Columbia Star Dinner Train taking reservations for July opening

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | 3:40 p.m. CDT; updated 1:39 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Star Dinner Train is now accepting reservations, with the grand opening ride set for July 15.

The year-round train will depart at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A brunch train will depart at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays.

The ride lasts two-and-a-half to three hours.

"As with any attraction that we get, we have high expectations. We hope this will attract people from all over the state of Missouri," Amy Schneider, interim director for the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said.

The chef prepares a four-course meal, which passengers select prior to boarding. The menu is updated monthly. Current dinner options include chicken, salmon, prime rib and stuffed portobello mushrooms and risotto.

Tickets for the dinner ride cost $69.95 per person, not including tax, gratuity and drinks. The brunch train tickets costs $49 per person, not including tax, gratuity and drinks.

The train can be reserved for private events, with a maximum of 224 passengers.

"Since we’ve known it’s coming, there has been buzz throughout the city and throughout the state," Schneider said. "I think it’s going to go really well."

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Richard Saunders June 21, 2011 | 5:26 p.m.

Now I'm reminded of why I spend as little as possible within the city limits.

The poorest people in town (as well as the not so poor) cannot get a bite to eat themselves without first having to subsidize this 'Meals on Wheels' form of welfare for the affluent (those who can afford $70+, but for some reason can't afford whatever the real cost would be).

If this was a "good idea" then it would pay for itself, and the project would've attracted private financing. To steal in order to fund it is absolutely unconscionable. But then again, so is most of the actions of this criminal cartel.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 21, 2011 | 8:44 p.m.

@The train can be reserved for private events, with a maximum of 224 passengers."Since we’ve known it’s coming, there has been buzz throughout the city and throughout the state," Schneider said. "I think it’s going to go really well."

And, what about the disabled passengers? Say, even disabled Vets who fought for our country?

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 21, 2011 | 9:40 p.m.

D. Crockett - I know nothing about this new business that has chosen our city to start up a new, profitable, enterprise, except what has been read here. The great lengths, they have gone to, are obvious.

I have been curious as to why, the immediate outcry about disabled customers, not being provided for. Do you and the others have a constituency that is dying to spend 70 bucks to eat on the way to Centralia and back? My hope is that the business will succeed. If they are not profitably able to accommodate disabled folks, must they fail?

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 21, 2011 | 10:05 p.m.

It has already failed, if it has not met the needs of all citizens fairly and with same opportunity given all to access for use with opportunity to buy ticket to said access. Not all successes are monetary in value, but are of humane and equal opportunity, as well. That said - then the answer to your question of monetary success - it could be a failure, yes.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 22, 2011 | 8:26 a.m.

Delcia - As expected, more pie in the sky, heaven on earth for all, through regulation, rhetoric.

You seem to have missed it, but "dinner trains" excluded, most of the benefits we now enjoy were created with "monetary" gain in mind. This premise, capitalism, has created more wealth for more people than any other in the history of the world. Your statements smack more along the lines of, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". If one group can't benefit, none should. In my opinion, quite sad.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 22, 2011 | 10:50 a.m.

Sad that money would be only objective of anyone in customer satisfaction/service of any enterprise. "People" people know that the more people you serve, and serve fairly and well, the better your business looks to all who will arrive and be served. Sad that anyone would overlook the needs of all those who would/could be served, but sadder still - those excluded from the train, or anything else because of neglect of any "money grubber" to notice/include to make even more money and more people satisfied customers.

: )

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 22, 2011 | 11:49 a.m.

Spin it however you wish, your lament is that disabled are not accounted for, without consideration whether or not the service is needed, or wanted by those concerned. This enables you to decry these entrepreneurs, as greedy, money grubbers interested only in Profit, as did the author of my previous quote, Mr Marx. Still, as in previous post, quite sad.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 25, 2011 | 11:14 p.m.

Your words:

"You seem to have missed it, but 'dinner trains' excluded, most of the benefits we now enjoy were created with 'monetary' gain in mind."

Your conclusion.

: )

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 25, 2011 | 11:18 p.m.

The disabled should always be considered. :)

There have been comments made that, too, the dinner train could include the disabled access in the future.

Maybe this could be a wake-up call that, in the future, the disabled customers/consumers would/should be considered right along with the others from the beginning of anything that goes for the public to use.

: )

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 26, 2011 | 6:36 a.m.

@ Frank Christian:

I recall my junior high English teacher, Miss Dorothy Hall, who cautioned her students that disorganized writing can be a symptom of a disorganized mind.

I'm certain Miss Hall has gone to Heaven and is busy teaching everyone up there how to diagram sentences.

