Another Anschutz Adventure

Billionaire Philip Anschutz is planning to launch a new venture involving luxury train travel that has some analysts questioning its viability in the current economic climate.

The proposed American Railway Explorer, with its restored fleet of vintage train cars and cruise ship-like amenities at top-tier prices, will offer travelers four- to 11-day vacations on four U.S. routes, according to the Denver Post.

At prices that range from $900 to $1,500 per person per day, travelers will experience luxury sleeper car accommodations, chef-prepared meals in the dining car, access to lounge and observation cars and guided day trips at various stops, the paper said.
The trips will reportedly originate in California and travel to destinations including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Boston.

Travel analyst Harry Harteveldt of Forrester Research in San Francisco told the Post the concept could be too limited in its appeal.

“Nine hundred dollars a day is very, very precious,” Harteveldt said. “I have to wonder if they’re not going too high-end. My concern is that this is so expensive that it makes it something for really an extremely small audience.”

However, travel researcher Peter Yesawich of marketing firm Ypartnership in Florida, said the proposal is a sign that wealthy patrons see the economy as improving.

“We’re seeing a very gradual renewal of interest in luxury-travel experiences,” Yesawich told the Post. “Prior to the recession, lots of companies flourished selling those experiences. We’re beginning to see that level of demand reappear, but very gradually.”

The American Railway Explorer is reportedly scheduled to launch next summer.