***Before I start, let me say here, what I say is as a disallusioned railfan, and not in any capacity as a person who represents the railroad. Anything said here is just coming from my mouth, and can in no way be held against the railroad.***
Otto Vondrak Posted: 200707.10 - 1751:42 Post subject:
Hrmmm... what's going on for the 100th Anniversary?
The plain and simple truth... a day to day fight for survival.
Guys, I hate to burst the bubble here, but you got to face the facts, the A&A is a for profit railroad, and right now, the economic conditions in NYS aren't in favor of profit.
I'll be the happiest person alive if the A&A makes it till May 2017, but I'll also be one of the most surprised.
Yes, progress is being made, the tracks are safer now then they ever have been, and will be safer more tomorrow, but the battle is still EXTREMELY uphill. One customer, a Board of Directors who think bass ackwards regarding operations, to say nothing that most of them wouldn't be able to tell you the difference between a glad hand and a knuckle, the sky-high taxes, astronomical fuel costs, and insurance liability costs that continue to climb.
You want to see the A&A around for a few more years, help patronize.
Ya, the railroad would love to advertise more, do more special events, but the simple truth is that the money to advertise more isn't there... the money to plan special events isn't there...
I maintain phone contact with the railroad, sometimes spending as much as two hours talking with the people back home. A recent discussion revealled just how costly it is to run the excursions.. even with the diesel.
Consideration is being given to cease passenger operations. Though this would be two or three years down the road, the decision process is happening now. Its now that we must show the railroad that passenger operations aren't dead. (Don't worry, I don't think the railroad wouldn't cease operations during the season, it simply would announce that the operations would end upon the end of the season.)
People need to patonize. Leaving teh station with 13 passengers on a train not only doesn't make money, it costs the railroad a lot of money. There were days that the train pulled out with as few as 8 people aboard when I was ticket agent.
Now, if/when I win the PA Lottery 'PowerBall', I'll come home and do a FULL system overhaul, including power rebuild, excursion equipment restoration, station renovation, and a complete track rebuild. But, since that probably ain't ever gonna happen, the only way to keep the road going is to patronize.
I've worked the last several years trying to get a new customer added, I finally got an answer from NS regarding rates, and now its just up to the company to follow thrugh. I can only hope this works, for NS, cause they sign my paycheck, for the A&A cause I love the littel line, and for the company, cause they sign my mother's checks, and it just might be cheaper for them then trucking.
You know, this has probably the most honest I've been rearding the railroad's situation, even with myself. I'm not trying to put anyone down (at least not any railfans) but the truth is that the people are to blame.. after all, if there aren't any people, then there isn't any reason for the excursions.
A parting thought. Even after the introduction of steam operations in 1963, the town of Arcade seriously thought the excursions wouldn't help, and planned to use part of the line as a new road once the rails were ripped up. In the two seasons, '62 & '63, the excursions carried a combined total of nearly 80,000 people. Maybe Arcade knew something we didn't?