If this dinner train survives its initial "newness" (attempts elsewhere haven't always been successful; some ventures have gone broke) I'm sure provisions can be made to accommodate the disabled. After all, there are passenger trains operating around the world, and one assumes that some form of assistance is available on them. I don't recall seeing special provisions on European or Canadian (VIA Rail) trains but I wasn't looking for them.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 26, 2011 | 8:33 a.m.

I tend to discount the griping to envy more than anything else.

Why are you picking on the train? Can you go to the top of the Pinnacles, a public park north of Columbia? Can you get into all the buildings in the district? Can you climb a tree in Stephen's Park? Can you travel the KT trail where the gravel is deep and loose? Are there some bars you can't get into? Why is there no braille section at the local Gentleman's Club?

There's a lot of things I can't do either, mainly because of my age and the fact my wrists are shot.

I hope the train is profitable (first) and can eventually provide for as many folks as possible. Griping notwithstanding, businesses (especially startups) do not have unlimited cash. They start by serving a much larger core constituency willing to pay for their product, make money, and then seek even more patrons.

Patience is a virtue. You'll get your wish.

I've found that folks who don't like people telling them how to spend their OWN money are generally not reticent about telling others how to spend theirs.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 26, 2011 | 9:56 a.m.

Braille at the local gentleman's club? Michael, you are a very humorous fellow!

Your last sentence is also a gem. You have described both Congress and the present occupant of the White House.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 26, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

You have reminded me of a state run recreation area near the beach around Cape Cod, in MA. Only building, an apparent snack bar, was closed for season, but of possibly 20 parking spots about 1/2 were reserved for disabled. Not so bad until we noted that the beach and surf were at the bottom of a 20 (at least) ft. bank navigable only by slip/sliding down a sandy path which my wife, of able body, decided not to attempt. Isn't something wrong with the picture?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 26, 2011 | 1:41 p.m.

"I tend to discount the griping to envy more than anything else."

Stop with the parking envy!!!(Or I will have to disable you.)

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 26, 2011 | 10:23 p.m.

Ah, but improvement upon anything is not negative energy spent as would be in "griping" or finding fault - instead of working toward the good of all.

Access for disabled is a definite improvement on anything used by the public.

Speaking up for the disabled only brings more improvement for any service or traveling opportunity afforded to anyone.

Perhaps if one is not disabled, then one does not see the full benefit of the improvement brought by access - but one could, at least, understand the necessity that such access be available, same as to those not disabled.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 27, 2011 | 7:09 a.m.

See my above post on this topic. Do either MU or Columbia College offer remedial courses in English grammar and composition? Of course such courses would be of little value if we need to bring prospective students to them while the prospective student is kicking and screaming.

And, Michael Williams, would this braille library at the gentleman's club offer Leo Tolstoy's "War & Peace" as one of their literary selections?

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 27, 2011 | 9:17 a.m.

Delcia Crockett - I have expounded elsewhere about the great benefit afforded those choosing the liberal path, in life. Only they seem to have the "authority" to continually chastise all of the others for not "working toward the good of all", while, without ever, once, having concerned themselves with, as is often the case, in these matters, the waste of money that belongs to someone else.

As a ruthlessly, frugal, conservative,my thought centers on the "waste". Waste, goes in the can or down the drain. The money spent on, working for the good of all, is never wasted. It is always transferred from one pocket to another. The money borrowed by our Federal Gov't., for these transfers now totals over 14T$.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 10:26 a.m.


As I envision it, the braille section at the local gentleman's club would have nothing to do with touching lumps and bumps on books.

I believe this argument about the train is NOT about accessibility.

It's about luxury. And 70 bucks per.

And envy.

Why do I think this? Because no one is griping about the myriad other places in this locale that are inaccessible and have been that way for decades or more. That makes this train issue a cause celebre for something else.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 27, 2011 | 11:53 a.m.

Send it to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 27, 2011 | 1:07 p.m.

Just for the record, I am a frugal Conservative, so much so that I have been cited as being Ultra-Conservative on many an occasion by those who know me and have an inroad into my life.

However, I also consider my fellowman and have compassion and consideration for all concerned.

Also, I have been cited as being one of the most practical human beings to ever walk the good earth. It is practical, in every business sense of the word, to include the disabled, therfore providing customer service in business for as many customers as possible, so that would include all who can pay the tab.

Even on a dinner train that goes to Sedalia and back.

Please try not to go overboard in labeling all people who disagree with you a Liberal. Thank you.

I, for one, am not a Liberal, and never have been, never will be - and yet I think that every person deserves an equal chance to anything that goes public.

For what that is worth, take it or leave it.

