Amtrak: We wanted to retain 'New River Train' business

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NRT2017Thurmond
The 2017 'New River Train' rolls west through Thurmond, W.Va., on Oct. 28, 2017.
Chase Gunnoe
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Amtrak has been in discussions with the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society during the past year and viewed the New River Train’s potential charter as a positive business relationship.

“Amtrak was in discussions with Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society during the past year about continuing the New River Train for the 2019 season,” says Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods. “We wanted to retain business with the historical society since we viewed the potential charter as a positive business relationship.

“Unfortunately, the historical society decided not to operate the New River Train despite efforts to come up with a mutually sustainable plan.”

The passenger railroad’s comments follow a Tuesday evening announcement by the nonprofit group that it would be shutting down and forgoing its mainline excursion train due to Amtrak’s rising costs.

The New River Train states that rising costs and a more than $100,000 loss in 2018 is the leading factor in not running its excursion trains in October 2019. The group says it suffered a significant financial loss last year because of unexpected mileage and operating costs initiated by the passenger railroad halfway through its marketing season.

The organization also says its price quote for operating the New River Train increased around 9.6 percent in February from a quote provided earlier in the year.

Amtrak did not directly respond to questions asking whether New River Train’s cancellation would have an effect on revenues generated by private cars and special trains.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a vocal proponent of the New River Train’s operation, issued a news release Wednesday afternoon saying he was saddened to hear the organization is cancelling its New River Train.

“I have worked and will continue to work with Amtrak and Collis P. Huntington to find a way to continue the New River Train in a way that’s profitable for everyone. I am committed to doing whatever I can, legislatively or otherwise, to save the traditions and communities threatened by Amtrak’s new policies that harm non-profits like Collis P. Huntington,” an excerpt from Sen. Manchin’s statement read.

Trains News Wire reached out to CSX Transportation for comment due to the railroad’s long-time support of the special train, but the freight railroad declined to comment on the matter.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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