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Thread: Spokane Rally Train

  1. #1
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    Spokane Rally Train

    Will there be one for the '04 Nationals? Who will chair it? DARK Cloud

  2. #2
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Re: Spokane Rally Train

    Originally posted by Dark Cloud
    Will there be one for the '04 Nationals? Who will chair it? DARK Cloud
    Could be you, Dark Cloud!

    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  3. #3
    On the Road wgraybuckley's Avatar
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    We are exploring a rally train from Chicago to Spokane and back. Initial reaction from Amtrak was poor. There would be a chance of making money on this route and that may be contrary to railroad policy. If it happens, we will have a deal solidified by December 1. Otherwise, no deal.

    ADDED, 4/3/07: Amtrak is out of this business, despite valiant efforts by many.

    Gray Buckley, 720.963.9641, graybuckley@comcast.net
    Last edited by wgraybuckley; 04-03-2007 at 02:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User kioolt's Avatar
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    Is there any progress being made on a rally train?
    2004 R1150RT 145,700 miles
    1991 K100LT 126,700 miles
    1982 R100RT 106,900 miles
    Total 379,300 BMW miles

  5. #5
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    I sent this e-mail to Amtrak:

    About Amtrak Trains or Service
    Subject: Passenger & Motorcycle service
    Message: I will be attending the BMW Motorcyle Owners Rally in Spokane, WA from 7/15 to 7/18 2004. Is there any program w/ Amtrak that would allow myself to book passage for two adults and have my motorcycle shipped/ me? I recall that a similar program was offed for the 2001 BMW Rally in Redmond, OR.

    Im received this reply:

    Thank you for contacting us.

    Regrettably at this time there is not any plan for Amtrak to transport motorcycles for this event. The past couple of years the arrangements were handled privately through a coordinator for the event. Unfortunately we do not have any information as to who would be handling any arrangements for passengers and their motorcycles for the events in 2004. Please check back with us in the spring to see if we have any further information.



    A Reservation Sales Agent can also investigate into this matter via our toll free number. They can be reached at 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7245), please press "0" or say "agent" to bypass the automated system

  6. #6
    wiener
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    How about the Canadien Rail system

    I believe the Canadian Rail system has its act together a little better. Maybe someone could look into this idea, plus it would be a great chance to see our Northern Freind's country.

  7. #7
    wiener
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    http://www.viarail.ca/en_index.html?aven Here's their website. I did send a message to them to see if it was feasable. We'll see. Toronto to Vancover; wow that would be cool.
    What does anybody think?

  8. #8
    Registered User MThelmet's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Sound like a good idea. I would be interested if cost is reasonable and only have to go one way. Would like to ride the return trip.
    MT helmet
    [COLOR=Red]NO ONE ELSE ADMITS IT[FONT=Courier New]

  9. #9
    wiener
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    Thumbs down Rail Canada response

    From: Customer_Relations.VIA@viarail.ca | Add to Address Book
    Subject: 151801 - transporting motorcycles
    To: wiener1972@yahoo.com
    Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 13:48:49 -0500





    "Dear Mr. Wearne:

    Thank you for your interest in travel with Via Rail Canada.
    Unfortunately,
    we are unable to transport motorized vehicles but I suggest that you
    enquire with SEARAIL at the following site:
    http://www.searail.ca/

    You may want to consider traveling with Via Rail and sending your
    vehicles
    with SEARAIL.

    Sincerely,
    James Peters
    Customer Relations Officer"

    I looked at the SEARAIL website. It looks like they are set up for 4 "legged" vehicles mostly.
    We'll have to keep thinking.

  10. #10
    On the Road wgraybuckley's Avatar
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    No Rally Train from Amtrak or Sea Rail

    http://www.jcmotors.com/indexshipping.html

    After consulting with Sea Rail (Canadian freight carrier) and Rail Canada (passenger line), it becomes apparent that the above website (referred by Sea Rail) may be the principal option for those who wish to ship their motorcycles to Spokane. It would be much simpler and easier and possibly cheaper than the Redmond Rally train was.

    Amtrak is trying hard to get out of the business, by cancelling rally trains rather than adding them.

    Ray Cotter ran the Great Haul in 2001, driving a 53' semi from Detroit to Portland and back via Chicago. He may be exploring options for '04. There is also a Harley dealer near Chicago with a semi. Unknown whether or not BMW riders in that area will be organizing a truck event to Spokane.