: )

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 27, 2011 | 1:40 p.m.

Since all I have with which to judge, are your comments around here, (nothing I have read could be considered conservative or practical by anyone I know.) I wrote about the "liberal path". I did not paste a label on you. Your reaction, however, is in line with those on "the path". I believe I'll "leave it".

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle June 27, 2011 | 1:59 p.m.

Here's some toilet paper to clean up Frank's last post.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 27, 2011 | 2:27 p.m.

"Even on a dinner train that goes to Sedalia and back."

The dinner train in question runs from Columbia to Centralia and back. As the article says, the unit was FABRICATED in Sedalia (then a major railroad shop) years ago.

Maybe we should include reading comprehension in our list of possible remedial subjects.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger June 27, 2011 | 2:35 p.m.

@Frank. Ms. Crockett writes, " I also consider my fellowman and have compassion and consideration for all concerned."

And somehow you, Frank that is, consider this to be "on the path" to (shudder) liberalism? I guess we can forget all that hoo-hah about "compassionate conservatism" that was so much the rage with former President Bush and his minions.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 27, 2011 | 3:05 p.m.

Send the compassionate to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 27, 2011 | 3:40 p.m.

Hank - They all "consider my fellowman and have compassion and consideration for all concerned.", when they are verbalizing the need for someone else to spend their money for "the good of all". Or, hadn't you noticed?

I have written more than once about the suspicion of W. Bush, among true conservatives,beginning with his promotion of compassionate conservatism. Rush was right again. Conservatives Are compassionate and need no adjectives to describe it. (The adjective bit is mine.)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 3:43 p.m.

Delcia: "However, I also consider my fellowman and have compassion and consideration for all concerned."

Me: As are most of us. But many of us tend to draw the line when someone is insisting (i.e., with legal enforcement) they know better than us how to spend our money....which is exactly what you seem to be asking the train operators to do. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

Delcia: "I think that every person deserves an equal chance to anything that goes public."

Me: We differ here. I see no inalienable right of entry given to ANY person just because a businessperson unlocks a door for business. I believe the business person has the right of ownership to say who comes in, who stays in, and who doesn't....just like you do with your own home. I believe the business person's right extends even to be discriminatory against anyone or anything.

Would it be stupid to do so? Yep. Would I patronize such a place? Nope. I'm a huge fan of market force and, in such an event it didn't work, I'm willing to live (but not patronize) with that. I have no inclination to legally force a business to put in handicapped parking places, or be handicapped-accessible, or allow smoking (or not), or no shoes, or no shirt, or no Goth or whatever, or no white guys, or no Irishmen, or no pants around your knees, or "women not allowed" or "men not allowed". In short, I'm comfortable with neglect and allowing all my peers to make similar decisions about whether to patronize or not patronize.

As for the train, I guarantee you that market forces will dictate whether the train puts in a handicapped-accessible dining car...assuming gov't and activists don't get involved first. I have no problem with you or anyone else trying to convince...through conversation or posting herein...potential patrons that the train should put in such a car and, if they don't, then please don't patronize.

But I have a real problem with you or anyone else forcing the issue legally. You don't own the train or any other business except, perhaps, your own. They do.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 3:59 p.m.

Delcia: "It is practical, in every business sense of the word, to include the disabled, therfore providing customer service in business for as many customers as possible, so that would include all who can pay the tab."

Absolutely correct statement. It IS practical. And it's stupid NOT to be as inclusive as possible.

Is being impractical a criminal or civil offense?

I do note your use of the words "as many customers as possible".

What does "as possible" mean to you? What if there is insufficient money to be as inclusive as you wish? Or time? What if your definition of "as possible" differs from others? Are you inclined to force your definition of "as possible" onto those who disagree with you?

As stated above, I applaud and support your efforts to convince ANY potential patron of ANY business to attend, or not attend.

But, to me, "convince" in this context and situation NEVER should involve a court or law. This is a patron issue and choice.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 27, 2011 | 4:17 p.m.

Hank - I was reminded of a comment by Jeane Kirkpatrick, former Democrat and Ambassador to the U.N., on one of the Wm. F. Buckley, political, TV debates, of long ago. "One can never identify liberals by what they say. One must find out how they vote!"

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 27, 2011 | 6:33 p.m.

Paul, several members of my family have already been to Iraq, and for several different times. Your turn now to go to Iraq; you are so impassioned by the need for all to go.


Rest: let the disabled on board the Dinner Train. Thank you.

Your resistance to their being allowed access to be on board is questionable, at best.


Have a Happy holiday 4th, too!

: )

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 27, 2011 | 6:35 p.m.

