American Railway Explorer Ceases Plans For Luxury Trains
Plans for a new luxury railroad line have stalled out before ever leaving the first station. The Denver Post reports that American Railway Explorer, a new train bankrolled by billionaire Philip Anschutz is being put on hold. Contractors have stopped working on the renovation of the vintage rail cars to be used in the line and travel industry officials were also notified that plans had been cancelled.
American Railway Explorer had planned to start running train excursions around the U.S. next summer for as much as $1,500 a day per person. Guests would stay in restored vintage sleeper cars outfitted with leather, dark wood and sumptuous fabrics and enjoy chef-prepared meals in a luxury dining car (rendering shown above). The company was officially announced in May and reservations began in June for trips in May 2011.
American Railway Explorer is an affiliate of Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which Anschutz Co. acquired in 2008. We recently wrote about Xanterra, which manages resorts, restaurants, tours and other concessions in national parks, state parks and other locations around the country, when the company purchased the Kingsmill resort in Virginia.
American Railway Explorer was formerly GrandLuxe Rail Journeys which closed up shop in 2008 for financial reasons. Before that the company was formerly known as American Orient Express got a new owner in 2006. This recent failure does beg the question of whether luxury train travel is an idea that can succeed in the U.S.