Covid-19 should have no continuing negative and may have some positive affect on America’s Trains’ Journeys by Rail.
Summary: A ‘pause’ was put on the sale of many vacation products because of Covid-19, including Journeys by Rail because Amtrak temporarily suspended some operations. However, vacation travel will quickly rebound and uncrowded luxury vacations are “leading the way to recovery for the entire travel industry” (according to Virtuoso the travel industry’s leading luxury network); and, “interest in private rail travel in a post-pandemic world is increasing” (according to Forbes magazine) because the private train segment allows for a “lot more social distancing” (according to Rail Bookers, the leading provider of independent rail vacations) and “features low density” vacations with easily managed avoidance of contagious illness. While the pandemic subsides, air travel concerns of domestic consumers should not hinder high occupancy of ATs Journeys because a sufficient number of passengers can travel to trains by other means, and related concerns about airline travel is preventing Americans from flying to foreign luxury train locations, increasing interest in U.S. Journeys by Rail. The innate desire of many affluent consumers to take vacations and the relatively safe uncrowded on-site, pandemic prevention characteristics of upscale products, including Journeys by Rail, is expected to enhance demand.
Covid-19 Impact on Luxury Vacations and Train Operations: Covid-19 has had a significant impact on cruise, resort and train (Amtrak) vacation use with closures, cancellations, greatly reduced occupancy and related loss of revenue. Initial ATs Journey rail cars are pulled by Amtrak engines travelling as part of Amtrak trains. Amtrak trains across the country are currently operating on adjusted schedules that include reduced frequency and some suspension of services that interrupt ATs route and departure date plans. Amtrak’s renewal of suspended or introduction of alternative services is expected when the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, which is taking longer than originally expected.
ATs Response to Covid-19 Impact: ATs will establish final departure dates when firm future Amtrak timetables include renewed operations on pertinent routes, or alternative routes are established and/or exclusive engines are introduced. Until that time, ATs will establish anticipated departure dates based on expected Amtrak schedules. Journey reservations can be made with the understanding that (1) if final departures are possible before anticipated dates, confirmed passengers can retain the existing departure date or can travel on an earlier Journey at their option in the same order of availability, and (2) if an unexpected delay of an anticipated departure date is necessary, a confirmed Journey can be cancelled or the departure date can be moved to a later anticipated departure date in the same order of availability or to any other available time. If any payments for Journeys are made, they are fully refundable on request at any time until confirmed final departure dates are provided.
Covid-19 Impact on funding: ATs’ expected funding was lost, or delayed, because related travel industry source vacation operations and related revenue was curtailed due to the pandemic. This created the subsequent opportunity for individual investment in ATs through a crowdfunding equity offering.
Journey by Rail Health Risks and Mitigation: ATs Journey by Rail characteristics provide relatively ideal vacation circumstances for the avoidance of contagious illness. The small number of and low passenger density on each Journey allows polite preclusion of passengers that may have a contagious illness. A prevention plan and stringent related crew member training deters existence of health risks on rail cars, and at en-route layovers. This includes no lineups and sparse seating, appropriate air filtration, non-intrusive safeguards to prevent contamination on Cars and transmission of contagious ailments between passengers, a pre-Journey passenger healthiness confirmation, considering communicable illness conditions where passengers live or just came from, possible basic health checks when first boarding Cars, thorough on-Car disinfecting and hygiene criterion, preemptive procedures at layover locations and other proactive preventative measures to eliminate related passenger concerns. Journey passenger movement between ATs and Amtrak cars will be restricted based on need. Many on board precautions will be permanent and continue after Covid-19 diminishes.