And Amtrack will tow you wherever you want to go…
We truly live in strange times. One of the signs of these times is the new that the ultra-rich are buying train cars that are in disrepair, restoring them, and then contracting with Amtrack to travel in privacy wherever they please.
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Before you start scheming, just know according to Robb Report the cheapest you can get a crappy old rail car is about $200,000. Add to that the cost of restoring it, not to mention outfitting it with any amenities so you’re not just rolling around inside an empty car that either hot or freezing cold for hours on end, and it’s easy to see why this is a hobby made only for the rich.
Back in the day, plenty of rich families proudly owned private railcars. But that was before automobiles and instate highways were much of a thing, not to mention commercial airline flights, so travel by railroad was one of the only ways to reach certain destinations without too much travail.
Apparently, what was old is now new. Considering most trains are operated by multiple diesel-powered engines, we wouldn’t say this movement is being driven by a desire to be green. Instead, we suspect it’s partly for status and partly for novelty, which is ironic considering many people who take cross-country train rides through the interior of the US do so because it’s a cheap, albeit pretty uncomfortable way, to travel so far.
For now, Amtrack is the only rail service offering this kind of amenity to the ultra-rich. Considering how it seems to almost always be in some sort of financial trouble, perhaps this move is to avoid coming to Congress to beg for more cash in the future. Just kidding, because there are few things one can count on in life, but that’s surely one of them.
Images via Amtrack