What if we started a Rail Road Company?

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New Member
Looking at the title the idea may seem silly but in all actuallity think about it. What if we all got together put our skills and expertise together and collaberatively started a railroad company?

What do you think of this idea?

Are you interested?

Let's assume you mean shortline; probably VERY short line. Probably serving a cluster of industrial customers on an existing but defunct, or nearly so, ROW that may or may not have rails and ties.

Or perhaps a dinner train? I've got just the railroad line for you that runs from Renton, WA northward, on the east side of Seattle. It's got major issues, not the least political, but it's still there. But not for much longer.

How deep are your backers' pockets?


New Member
Yes, I am thinking an dinnner train or better yet an exercursion tgrain that runs seasonally. Then in the off season We could run programs like a Murder Mystery Dinner Train weekly. Followed by seasonal events the halloween train and maybe a polar express special around christmas.

Tell me more about the line that runs through Renton. I am not very familier with Washington but all things are possible.
This line runs on the east side of Lake Washington from Renton to Woodinville, WA; it was in light usage for decades but hosted a successful dinner train operation and ran occasional local freight operations. It was not in good enough condition to serve as an alternate route for heavy freight operations even though the main BNSF line north of Seattle is subject to frequent closures in the rainy season due to mudslides along Puget Sound. Its most notable high value freight was frequent moves of Boeing 737 fuselages to the final assembly plant in Renton.

The line was put out of service several years ago when an I-405 tunnel in Bellevue was daylighted and no bridge was built to keep the line open. The reasons for this are mostly political; area residents and politicians are intent on converting the ROW to a hiking trail. (facepalms) No one gives serious thought for usage as public transportation with light rail or commuter trains, though it sort of parallels the extremely crowded I-405 corridor; it's not conducive to operation above 30 mph or so without tremendous investment in improvements.

The track's very curvy and slow speed under the best of conditions, with ROW issues in spots as tracks pass through parking lots. The line is still in service north of Woodinville and connects with the former Great Northern trackage, now BNSF. The south end of the line has street running in Renton, where the dinner train station was located, and still moves those Boeing 737 fuselages from that end.

There >have< been efforts to keep the line intact and in service, especially for the dinner train, but arcane politics appear to have doomed it to permanent dismantlement in the near future. I don't know who's operating the tracks north of Woodinville or if they've still got customers on the last remaining traces of a line that ran to Redmond, WA, along which the former dinner train stopped and turned at a winery.

Other members of this forum can provide much more detail than I can.


Forum Host
Staff member
The line in Renton is already being operated by a local shortline. I can't see any reason why he'd suddenly give it up and let somebody else operate it.

Meanwhile, if you want to be part of an operating railroad, go find a local tourist railway or museum, volunteer, and learn more about it.

If you're looking to generate income from the industry, Union Pacific stock is doing quite well these days.


Forum Host
Staff member
How deep are your backers' pockets?
I'm guessing he was just about to bring that up. How much are you willing to contribute to the cause? Remember "What if WE started a railroad". He'll bring the ideas, you bring the money.

Meanwhile, to assist you in your economic venture, it's time for Tourist Railroad 101

Q - How do you make a small fortune with a tourist railroad?

A - Start with a large fortune and buy a tourist railroad.

40 years in the business, and I can assure you the vast majority are money losing propositions that only stay afloat with generous donations and grant money. The few that aren't are run by experts with many years experience. Strasburg, Grand Canyon Railway, Durango & Silverton, etc, etc. If you want to railroad as a hobby, go join the NRHS and help your local chapter...
What Bob said.
I volunteer at my local railroad museum, and have at the local museum wherever I've lived. Currently, it is the NC transportation museum, and, among the drudge work, I get to play with 1:1 trains as my schedule and the museum's operations allow.
If you prefer the model stuff, I used to be a member of the Mo-Ark railroad museum, and rehabbed the museum's HO scale layout to operation, ran model trains, and educated visitors about what each part of the layout represented, and why things worked as they did.

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