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America's Luxury Train:
Will It Ever Run Again?
Part TWO
by Ted & Sylvia Blishak
of Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel

This continuing series of news reports is produced in cooperation between
Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel and TrainWeb.com

If you have not yet read PART ONE, please click here to read it now.


Left: AOE New Orleans Dome, photo by Ted Blishak.
Right: Ted boarding, photo by Sylvia Blishak.


Left: Inside the full-length dome aboard the AOE train.
Right: Inside the AOE New York observation car, photo by Ted Blishak.

AMERICAN EUROPEAN EXPRESS DECLARES BANKRUPTCY

By October 1991, the company ceased operations, and the first chapter of the saga ended.

A new company bought the consist, added more vintage equipment, and called the assemblage the American Orient Express. It was owned under this name by various enterprises and made a variety of excursions to National Parks as well as to Canada and Mexico. While it was beautifully maintained both inside and out, working parts under the floor were a different matter. While invisible to passengers, they were making their age felt.

Difficulties keeping up with maintenance, as well as both an armed robbery and a derailment on the way to the Copper Canyon in Mexico, led to bad publicity, insurance issues, and a cancellation of scheduled trips south of the border. Paid customers with cancelled arrangements were unhappy, even though the company offered to reschedule them north of the border at a handsome discount.

The AOE's credibility slipped and many guests refused to rebook.

AMERICAN ORIENT EXPRESS COMES TO THE END OF THE LINE

Bankruptcy sidelined AOE in 2006. One contributing factor was the high cost of tickets, which were out of reach for many would-be passengers. Another was that maintenance expenses were extreme - particularly since the equipment was at least 50 years old.

The AOE equipment - not the company itself - was sold under a court order that the name must be changed, as the Orient Express name belonged, according the European company, to them. The Europeans wanted it known that they had no connection with the AOE train and its continuing financial troubles.

ANOTHER NEW OWNER.

Still wearing its original dark blue, cream, and gold livery, the collection was purchased by a new company, GrandLuxe Rail Journeys.

This continuing series of news reports is produced in cooperation between
Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel and TrainWeb.com

If you have not yet read PART ONE, please click here to read it now.

Call Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel
at 800-347-0645 to book YOUR railway adventure!


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