Tourist Rail

"Time was, if you could fire up the locomotive and sweep out the coaches, you could be reasonably assured that the riders would come!"

- Randall D. Gustafson,
VP Operations Transportation Analyst
Stone Consulting has prepared a research tool and methodology specifically designed for existing tourist railroads. It is built with a full understanding of the nature of the tourist rail industry and developed from statistical and marketing approaches that all attractions can benefit from.

Today’s consumers are more sophisticated. As years go by, fewer have a firm recollection of what rail travel was like before Amtrak and fewer still are familiar with rail travel as it is today. Consumer behavior determines the choices for entertainment, whether a tourist railroad excursion or a sports event. The heart of a tourist rail marketing program is entertainment and how to cost-effectively bring in more people.

With our combined experience in engineering, consulting, railroading, and industrial development, the individuals that comprise our staff bring knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to each project. Stone Consulting retains specialty tourism subconsultants in national & regional market analysis, economic impact analysis to Federal EDA standards, and ‘hands-on’ development of marketing programs and materials development.

Stone Consulting's nationwide experience in feasibility studies, project development, marketing and master planning is available for your railroad today!

Following are descriptions of some completed Tourist Rail projects. For a full report, download this PDF.

Texas State Railroad Authority, Palestine & Rusk TX
Stone Consulting, Inc. has provided the following services for the Texas State Railroad Authority (TSRA):
  • 2009 - 2011 Consulting Services - Engineering and consulting services for the rehabilitation of both the track and the equipment, using TXDOT/TEA-21 funding and reimbursement guidelines.

  • Steam Locomotive 300 - Specifications, procurement and bidding for rehabilitation work for 2-8-0 #300. This project was completed on-time and under budget between August 2008 and September 2009 and was back in service September 2009.

  • Passenger Cars - Exterior paint, rehabilitation and structural work to the entire car fleet; interior updates and rehabilitation to follow during 2010 - 2011 season. Historic research and clearance of air conditioning project for ex-ATSF Pullman cafe -Observation #1511 for on-board power generation and updated air conditioning (underway); 2 additional coach air conditioning projects underway.

  • Steam Locomotive 400 (Baldwin 2-8-2, 1917) - Engineering, specification and procurement services for 1472 day inspection; boiler repair program, superheater element replacement and oil heater appliance.

  • Steam Locomotive 500 (ATSF 4-6-2 #1316) - Engineering investigation of frame cracks, development of weld repair program.

  • Track - 2010 scheduled capital maintenance program for 7000 replacement ties between Rusk and Palestine (year 1 of 3); development of 350-ft extension project for Mewshaw Siding.
Steam Into History, Inc. Business Plan and Market Analysis
Stone Consulting assisted Steam Into History, Inc. with the market analysis and business plan for the reopening of the ex-Northern Central Railroad in York County PA for development of a Civil War era theme featuring excursions to the historic Hanover Jct. depot, using a reproduction 4-4-0 similar to the NPS "UP 119" and the 2008 "Leviathan". This proposal has been publicly presented and has met with favorable response from both County and State officials; fundraising is now underway for equipment procurement and track rehabilitation.

Contact: Robert Trebatoski - (717) 818-9287

Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc., Grand Canyon Railway Inspection Report
Stone Consulting, Inc. performed an inspection of the facilities, track and equipment of the Grand Canyon Railway for Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Inc.

We quantified the condition of the equipment and provided an opinion of market value for the train cars in inventory and in service.

A timetable with estimated capital and replacement cost over a period of ten years for all train cars and equipment was provided along with an analysis of the costs of running steam vs. diesel locomotives.

Contact: Hans Desai - (303) 600-3412

Downeast Rail Heritage Preservation Trust, Bar Harbor MA
Stone Consulting, Inc. performed the original feasibility study for this start-up operation over the ex-Maine Central Calais Branch, from the track analysis to the business plan, and assisted in the lease negotiation between the State of Maine and Downeast. Downeast began passenger excursion operations in fall 2010, on track in the immediate Ellsworth ME area.

Stone Consulting, Inc. also assisted with the procurement and appraisal of two locomotives - ex-B&ML GE 70-tonner #54 and the Davenport switcher, along with consulting on FRA compliance issues for initial start-up.

Contact: Thomas J. Testa, President - (866) 449-7245

Copyright © 2014 - 2016 Stone Consulting. All rights reserved.