    Now, if an MOA member who reads this owns his own freight cars... now is the time to speak or forever hold your piece.

  11. #11
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    The Yankee Beemers rented a semi and loaded it with bikes for the Redmond rally. I think they got 14 bikes on there. I don't believe it was that expensive. They flew out and were able to be riding in California on the second day of the trip and had a full two weeks while they were here.

    Maybe one of the folks that came out here that way can tell you what it actually cost.

    dave
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  12. #12
    Original 1973 LWB R75/5 TheSlashFiveTourer's Avatar
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    Question Looking for information on the 2001 Redmond Rally Train....

    Originally posted by wgraybuckley
    .....It would be much simpler and easier and possibly cheaper than the Redmond Rally train was.
    I attended the 29th National at Redmond, Oregon in July of 2001. I enjoyed the Deschutes County Fairground set-up and those beautiful new buildings. I consider Redmond the best site of the SIX Nationals that I've been able to attend in the past 31 years (Oshkosh '76; Rutland '78; Laguna Seca '86; Missoula '98; Redmond 2001; Trenton 2002).

    While at the Redmond Rally in 2001, I tried to find someone, anyone that had been a PAYING PASSENGER on the "Redmond Rally Train" which, I believe, operated roundtrip between Washington/Chicago and Portland, Oregon. I understand the westbound riders unloaded their Beemers in Portland then rode down to the Redmond Rally site for the weekend. At the end of the rally, those returning East on the train returned to Portland, loaded up and headed back to Chicago. Friday and Saturday, I looked around but I couldn't find any of the people who had taken the train to Oregon. Maybe I spent too much time attending seminars on those days. There may have been an article in the ON sometime after the 2001 Rally but I don't remember reading anything about the train trip.

    Late Saturday evening, after the closing ceremonies at Redmond, I managed to find a rider who had taken the train West. I asked the fellow about the trip and he was rather noncommittal about the whole affair. He would only tell me that he was glad he hadn't booked the return trip. He was going back East on his bike! That was the only comment that I've heard about the "Redmond Rally Train." I've since heard that comments were made about the train trip on the 2001 rally page after the rally but I didn't get a chance to read them.

    Is there anyone out there in BeemerLand who actually travelled ON the rally train who might like to share with us their opinions, pro and con, about the planning, cost and operation of the whole rail endeavour. e.g. How much did it cost you....where did you board....did you do the roundtrip....were you happy with the planning and organization....what was your accommodation on the train (coach seat or sleeper?)....how about the meals on board Amtrak....what about the Amtrak crew....was it a pleasant rail journey....what was the reaction of your fellow onboard BMW riders....were they happy....and, perhaps most importantly - WOULD YOU DO THAT SAME TRIP A SECOND TIME??

    I'd appreciate any comments that "Redmond Rally Train" passengers could offer here on the Forum. Lead-ins like this might help in planning future cross-country rail excursions for BMW rally goers. Thanks for your assistance.
    ~ ~ ~ /5 Express
    Have Train? - Will Travel!

  13. #13
    On the Blue Roads RevWillie's Avatar
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    Unhappy the Redmond Rally Train....

    "Is there anyone out there in BeemerLand who actually travelled ON the rally train who might like to share with us their opinions"


    Well, SlashFive Tourer, I guess that I would be the best one to reply to your question.

    Yes, I did ride the Rally Train from Washington,DC to Portland and back to DC. again. Yes. I do have some opinions about the Rally Train: You see, I was the Rally Train Conductor. If you can find a FEB. 2003 copy of BMWON, you can read my article on the creation and operation of the Rally Train. I would like to think that most of the members who rode on the train enjoyed their trip, and for nearly everybody, this was about the only way they were going to get their bikes to Redmond. A side note: the "average" rider that rode the Rally Train put over a thousand miles on their bike during that week that they were in Oregon. The riders that rode the train were rested enough to enjoy the Northwest roads, unlike the riders that had slogged their Beemers all the way across the country.

