Contractors were told to immediately cease restoration work on the vintage train cars purchase to transport visitors from the West Coast to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyo. The plan was to have American Railway Explorer, affiliated with Yellowstone concessionaire Xanterra, to conduct 10-day tours at a rather hefty price tag: between $900 and $1,500 per day.
Of course, such a plan had some logistical difficulties: the train line can get you as far as Livingston, Montana; from there bus coaches would transport folks south through the parks. And it’s hard to imagine any bus tour worth $1,500 a day.
It sounds like the project is totally dead: a spokesperson said that “operations have ceased.”
Bringing rail service back to Yellowstone National Park has been a goal for many activists in recent years. In many ways Yellowstone originally was a creation of the large American rail lines, who pushed the Park as America’s Wonderland in an effort to spur traffic to the area. However, as passenger service declined in America, so did trains service to Yellowstone, and right now there are no rail lines leading to a Park gateway community.
Photo of Gardiner train station courtesy of Library of Congress.