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Re: Rio Grande as a brand

June 11, 2011 10:00PM avatar
John West Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What I liked about your link is the message it
> sends about how strong a brand "Rio Grande" is.

AMONG RAILFANS and RAILROADERS, at least - obviously even in the far corners of the whirled.

> For the life of me I cannot understand those who
> feel that "Cumbres and Toltec" is a better brand
> for the C&TS.

Unfortunately, that's the legal name of the organization, and because of its unique bi-state status an Act of Congress would be needed to change its charter.

> [The Rio Grande name is] the one thing that
> the D&S failed to get from the old D&RGW.

Probably for the same reason that the D&RGW sold the branch in the first place - MARKETING.  The D&RGW wanted to be perceived by shippers as a modern transportation provider. Now that D&RGW is part of UP, the old name is no longer seen as a hindrance to marketing.

> Rio Grande and the public perception of the wild west just go together.

Yes - to many of our generation, and especially us railfans.  Without statistics it's just a guess, but doesn't the largest group of customers consist of families on vacation - folks that are much younger than us, John, and who missed the "Westerns" craze in the movies and on T-V in the fifties and sixties?   Of course the second largest group is probably almost our age: retirees looking for a more nostalgic (and comfortable) "adventure" - and with the new Tourist and Parlor Car classes the C&TS has begun marketing to them. But I really wonder if even among our generation the name really matters - except when they try to buy Rio Grande tickets on The Web, and get mis-directed to Alamosa, Durango or South Fork ...

IF the C&TS had some authentic (or at least more authentic-looking) passenger cars, lettering them D&RGW or Rio Grande might make more sense, but as the current fleet is clearly non-historic, isn't it better to not mis-represent them?   IIRC, the history oversight commission - whatever it's called - is insisting that the new visitors' center (if it ever gets built) does NOT resemble the historic structures so that the public is not confused as to what's "real" and what's not. Once again the argument comes down to just a few ounces of paint on the engine tenders - easily changed to D&RGW or Rio Grande for historic reenactments (i.e. charters)* but otherwise assisting the railroad via word-of-mouth advertising by its (hopefully)** satisfied customers.

- Russ

  * I would think that most charter operators would want the RR to use the C&TS / Cumbres & Toltec name for its daily operations - that would make the charters using D&RGW / Rio Grande more exclusive and worth a higher ticket price to attend.

** See [ngdiscussion.net] et seq - especially the 'et seq.'
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