I put the capital H in happy just for Ellis.

: )

Watch for future errors placed just for him to find.

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle June 27, 2011 | 7:41 p.m.

Michael Williams writes: "But, to me, "convince" in this context and situation NEVER should involve a court or law. This is a patron issue and choice."
A hypothetical case: A small town of 400 people; 385 of them are Z ethnicity, who traditionally do not much care for ethnics Rs. Business owner (member of Z) decides the population might support a combo diner/bowling alley. But he refuses to allow Rs entry. Now, with only 15 of them, the Rs cannot support a diner/bowling alley of their own--nor do they have significant clout to change said owner's mind, and only a minuscule number (3, in fact) of the Zs side with the Rs.
Does business owner have absolute right to refuse Rs entry? If you're relying on market pressure, would you support jailing of Rs who tried to obtain a cheeseburger there all the same?
This is of course, just for fun.
Hmmm...we could adjust things, by making it the local doctor, instead of a diner/bowling alley.
Still, it's just a fun hypothetical. I wonder how societies might look with this sort of business absolutism?
(Frank, you need to call me a nasty liberal now. Get on with it.)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 8:34 p.m.

Tim: As stated, I believe no person has an inalienable right to enter an establishment just because a door is unlocked. A person does not give up the right to decide entry just because he/she decides to do business with others (i.e., the public). You, too, choose with whom you associate, and I do not believe I have any business telling/forcing you to change your habits, no matter how despicable you may be with your actions. Going "public" changes nothing. I consider your business is just like your say who comes in, and who does not.

INO, I consider that you have an inalienable right to say who comes in your home and who does not. Same thing businesses.

Personally, I'd take up fishing instead of bowling. But perhaps you think the town would be better off just closing down the diner/bowling alley. The latter might make you feel better but, of course, nothing will have been accomplished except more....hate.

This is an educational thingie, not a legal thingie. Always has been, always will be. Legal action simply kicks the can down the road for future generations to....not enjoy.

You can lead a horse to water........

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 27, 2011 | 8:44 p.m.

Tim Trayle - "But he refuses to allow Rs entry." Did not study Mikes comments, but don't believe he recommended refusal of entry, only that it basically should be the owners right, but stated he would never trade at a place that did so.

You, as seems to be the usual case, changed the scenario from the omission of expensive equipment and construction for potential customers that may never appear, a business decision that must be decided in one fashion or another in every new business; to one of a prejudiced, hate filled owner who arbitrarily decides to exclude a group he/she dislikes from his establishment. I'm wondering if you know what "marker pressure" means. In my estimation, not fun,but, yes it's the liberal way.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 8:46 p.m.

Delcia says, "Your resistance to their being allowed access to be on board is questionable, at best."

Questionable? How? Please don't make assumptions derived within your own mind about me or others.

I have NO resistance to ANYONE being allowed access. It's just that I leave that decision to the train owners on if-and-when they decide to do such a thing.

I do not wish to kill an immature goose just because it didn't deliver the egg I wanted. However, if the goose doesn't eventually start delivering the desired eggs, I just might quit feeding it.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 27, 2011 | 10:12 p.m.

@ Michael Williams:

Your argument is rational, but rational arguments tend to work more effectively when addressed to rational people.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 27, 2011 | 10:16 p.m.

What everyone forgets is the visceral and long-lasting reaction that comes from being forced to do something you do not want to do.

For example, Tim and Delcia, what would your reaction be if I legally forced you to do something you really didn't want to do? Would you simply say, "Well, Michael was right all along, good fellow he is for showing me the error of my ways"?


And what is good about my reaction in such a situation (forcing you to do something). Smugness at "winning"? Beating you? "Haha, showed them" or somesuch false sense of self-satisfaction for "being right"?

Oh, I'd get my way (and jollies) alright. But it's a short-lived victory in a battle where I actually lost the long-term war. Who wins when you hate me for a thousand years?

As stated, this is an education problem, not a legal one. Such behaviors as we are describing here would have died of their own obscene weights.

Instead, it's worse.

And we'll be arguing the same things a hundred years from now. Well, you and I won't. But our great-grandkids will.

Nice legacy from a VERY selfish generation of baby-boomers and their kids.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 28, 2011 | 7:49 a.m.

@"Here's some toilet paper to clean up Frank's last post."

Now, that's funny!

Thanks for the comedic relief from bantering against those who would oppose disabled people being kept off the Dinner Train - or should I say "forced off"?

: )

Poor Ellis - best to agree with him and bring him a compliment at preliminary of each post, or he holds you eternally accountable to him online. Naw, on second thought, letting him know when you honestly disagree with him is just about right.

