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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Addendum: Cruise Trains clarification

After reviewing a past article that I did on rail service for cruise passengers, I realize that my proposal was completely different from the one that Jon Fostik proposedMine resembles the cruise version of Auto Train where passengers would be on a train from an actual train station to a port or would be transported by a cruise line sponsored vehicle to the port at a special stop designed for the cruise line. The trains would be divided into three versions: 1) full stop routes (all large cities currently served by Amtrak), 2) limited stop routes, 3) nonstop routes. Most trains would provide limited stop service. Fostik proposes trains that would operate out of ports to various tourist destinations as a part of a cruise's package.

A perfect example of the two versions would be in Florida. My Cruise Trains would stop along Florida's east coast to drop passengers off to their ports from other eastern states..Mr. Fostik's Cruise Fun Trains idea is to have trains from Miami that would serve West Palm Beach and Orlando while another Fun Train would serve St. Augustine out of Charleston. Jacksonville could also be served with the train stopping at historic Union Terminal as part of the same package or another package that could serve Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, or the Panhandle.

There are certain areas that would be more in tune with Cruise Fun Trains rather than Cruise Trains because under Fostik's plan, the cruise companies would be in total control whereas a full-on passenger rail-to-cruise train route would be completely dependent on the host railroads and enough planning. If a train is delayed due to a derailment or to being behind other trains, passengers may miss their boats. Conversely, if a train is operated a day in advance, other travelers may be upset with having to spend the extra day traveling.

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