives, coaches, operating crews, and track access for the special train. First Class accommodations will be on board one of four privately owned railcars. Rail Center will provide volunteer train hosts, logistics management, ticket sales, and marketing. The track-owning host railroads will be Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation, and Amtrak."

UPDATE: New lead section. Jan. 25, 2018. 3:47 p.m. Central time.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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