A laugh a minute!

: )

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 28, 2011 | 7:53 a.m.

Mike your analogy fits in the field too much taxation as well. When folks feel they are being "soaked", they find ways to avoid payment. These can't fathom this truth, either.

Tim, I meant "market pressure" in mine above.

(Report Comment)
Tim Trayle June 28, 2011 | 8:03 a.m.

Frank C: "You, as seems to be the usual case, changed the scenario from the omission of expensive equipment and construction... [snip]"
You're quite correct; I did change the scenario, in order to explore the implications of Michael Williams' advocacy of total private right over business, by using a hypothetica example to take that concept to its logical extension. In other words, I'm fully aware of what he wrote--I changed the scenario to examine what it *could* mean in practice. (Frankly, I don't really care if the rolling restaurant is made accessible. Selfish of me, but I realize that.)
Do we really want a society where private business has absolute right to decide entry in all cases? (We have had that type of society before, by the way.)
Frank, I think you *did* understand the purpose of my hypothetical (any semi-literate adult should be capable of understanding it), but instead chose to attack it purely to...well, be the character that is Frank C. Now I have to be frank as well: your reactionary natterings are tiresome and generally unhelpful because (a) you tend to jump into discussions that you don't seem knowledgeable about, and (b) you seem to polarize almost every discussion you enter into a "good" conservative POV, and a "bad" liberal one. Manichaeism is not helpful to mature discussion. Sorry to be frank, but there it is.
Oh yes: you had asked me to help you by defining "market pressure" for you. I would have thought you knew of the concept. In any case, in this example, "market pressure" would amount to the collective force of those who make decisions about whether or not to economically support a given establishment. It's a shame we have to descend to elementary definitional work to suit you, but, as I've said before, you are persistent, if uninformed.
(Yikes--this post has almost as snide and nasty a tone as many of yours! Leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Do you ever get that?)

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 28, 2011 | 8:04 a.m.

@"Because no one is griping about the myriad other places in this locale that are inaccessible and have been that way for decades or more."

Where have you been? Of course, folks have been trying to get things through for the disabled - that are easily accessible to others - from forever. The Dinner Train is just one more of those instances in which those who can speak up for the disabled do. That does not mean the ones who are speaking up for the disabled, are disabled themselves. If you know of a place not accessible to the disabled, then that is your choice not to speak up for the disabled - but be very sure that there are those folks who do speak up, and often.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 28, 2011 | 8:17 a.m.

I wonder how other prospective clients of the Dinner Train, throughout the state, will feel about this slight to the disabled. I wonder how other states will feel about this slight when the idea could be promoted to other parts of the country, as "a Mid-Missouri attraction." There are more than a few disabled people in this town, in this state and this country and they have friends and relatives who would include them in anything they do. If this is a "secluded, private business" endeavor, then that should be known, and not implicate the whole area in the advertising of it, nor even suggest that it will be open to all, when it is - in fact - not. That is the bottom line. Do the disabled get to ride, or do they not? The ones being forced, are the ones forced away - the disabled. The option/choice should be open to ride for all, if it is to fairly serve the public. I repeat, for those who just do not get it - that is the bottom line.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 9:03 a.m.

Delcia: "The option/choice should be open to ride for all, if it is to fairly serve the public."

"Should be"? Does that mean, "If it isn't, then put the train out of business?" I'm trying to discern the extent of your wish for influence over someone else's business. INO, how far will you take your advocacy? Should the train be forced to fail if your wishes do not come true?

Also, what's with this "fairly serve" business? So you think that when a person starts a business they become a "server" that must be "fair"? That they automatically abdicate their right to be a jerk? If your granddaughter starts a lemonade stand in your driveway, does she automatically inherit an obligation to "serve" and "be fair"? No, I don't think so. She can sell her lemonade to whomever she wants, and she doesn't have to smile one whit while she does it.

A smart businessperson WILL provide access to all potential customers. A smart businessperson will make customers happy. But, it is not illegal, however, to be stupid...yet.

When I walk into a store or any business, I believe I am there at the invitation and good graces of the business owner. I possess no inalienable right to be, or stay, there. Further, I possess no particular right of "happiness" while I'm in the store. For example, if I am invited into a store...but smell scented candles (which I abhor)...then the store owner has made me unhappy and I will leave. Same thing for bad food, or bad service, or they-don't-have-what-I-want, or too cold, or too hot, or...whatever.

But I have NO legal right to enter that the owner's invitation...and then start demanding that I be made...and kept..."happy".

