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The dream of establishing a luxury train service between The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia and the nation’s capital has ended in an auction of nine rail cars and other assets.
The Greenbrier Express cars were sold Thursday in Pottstown for amounts ranging from $135,000 to just $10,500, The (Pottstown) Mercury reported.
Some of the cars had been gutted down to the aluminum and steel floors and arched roof, while others still had elements of dining cars and sleepers.
Resort owner Jim Justice had hoped that the train would help boost The Greenbrier’s occupancy rates and bring back the glamour of rail travel.
But Ross Rowland, Greenbrier Express president and CEO, said cash flow issues due to the recession and falling coal prices doomed the project.
Retired Lockheed-Martin engineer Richard Stewart sat in one of the booths Thursday morning, but decided against bidding.
“It’s not what I’m looking for,” said Stewart, who said he hopes to tour the nation by rail with his wife in a private rail car. “I’m looking for a car that’s finished.”
Roger Lehmann came to look for anything of value to the Colebrookdale Railroad, a planned excursion line between Boyertown and Pottstown, but also elected not to bid.
“They’re the wrong era,” he said. He said the cars are from the 1950s and 1960s and the Secret Valley Line is aiming for a turn-of-the-century motif.
Lehmann, who did buy some tools for his work crews, said he was amazed at how little some of the cars sold for.
“Just the steel in these cars is worth more than $10,000,” he said, adding that selling the cars for scrap “would be a crime.”
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