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vide food that is finished and/or served by railroad personnel; or C) hire a chef, create a food storage area, and build a full kitchen to do all the food preparation, service, and cleanup internally (for B and C, the railroad will enter the restaurant business). To as- sist in making this decision, answer these questions: If A: 1) What restaurants or caterers would consider contracting with us? (List) 2) For each enterprise listed above: a) How much will they pay or charge per dining guest? b) What is the agreed-upon minimum number of guests? c) What is the penalty for non-perfor-

mance? d) How often will they want to operate, and for how many months? e) How many “turns” (boardings) will they want per night? f) How much control will they want over the design of the interior of the equipment? g) Who will serve liquor? (Note: Will the

state liquor control authority allow a non- owner of the equipment to hold the license?) h) If “Yes” to g, what additional licensing

and insurance costs will be incurred by the railroad? See BACKGROUND 8 above. i) Will they require a lounge car? See BACKGROUND 10 above. j) Where will the train board? Restaurant personnel: __________. Guests: __________. k) Is the restaurant/caterer allowed to ad-

vertise his/her establishment on the train? Elsewhere? 3) Will the railroad have sufficient crews

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A wide region of Central Illinois is presented by the co-authors, R. R. “Dick” Wallin and J. David Ingles. This 144-page, all-color book boasts more than 350 pho- tos on 21 roads, plus chap- ters on Passenger Specials, Springfield Towers, Campaign Trains, and Detouring Trains. Arail map designating the area covered is featured. There are first-generation diesels - 55 models from four builders, and everyday steam on four roads, plus electric operations on the Illinois Terminal. It’s all here!


to protect the service? How will federally- mandated “rest” affect scheduling? 4) What is the total estimated cost of ac- quiring/restoring needed dinner train equip- ment (with and without power car): a) If contracted to a third party? b) If accomplished by railroad volunteers? c) If b, how long would it take to get equip- ment operational? 5) Can dinner train equipment be put to

other uses when dinner train is not operating (stationary diner, party car, charters, etc.)? If B, all questions under A, plus: 1) How much would the caterer charge per head? 2) What will be the estimated total cost of a ticket? 3) Do we have marketing data to indicate

that at this ticket price we will attract suffi- cient guests to make the operation prof- itable and sustainable?


4) How will reservations be handled? 5) Will the railroad provide glassware, plates, etc.? At what cost? 6) What is the estimated annual net in- come from the dinner train? 7) Does the railroad have sufficient volun-

Jim Shaw

Take advantage of either of these two new hardbound books featuring railroad photography and history at its very best. To receive your copy just send your order to the address below or call the number below. Each title is $59.95 and if ordered direct we take care of the shipping (U.S. only). Foreign shipping/handling, $21.00; Canada $12.00; California res. add $5.25 sales tax. Don’t miss all the action!

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teer and management personnel to take on this task? 8) What are the liability/insurance impli- cations of food service? With alcohol added? If C, all questions under A and B, plus: 1) Can we come up with a full time opera- tion to justify the expense? 2) If “No” to 1, how do we employ talented people for just a couple of hours a week? 3) Who do we already know that we can trust to set up a complete food program?

Planning Approach To determine if/how to move forward, the Project Manager will need to answer the fol-

lowing questions: 1) Who are potential restaurant operators? A) Using all available sources (telephone directories, personal contacts, newspaper ad- vertisements, etc.) identify potential partners. B) Contact local/regional restaurant asso-

ciation. C) Contact and schedule an appointment

to meet with restaurant operators who ex- press an interest. D) Solicit a detailed proposal from each interested restaurateur.

2) What are their requirements? A) Equipment (table car, kitchen, lounge, décor, power, other [list])

B) Length of trip C) Operating Season D) Point of origin E) Seating capacity

F) Handicapped accessibility? G) Days/week H) Trips/day

3) Who will be responsible for: A) Advertising and public relations B) China, glassware, and silver C) Equipment cleaning and servicing D) Equipment maintenance E) Food and beverage provisioning and preparation

F) Insurance

G) Licenses (food and beverage) H) Linens

I) Menu preparation J) Staffing

K) Reservations L) Table linens M) Garbage Removal

4) What is the railroad operating plan: A) Supervision B) Train Schedule

C) Equipment servicing & maintenance D) Train and engine crews E) Other activities not performed by restaurant operator

F) Number of volunteers needed G) Identify the railroad’s single point of contact with the food supplier. 5) What are the projected revenues and expenses for the railroad:

A) Fare basis (per person, per head, etc.) B) Projected customers or trips C) Total projected revenue D) Expenses (Items will depend upon BUSINESS ALTERNATIVE adopted) 6) Railroad equipment plan: A) Equipment required

B) Total cost, including purchase, material and contract labor C) Volunteer hours required D) Projected completion dates 7) Railroad facilities requirements: A) Train parking

B) Ticketing/Check-in Facilities C) Train servicing area D) Electric standby service Equipped with the answers to these ques-

tions, the people charged with developing a business plan for a dinner train should be able to create a Vision Statement and Overview for the operation and define the objectives, describe the operation, outline the means of evaluating its success, and cal- culate a budget and forecast for the train(s). Thanks to Michael Fox of the Midland Railway for submitting the group’s original questionnaire, and to Art Single of the Adrain & Blissfield Rail Road Dinner Trains at Blissfield and Charlotte, Mich., and Fen- ner Stevenson of the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Dinner Train in Iowa, among the

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