Of course, the owner would be stupid regarding my patronage for not making and keeping me happy. But, I do not consider he/she has any legal obligation to do so. He/she has the freedom to say "ok" or "no". I'm ok either way with that because it preserves his/her freedom to negotiate with me, and it preserves the same freedom for me.

But there are those of you who would preserve that freedom of association for yourself, yet take away the same freedom for another.

As for the train, the owners will be stupid if they do not eventually provide disabled-access. If they do...then GREAT! If they don't, I won't attend again. Such a posture preserves EVERYONE'S freedoms.

(Report Comment)
frank christian June 28, 2011 | 9:05 a.m.

Tim Trayle - I did believe that your changes were an effort to demonize the profit motive (business), as has been the line, here from the start, but now cannot imagine any other situation in which you might ask your question and must, then, admit my error.

Now then,"you had asked me to help you by defining "market pressure" for you." In my opinion, "I'm wondering if you know what "marke(t) pressure means", is not a request for help. Am I wrong again? Also, am left wondering why one who feels my "reactionary natterings are tiresome and generally unhelpful" would, in this instance, take the time to invite,"
(Frank, you need to call me a nasty liberal now. Get on with it.)" them. I can safely say, if not for this, you would never have heard from me, here. Our country is polarized, some say more than ever before. Left vs right is the source. How about communism vs capitalism? That you can espouse your leftist leanings, but then not accept the "label" that comes along, is not my fault.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 28, 2011 | 9:53 a.m.

Oh goodness. Who cares about the stupid thing? Do you really think that it is going to go over, taking three hours and seventy bucks to serve dinner? It's likely going to be shut down in a short time anyway.

Has anybody ridden on the thing? Does anybody have a plan to ride on the thing? Has anybody even considered making a plan to ride on the thing?

I find humor in the amount of hypocrisy that is apparent here.
First we have the alleged defenders of the "free market" defending this despite the fact that it is subsidized by their government. "The Columbia Visitors and Convention Bureau approved $45,000 in June 2010 from the Attraction Development Fund to help get the train from Iowa to Columbia." The same group of people who are constantly complaining about their taxes and how the government never found a tax that it didn't like and how the government only serves to screw things up are SILENT about this expenditure. Most likely because the business is thought to serve those in their favored economic group.
Secondly, those same people who are defending this are the same as the people who spoke derisively about their government spending any money on railroad infrastructure. They do not favor your government spending anything on a railway that might actually be used for personal transportation. They do not want modernization. They view that as a waste and say that if the "free market" could not provide it then it is not sustainable. Most likely this is because they perceive that it would serve those in an economic group that they disfavor. So while they are for subsidizing a rail to nowhere that only goes there slowly and at great expense, they are against subsidizing transportation that someone might actually use. They believe that the cost of operating an automobile will come down just as soon as those drillers start drilling again. Never mind the drilling that has been. That would deflate an argument.
In fact, they would probably say that the energy wasted by the train, each time it made a completely unnecessary trip up and down the same set of tracks, was needed and that some function of the "free market" had indeed ensured that this was the highest available use for such energy and that it was important to the American way of life and vital for the future of free enterprise to allow and encourage the continued waste of resources with as little government interference as possible.
I know that I wouldn't feel the same if I knew that there wasn't a train somewhere lumbering up and down some tracks at great expense for no apparent reason. We can't afford to let the Socialists take any sort of lead on dinner trains!!!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 12:12 p.m.


So I take it you do not believe the train will generate at least $620,689.66 in taxable sales revenue from...say...a 125 mile radius?

PS: No, I haven't ridden on it since it isn't running yet. No, I do not currently have a plan to ride the thing. Yes, I have not only considered making a plan to ride the thing, I WILL make such a haste. This sounds like fun.

I've ridden the train from Durango to Silverton, CO several times. It costs one helluva more than Columbia's train, too...without the dinner. I think Columbia's train will make GREAT B-day/anniversary gifts for family and friends. Hope it succeeds beyond all expectations. Save up your money and just might like it. Hope so, anyway.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 12:23 p.m.

Columbia has rocks in it's head if it doesn't figure out a way to help this railroad start/terminate in the district.

Within walking distance.

PS: Dang....I just KNEW we shoulda kept those old tracks.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 3:45 p.m.

Delcia says, "...those who would oppose disabled people being kept off the Dinner Train - or should I say "forced off"?"

Please show me ONE SINGLE POST in this thread where someone "opposed" access for disabled people.

JUST ONE!!!!!!

This whole sentence is an rhetorical effort in search of an unwarranted emotional response. Forced off? A senseless, baseless, absurd statement, indeed. You know better........

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 28, 2011 | 4:02 p.m.