    I am not going to recount the whole experience in this reply. Basically, the Rally Train was,and is,a good idea, but the transporting system (Amtrak) cannot or will not make it work. The railroad either treated us like kings or they forgot about us, which was a good discription of the differences in our out-going trip and our return trip. Amtrak now has the appropriate shipping pallets to carry our bikes safely, but they would not even talk to Gray Buckley or me about the possibility of having a Rally Train for the '04 National in Spokane (even though the Empire Builder goes right by the rally site!). Both Gray and I believe that Amtrak is in the process of killing-off transcontiental trains like the Empire Builder very soon,and they were not at all interested in finding possible business for those trains. We wanted a '04 train, but NOBODY would talk to us at Amtrak.

    The cost of the '01 Rally Train was:$584/person+$450/bike from DC, and$378/person+$350/bike from Chicago (Round-trip). We had originally planned on 205 passengers and 84 bikes on the Rally Train; we ended up with 53 passengers and 53 bikes on the out-going run, and seven less on the return run. The link from DC to Chicago was problematic, and we would have only loaded from Chicago if we had succeeded in getting the '04 train. Most train riders were ready to get off after 2 nights on the train, and that third night on the train was too much for the DC riders.

    Would I have done it again in 2004? Yes, I would have, and I think a lot of the riders on the '01 Rally Train would have ridden again as well. It was a good way to see the country while getting to know a whole bunch of fellow BMW owners. Unfortunately, Amtrak refuses to work with us and the dream of a Rally Train fades away along with the memories of transcontinental train travel.

    Willie Nichols (#03513)
    Onward, through the fog!

  14. #14
    Original 1973 LWB R75/5 TheSlashFiveTourer's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great information on the original rally train....Redmond 2001

    Quote from Rev. Willie: "Yes. I do have some opinions about the Rally Train: You see, I was the Rally Train Conductor."
    _________________________________________________


    HELLO REV. WILLIE!!

    First off, thanks very much for the quick response to my original inquiry about the 2001 Redmond Rally Train. It took you some time to type up and repeat a good portion of the information which was contained in your very good and informative article in the ON last February. I appreciate your courtesy!


    I'd been interested in the operations and technique of the Rally Train since early 2001 and couldn't figure how or why I'd missed your original article several months ago. I went looking for my FEBRUARY 2003 issue of ON so I could study your report before replying here on the Forum. It wasn't in the slipcase which normally holds my back issues! A diligent search of the house found the magazine hiding under a bookcase in the den - obviously unread! Don't know if it was one of the kids or one of the Rottweilers that did the deed!

    I've read your report thoroughly and you've answered all of my original questions. I had no idea just how much work was involved in the initial planning of the enterprise. Fortunate you had a couple of rider friends who were of great assistance to you. I remember reading various entries on the 2001 MOA Rally Page asking for details and particulars on the train trip. For several weeks, members asking for specifics were not getting answers from MOA. You could see general frustration in the printed word. I can see now why this was so. By the time AMTRAK gave you preliminary information during the first week of March 2001, a lot of the "interested" MOA members appeared to have given up on the possibility of a rally train trip and made alternate plans to attend the 2001 National in Redmond.

    Hats off to those MOA members who made the commitment and stayed the course. It appears they had an eventful rail journey and made some lasting friendships . As an old train buff, I think I would have enjoyed the trip - both ways! I live in British Columbia only 600 miles or so from the Redmond Rally site. I had toyed with the idea of signing up for the one-way trip, Washington to Portland. I was going to drive my /5 to DC, arrive in town the week before the train departure, spend a couple of days at the Smithsonian then ride the train to Portland. Things didn't work out, though, as the kids and the Rottweilers took precedence over a solo trip to Washington, DC in July of 2001. I did manage to get to Redmnond for the National and really enjoyed that site. Horse barn, Sheep Barn, North Sister, South Sister....lots of vendor space. (Needed more showers, though!!)

    I remember sitting in the Beer Tent on Friday night talking to a group of folks about the rally train. None of these people had been on the train but expressed an interest in taking such a trip if this first one worked out OK and wasn't too expensive. I did hear some of the "wimps-taking-the-train-to-the-rally" quips but I do believe that was just the normal huff n'puff, supported by a couple of beers, that one usually hears....on a Friday night....in the Beer Tent. Sound and fury, nothing more. As I sat there swilling down my third brew in the 130 decibel atmosphere, I would have preferred, at that moment in time, to have been sitting in the upper level of an AMTRAK coach rumbling across the dark prairie!

