While a trip aboard a private rail car seems to the passenger to be a dream come true, a great deal of hard work and advance planning goes into making the dream a reality. Few venues within the transportation industry are as specialized and unique as private rail car travel.
Please fill in the Charter Information Request below.
Generally speaking, private cars can easily go anywhere Amtrak goes. As a general rule, cars can be added to or removed from trains only at major stations where schedules allow time and/or physical arrangements exist. They can be parked at many (but not all) major terminals during stopovers. Montreal and Toronto can be reached from New York on Amtrak day trains. Your answers from the Charter Information Request will be researched by us, and they will be a part of the final agreement for operation and cost.
It may sometimes seem frustrating at the length of time that it takes to get an answer to what seems to be a simple request for a price quote. Private car operators must work with and get pricing and approval from a number of parties to arrive at a price and a schedule.
After determining the availability and pricing of the car (or cars) of your choosing, we must then determine if Amtrak is able to accommodate the addition of these cars to its trains on the dates desired. This may be a simple matter of contacting Amtrak’s System Special Movements Bureau. However, in the case where trains run near their full-length capacity, Amtrak may have to contact local operations personnel in the affected cities to determine whether your requested train has available capacity on the date or dates of your proposed trip.
Travel by private rail car is not inexpensive but often compares favorably with the cost of cruising by ship. How much does it cost? This is probably one of the most common questions we receive. Because each trip is unique, it’s not easy to come up with a “standard” cost. Typical pricing for a trip is along the lines of a high-end cruise. On average, the all-inclusive costs typically can run between $2,500 and $7,000 or more per car per day. But remember, a rail car may accommodate 6, 8, 10, 20, 30 people or more. Factors that generally influence cost include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Crew Costs: Labor and expenses related to the crew of the private car.
- Amtrak/VIA costs: Mileage, switching, parking and servicing charges assessed by the carrier to the car owner.
- Positioning Costs: Costs to get the car from where it is based to where your trip will start; costs to get the car from where your trip ends back to where it is based.
- Food and Beverage Costs: Catering and costs for raw food and beverages consumed.
In cases where we are familiar with the routing, charges are usually known within a few days. In cases that involve more than one car or multiple routes, it may take considerably longer to get pricing and availability from all parties. Other factors that effect cost include special menu selections, special requests and larger groups of passengers. For example, the cost structure for taking 60 people from Los Angeles to Oakland on two cars is different than taking two or three couples on a business car from Los Angeles to Oakland. Again since each trip is unique, we should be able to give you some more specific guidelines once we get an idea of your planned itinerary, number of guests, and any special services desired, etc.
A non-returnable deposit is required to confirm a movement. This is to reserve the rail car and cover expenses incurred to put everything in motion. Amtrak and the freight railroads work strictly on a cash basis, with services being paid for well in advance. For this reason, final payment is required 30 days or more in advance of a trip.
We will be glad to prepare and discuss a quote for your personalized rail journey. Let your dreams begin!
Thank you for your inquiry and for taking the time to answer these questions. I look forward to further communication as we explore the trip of your dreams!
Kevin Moore, owner Berlin Sleeping Car
Deep River Rail Ventures, LLC
167 Cobblestone Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15237