You're probably right in your last analogy... well, you SHOULD be right in that... but that IS assuming a lot.

And then I wonder what is your position of the various high speed rail initiatives. Are you in favor of that?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 4:48 p.m.


I support high-speed rail for getting from a single origination point to a single destination....i.e., not vacations. I'd support it even more if this country wasn't 3K miles wide and 1.6K miles tall...this ain't Europe or Japan. And I'd be positively giddy if we had the money to pay for it. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

I don't see USers giving up their cars, tho. Rail of ANY type inhibits much of the "move-around" freedom many of us enjoy. For instance, if I wanted to JUST see Los Angeles, high speed makes sense. But if I want to see Bent's Fort, the Painted Desert, Durango-Silverton, the Sand Dunes, Canyon de Chelles, and the Grand Canyon while going to LA, high-speed (or rail of ANY type) makes little sense.

I also don't think rail of ANY type is compatible with current inventory management. It simply takes too long to get goods from one place to another by rail. 'Tis true some cargo lends itself to rail, and I'm supportive of rail for those products (coal, fertilizer, cars, etc.). But, for other just-in-time inventory cargo, nothing beats loading a truck on your own dock and expecting it to be unloaded at it's destination the next day...or 3 days from now for coast-to-coast deliveries. With rail, somebody has to hold a note for too long. Time is money.

As for me, I would have little personal use for high-speed rail. I like my ability to flip a coin, which decides whether to turn right or left. On a train, I only get to choose front or back and even that is length-limited. With my truck/car, I can go any place where friction happens and my nerves don't fail. I can drive through a town and decide to stop at the giant ball of twine or biggest gopher in the west. Why, I can even carry a boatload of groceries PLUS a chain saw for the farm, 4 sacks of manure, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a small pear boot.

Try THAT on a train.

Trains aren't for the independent-minded. Genetics, I guess.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 28, 2011 | 5:27 p.m.

We've been down this road before (in discussions). To understand the virtues of high speed rail in the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan, look at a damned map! (That is, look at maps to the SAME SCALE for those countries versus one to the same scale for the United States.) Even so, if in those countries they added one or two intermediate stops to their non-stop routes they'd effectively lose the benefits of higher speed.

There are a few corridors in this country where the concept might pay off, but they're damned few.

I'm guessing that if such a rail were built from one coast of the United States to the other we would find the cost of a ticket prohibitive, and could fly non-stop cheaper and faster (even with the hassle at the airports).

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 5:43 p.m.



I've ridden the higher speed rail in the eastern US where it DOES work well. The reason? Well, you inferred it quite nicely when you asked folks to look at a map.

High speed rail would work quite well if installed between Boonville, Columbia and Jeff City. It would also work well between Kansas City and St. Louis....without stops in between.

That's the stops in between.

Which, of course, negates the whole damned thing in a country as big as we are.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 28, 2011 | 6:23 p.m.

Agreed. We should also remember how railroad passenger traffic is often run. There are different classes of passenger trains. You can ride from Amsterdam to Frankfurt on a special fast train, with maybe one stop (Cologne),or you can take a slower train with more stops. You may need one of those stops, as your destination. The slower train won't have a nice dining car, but it will suit your trip requirements. All north bound trains out of London are not expresses going to to Scotland.

I've had nothing but good experiences with European and Brit trains. Same for Canada's VIA Rail. I'm not sure you could force me on an AMTRACK train. Maybe, if they ran on time...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 28, 2011 | 6:23 p.m.

Right, Mike. Every time I fly to California I always have the pilot stop for a few minutes so I can visit the Grand Canyon. I think next time I go I'm going to have him stop somewhere just outside of Las Vegas so I can get a quickie.

Could you please provide me with an argument that is a little more bogus than the one you just tried?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 10:45 p.m.

Hell, Paul. Why fly?

All I did was describe last year's trip with 2 grandsons.

They liked the Durango-Silverton train ride. Personally, I liked Monument Valley best. Bent's Fort was waaaaay cool and is heartily recommended.

Hard to do this stuff onna plane or train.

Some folks are in a hurry, I guess.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 28, 2011 | 10:49 p.m.

Yes, a quickie might help.

Nothing else is working.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 29, 2011 | 7:04 a.m.

Michael Williams:

Bent's Old Fort is definitely one of America's better historic attractions, even if it is only a recreation. Bent blew up the original fort in the 19th century. There is also a Bent's New Fort, but it's only stone rubble. You definitely need a car, yours or rented, to visit either.

Do you enjoy culinary experiences? Then another "fort" worth visiting is a restaurant, The Fort, located in the Denver metro area south of Golden. The restaurant specializes in wild game: bison, elk, bear, goose, duck, trout, salmon, etc.

