Dominion Rail Voyages,
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost to charter MOUNT VERNON?
This is the the most frequently asked question; however, there is no quick and simple answer to this question.
A private car charter is designed to meet the specific requirements of the client, subject to any limitations imposed by the railroads. The client's cost to charter a private car reflects all of the car owner's costs of operating the trip for the client plus a lease fee for the client's use of the car.
MOUNT VERNON is based at Hanover Park (Whippany), New Jersey, on the Morristown & Erie Railway. A charter would include the costs of moving the car from that location to the point of origin of your trip; a charter would also include the costs of moving the car from the point of termination of your trip back to Hanover Park (Whippany) NJ.
As a general rule, it is not unusual for the typical private car charter to cost several thousand dollars (a range of approximately $1000 through $5000) per day, although the average cost per day may at times diminish somewhat for longer trips.
If you are seriously considering a possible
charter, please contact
us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and to provide
a cost estimate.
Where can we go on MOUNT VERNON?
MOUNT VERNON is available for travel in the United States and Canada. As a general rule, an occupied private car can travel on most trains and routes that are served by Amtrak and some routes that are served by Via Rail Canada.
Here is Amtrak's national route map. Note that connecting bus service routes are in green, while Amtrak train routes are in red. Note that Amtrak's Cardinal and Sunset Limited trains operate only 3 days per week, rather than daily.
Here is Via Rail Canada's national route map. Note that many of Via Rail Canada's long distance trains operate less frequently than daily service.
Private cars are not allowed to operate on certain Amtrak and Via Rail Canada trains:
- Amtrak's Acela Express and Regional trains in the Boston - New York - Washington northeast corridor. However, a limited number of other trains operating on this route do handle private cars; this are currently trains 67, 89, 51, 79, 91, 19 and 97 southbound and trains 66, 98, 20, 92, 80, 50 and 90 northbound.
- Amtrak's Vermonter between Washington DC and St Alban's VT.
- Amtrak's Autotrain between Lorton VA and Sanford FL.
- Via Rail Canada trains which feature a "PARK" series observation car as the rear car in the consist. At the present time, this includes "The Canadian" between Montreal and Vancouver, "The Skeena" between Jasper and Prince William, and "The Ocean" between Montreal and Halifax.
Some commuter railroads and transportation authorities will consider moving occupied private cars. In the New York City metropolitan area:
- Dominion Rail Voyages, in partnership with the Morristown & Erie Railway, can move MOUNT VERNON, operating as a special train, on most of the routes served by New Jersey Transit. New Jersey Transit will not move private cars on regularly scheduled commuter trains.
- Metro North Railroad will move private cars as a special train, but will not move them on regularly scheduled commuter trains. Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan is a particulary interesting place to host a stationary event on a private railroad car.
- Long Island Rail Road is unwilling to move private cars.
Railroads will not move occupied private cars on freight trains.
As a general rule, you can board or detrain a private car at any scheduled station stop. Neither Amtrak or Via Rail Canada are willing to delay their trains by making stops to board or detrain private car passengers at places other than scheduled station stops.
Where can we park MOUNT VERNON and spend some time enjoying that area?
Amtrak and Via Rail Canada allow parking of occupied private cars at most of their major terminals plus selected stations along certain routes.
Examples of stations where Amtrak will allow parking of occupied private cars are Boston MA, Albany-Rensselaer NY, Niagara Falls NY, Pittsburgh PA, Washington DC, Savannah GA, Tampa FL, Miami FL, Chicago IL, Milwaukee WI, St. Paul - Minneapolis MN, Sparks NV, St. Louis MO, Kansas City MO, New Orleans LA, Houston TX, San Antonio TX, San Diego CA, Los Angeles CA, Portland OR, and Seattle WA.
Although Amtrak does not allow parking of occupied private cars at their Pennsylvania Station in New York City, Metro North Railroad does allow parking of occupied private cars at their Grand Central terminal in New York City. Amtrak, in partnership with Metro North Railroad, will move private cars between Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal for a very substantial fee.
Examples of stations where Via Rail Canada will allow parking of occupied private cars are Halifax NS, Gaspe QC, Montreal QC, Senneterre QC, Jonquiere QC, Ottawa ON, Windsor ON, Winnipeg MB, Churchill MB, Vancouver BC, and Prince Rupert BC. Parking of private cars is not available at Toronto ON.
By using the car as your hotel at these destinations, you save the cost of accommodations at more traditional lodging facilities.
What is MOUNT VERNON's capacity?
For overnight travel, the number of beds is the limiting factor. MOUNT VERNON has six bedrooms, each of which has two beds. One of the six bedrooms is reserved for the crew's use. This leaves five bedrooms, a total of ten beds, for use by passengers.
For trips that do not require overnight travel, the number of seats is the limiting factor. There are 15 seats in the dining and lounge area. One bedroom is reserved for the crew's use, so the five remaining bedrooms can seat a total of 8 additional passengers during the daytime. Thus a total of 23 passengers is the maximum capacity for daytime trips. However, the smaller the number of passengers, the more attentive the service that can be provided. Our experience indicates that our traditional dining service works best with groups of 12 or less; furthermore, groups of this size can move about the car more freely to enjoy the open seating in the dining/lounge area as well as the relative privacy of the bedroom seating.
What if the size of my party exceeds MOUNT VERNON's capacity?
We are quite familiar with the equipment
and the reputation of a number of our colleagues, such as Virginia
Rail Investment Corporation, who make their
private cars available for charters. We will select an additional
car - or cars - to provide the capacity needed by your group. We will
serve as a general contractor, working with the owner(s) of the other
car(s), to coordinate your multi-car charter on your behalf.
We tailor our food and beverage service to the client's requirements.
If you have specific menu and beverage
preferences, or specific items you need/wish to avoid, please let
us know. We will be happy to work with you to tailor this aspect of
our service on your charter.
What is your policy on smoking onboard MOUNT VERNON?
MOUNT VERNON is a smoke free environment. No smoking is allowed anywhere inside the body of the car.
Passengers who feel the need to smoke may "light up" only while standing in the car's vestibule.
This policy is strictly enforced.
What is your policy on taking pets onboard MOUNT VERNON?
We will allow our charter clients to bring pet dogs or cats with them, subsequent to prior discussion and approval. Although we require the client to provide a dog/cat carrier, we do not require the animal to be kept in the carrier at all times while onboard the car.
Dog owners should note that railroad timetables, with their limited frequency/duration of scheduled station stops on some routes, may prevent dogs from being exercised and obtaining relief for many hours at a stretch. In addition, Amtrak and Via Rail Canada do not allow uncaged dogs in their stations; as a result, it may be impractical for dog owners to board/detrain with their dogs at certain stops which require passage through the station facility to the tracks.
Charter clients who want to bring pets with them will be required to provide a $250 cleaning/damage security deposit in case the animal has an accident onboard or damages the car. If there is no clean-up required and no damage to be repaired, the cleaning/damage security deposit will be refunded after the completion of the charter. Note that the charter client's liability for all necessary clean-up and repair is not limited to the $250 cleaning/damage security deposit.
How much advance notice is required to charter MOUNT VERNON?
We would like to have sufficient time to plan the many details of your charter to ensure a memorable experience.
Amtrak requires private car owners to submit their movement request a minimum of 10 business days in advance of departure. Via Rail Canada requires more time to process private car movement requests, as they require a formal signed contract between Via and the private car owner.
Since there are many other factors which
make a successful charter, we require a minimum of 45 days
advance notice to work with you and the host railroads to plan your
Here is our cancellation policy.