    Couple of points I'd like to clear up if I may. In your FEBRUARY '03 article, you mentioned that AMTRAK committed to provide "five 19-bike baggage cars" for the trip. Later in the article, the word "boxcar" was used several times to identify the car carrying the cycles. Did AMTRAK use regular baggage cars for the Beemers or substitute plain old side-loading "boxcars" for this task? The picture you showed on page 39 of the FEBRUARY '03 article shows only the one regular baggage car behind the A/B locomotive units of the 'Capitol Limited' before departure from Washington. It would make an interesting picture to see a couple of regular freight cars hanging on to the tail-end of an AMTRAK passenger train! I guess it's done but I don't get a chance to see it up here in the Frozen North.

    Did any of the westbound crowd out of Washington and Chicago upgrade to sleeper accommodations (First Class) on the way to Portland or did the group stay together in coach for the three night? Your article indicates that the upgrade to sleepers was particular to the Eastbound group after the rallly. I'm just curious about the division of coach and sleeper choices of the group.

    The Chicago misadventures were amazing! Good thing you were looking out the back door and noticed the absence of the car containing the motorcycles. Had you left Chicago without it, the car would've been shunted to a siding and been lost for a couple of days until it turned up in Poughkeepsie, New York as a stray!

    Was the AMTRAK "Customer Service Specialist" actually on the train with the group between Portland and Chicago/Washington? If I read clearly, she was on board but not of any assistance to the group. Is that correct?

    One last point: How is it possible that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) allows the American national rail passenger service (AMTRAK) to operate on rails so rough that it shakes passengers out of upper bunks - especially on a "crack" train like the 'California Zephyr'?

    Oh, for the good old days when NORTHERN PACIFIC and GREAT NORTHERN ran their own passenger services, knew what they were doing in a highly competitive atmosphere and took GREAT pride in their railroad operations. You wouldn't have seen slipshod service like that in the Chicago operation back in the 40's and 50's before AMTRAK came on the scene.

    Thanks again for your article, Rev. Willie, and for the Forum response. MUCH APPRECIATED! Take care.
    ~ ~ ~ /5 Express
    Have Train? - Will Travel!

  15. #15
    On the Blue Roads RevWillie's Avatar
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    Hey SlashFiveTourer,

    Thanks for the kind words....I'm afraid that the RallyTrain became a obsession with me for a long while and I never could reconcile myself with the how things turned out. It was (and still is) a dream of mine that motorcyclists could load their bikes on a train and enjoy the company of other bikers while they watched the miles fly by as they sat in comfortable seats on a train. Unfortunately, my dream has crashed against the rocks of reality as I now realize that the roads & airport lobby have effectively wiped-out rail travel for most of this country. It was a great way for us to see a part of this country that you would not usually see, while not having to put in high-mileage days riding our bikes. Oh well, it was a good try at least.

    Let me answer some of your questions here:
    Did AMTRAK use regular baggage cars for the Beemers or substitute plain old side-loading "boxcars" for this task?
    They were boxcars with Amtrak graphics on them--they might have had a special cushioning on the wheels but they were shaped like boxcars.
    Did any of the westbound crowd out of Washington and Chicago upgrade to sleeper accommodations (First Class) on the way to Portland or did the group stay together in coach for the three night?
    most of the west-bound riders initially rode coach--we soon realized that First Class meant beds, free meals (with announcements about when you could eat), and free wine. The cost of upgrade didn't seem so high when we faced our east-bound trip.
    Was the AMTRAK "Customer Service Specialist" actually on the train with the group between Portland and Chicago/Washington? If I read clearly, she was on board but not of any assistance to the group. Is that correct?
    we didn't see much of our "Customer Service Specialist" on our return trip--she was too busy travelling with her son to be bothered by us and only interacted with us when she wanted to complain about us
    How is it possible that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) allows the American national rail passenger service (AMTRAK) to operate on rails so rough that it shakes passengers out of upper bunks - especially on a "crack" train like the 'California Zephyr'?
    good question- my wife and son were wondering the same thing as they got bounced around their room on their return on the Zephyr. One thing that I have learned is that passenger traffic is secondary to freight traffic in all ways

    I wish the railroads cared about passenger traffic, but they don't. I also wished airlines cared about their passengers, but they don't. Interstate public transportation in America has sunken to new lows and I do not see any movement to inprove the situation. I will enjoy my motorcycle as long as the insurance companies will let me, but I wonder what the future will be for the interstate traveller a few years down the line......
    Onward, through the fog!

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