A while ago I noted that tickets had gone on sale for the Virginia and Truckee’s Carson-to-Virginia runs for the coming year. Based on the strong ticket sales last year, they expanded the season greatly with a total of 46 days of steam this summer, and 46 diesel trips. I questioned whether all the people who were willing to pay $48 for a ticket had already ridden the train, and there wouldn’t be very many left for this year, now that the excitement had died down and nearly everyone had gotten their first ride in. Well Jim Lohse at the Virginia & Truckee Railway Reconstruction Analysis blog has trawled through the online ticketing system to gauge how well advance ticket sales are going. Turns out, not so well.
One thing about the online ticketing system is that it doesn’t just tell you if the trip is sold out or not, it also tells you how many tickets are still available for each run. Each run starts with 144 tickets, which is the capacity of the train with two coaches attached. Jim looked through every one of the 46 runs and found that all of them still had more than 100 tickets remaining. None were even close to selling out, including Opening Day on May 29th (9 tickets sold so far) and the Fourth of July (2 tickets sold so far). Kind of a tepid response. Now maybe people are just waiting, maybe it’s too early or the word hasn’t gotten out yet that tickets are on sale. Maybe as the weather gets warmer people will start thinking more about summery activities like this. Maybe after Opening Day gets some press in the newspaper people will perk up and buy tickets. Maybe out of town visitors just haven’t planned their trips yet. That’s a lot of maybes, though, and right now things aren’t looking so good.