Tom Murray who founded the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad has finally completed heavy negotiations with Wayne Rankin and Al Harper who will be taking the steam train company in Elbe over. As promised by the new owners, people can anticipate a completely new production for the upcoming season.
As expressed in a statement by the new owners, the conductors of the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad along with the Logging Museum will be offering more options than ever before. Over the past several weeks, Murray and the two men hashed out details. The outcome for the new owners, Al Harper, who owns two other historic and scenic railroads and Wayne Rankin who will serve as the president of the new company is some exciting things in the near future for the public.
In a press release, Rankin said that a number of exciting changes are coming. With 30 years of experience in business, as well as operations, Rankin had served as the executive director of the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad for the last two years. One changed mentioned by Rankin is that the word “scenic” is being dropped. Instead, the two men want to enhance and rebrand the enterprise profile.
Rankin added that the production for the upcoming season will be very different from what it is now. He and Harper are taking their combined knowledge to implement changes that will become the best practices for the new company. Having over 40 years of experience in the development and tourism sector, most people feel confident in what Harper brings to the table.
In support of new rides being added, payroll will actually double. Adding information was Meilee Anderson who serves as the director of sales and marketing. She said from the time that guests first visit the website until the time they actually leave Elbe, the experience will be new and exciting. She also said there are plans to run the train over Easter weekend, as well as every weekend starting in May. Then later on in the summer, the goal is to run the new Mt. Rainier Railroad between five and seven days per week. Once fall rolls around, the schedule will be cut back.
Initially, the railroad was operated by volunteers, which meant that excursions were limited. By having a train crew that is actually paid will make it possible to increase the number of excursions offered, this according to Anderson. In addition to railroad changes, upgrades will be made to the museum, including interactive exhibits.
As Rankin put it best, preserving the collection and excursions of the historic steam train is the number one goal. As for the dollar amount involved in the sale of the now Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, nothing has been revealed.