What officials believe will be a slow recovery began in early March with the restart of service on the Texas State Railroad. Ridership the first three weeks, normally one of the busiest times of the year during spring break, was noticeably lower.
TSR began running a single train from Rusk to Palestine as promised by Iowa Pacific Holdings on March 4. Piney Wood Excursions on the vintage tourist railroad ran only partially full.General Manager Greg Udolph said the effects of an unauthorized press release distributed by the former marketing manager in late December, stating that the railroad had been closed and many of its employees fired, hasn’t helped. IPH refuted the release and said the railroad was taking two months off before resuming service in March. The layoffs were seasonal, the company said.
“There’s been so much bad press,” Udolph said. “I wouldn’t say (ridership) was significantly down, but I don’t have numbers now. Usually during spring break, we have pretty good trains, but they’re running kind of empty now.”