CHARLESTON (AP) — The Greenbrier’s plans to offer luxury train service are being delayed by the federal regulatory process, the resort’s owner said.
The “Greenbrier Presidential Express” service from Union Station in Washington, D.C., to the resort in White Sulphur Springs was announced last year and owner Jim Justice hoped it would begin last month.
Now, the earliest the train would start will be four months after government regulations on operations and insurance are met, Justice said Wednesday.
About $10 million has been spent so far on the project, Justice told the Charleston Daily Mail.
“We were moving along great as far as refurbishing and all that,” he said. “Then we ran into governmental regulations and all on how you’re going to run the train. I really didn’t expect that. I’m not a train expert. I thought we were pretty well covered. It’s drug on and on and on.
“It’s been on hold now for probably the better part of 2 1-2 months. We’ve really slowed down.”
Justice blames himself for not knowing the time and complexity of obtaining regulatory approval.
“I think we just probably didn’t know the magnitude of the hoops you have to go through,” he said.
Justice had hoped the train would help boost The Greenbrier’s occupancy rates and bring back the glamour of rail travel. Passengers would pay about $650 for a roundtrip ticket.
A steam locomotive would power the train’s 15 cars that would include a VIP suite car with private rooms, parlor cars, dining cars, and an open-air car with safety railings.
“We have all kinds of stuff purchased, ready to go in,” Justice said. “The chairs, upholstery, a lot of woodwork. Of course we have all of the undercarriages completely redone to government specs. The steam engine is sitting at Clifton Forge (Va.), completely done.”