Take CO 470 (super highway) south from I-70 (at Golden) to US 285 and go west to CO 8. Restaurant sits on a bluff. Bar drinks are to die for. Take credit card or lots of cash. International clientele.

[Do you think the local railroad diner restaurant will serve bison, elk, etc.?]

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 29, 2011 | 9:49 a.m.


No, I haven't been to The Fort, although I've shared many good meals in the area. I had a couple of clients in the CO Springs area that I did the "You choose, I pay" thingie. They usually didn't pick the cheap joints, lol.

Given the chance, Americans are travelers and dislike a lot of travel structure. Traveling by train can be fun (personally, the Trans Canadian interests me), but you have to pre-limit what you wish to see. With an auto, I can do or go anywhere! I can put a cooler in the back of the truck and stop at a pretty overlook to have lunch, I can pull over and lake a leak, I can turn down a gravel road in Mennonite country and see a dairy or mules working the fields, I can visit a Montana ghost town, I can drive through a redwood tree...geez, the possibilities are endless with a car. As for local uses, I was quite serious about the amount of stuff I can haul around in my truck...a multitasking vehicle if ever there was one...which I can't do on a bike or in a train.

In the US, bullet trains will work best where distances are not so great between the start and the destination.

For business uses, mainly.

PS: I do believe you are correct when you say ticket prices for bullet trains and air travel will be quite similar....with air travel being a somewhat cheaper if not more convenient.

Paul was griping in an earlier post that the Columbia train's energy usage does not justify the recreational outcome. Hmmm. Interesting way of judging the value of recreation and historic vehicles. Maybe we should perform this kind of analysis with other types of Columbia recreation that use energy...hmmmm, which ones?

But, I don't know who would referee such a discussion.

As for the Columbia train, so far no one has been willing to stick their neck out and say, "If they are not disabled-accessible from the get-go, then they should not be allowed to operate at all." Since those necks have not been stuck out, I can only conclude such folks do not agree with this statement, that they want to train to work towards such a thing.

If true, then all of us are in agreement and all these recreational posts should be evaluated as worthless because they used up too much energy agreeing with one another. :^)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 29, 2011 | 9:54 a.m.

"Hell, Paul. Why fly?"

"I don't see USers giving up their cars, tho. Rail of ANY type inhibits much of the "move-around" freedom many of us enjoy. For instance, if I wanted to JUST see Los Angeles, high speed makes sense."

Your argument against trains would apply even more to planes. But people use planes all the time and periodically the airlines even generate a profit. You inferred everyone's intended use for such when you started making an example of your automobile vacation. I don't believe any one form of transportation would completely replace any other. For instance, I was going to drive to Hawaii, but somebody talked me out of it. So now I am going to wait until they build a train...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams June 29, 2011 | 5:14 p.m.

My point is that the automobile gives folks the most choices and versatility.

'Tis true, planes, trains, cycling, ships and autos all have their merits and distractions. Going to Hawaii means boat or exceptions allowed. A bullet train is great for single destinations close together when time is of the essence (jobs/business)....not so much for cross country unless time is not a factor and you don't mind being limited to train-track views. Ships are destinations in their own right that entertain you while traveling to other water-bound places. Planes offer great versatility since airports and airplanes of ALL sizes exist all over the country. Cycling gets you to some places that no other mode of transportation can take you (mountain trails), but it's radius- and load-limited.

Cars/trucks can do most of it all on both regional and local levels. If friction is happening, you can go there, and loads are limited only by the trunk or bed size. They give the most freedom and versatility. On a national level, however, cars suffer from a time constraint. Of course, if you don't mind seeing out-of-the-way places and time is of no consideration, autos are the way to go.

I don't see USers giving up the versatility and freedom of their autos. With planes, cycles, boats, and trains, you can't stop at the store on the way home from work and get 100 lb of dog food, pay bills, go to the bank, pick up the kids, and get home in time for dinner.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 29, 2011 | 7:19 p.m.

I suppose that your thoughts are similar to those which kept St. Louis from becoming the largest city west of New York. People view things in terms of this vs that. In St. Louis the barge people fought vigorously to prevent a rail hub from being established near their precious river ports, fearing that the rails would divert their business rather than considering what business they could bring. So it got built in Chicago instead, which was a second choice and a smaller town at the time. The rest is history. I still see idiots getting on here and acting like the trails being built are going to endanger their use of their automobiles.
A high speed train system will eventually make it possible to travel great distances with a high amount of safety and little energy usage and little expense. How eventually that has to be depends in a small part on the ability for people to consider the whole picture.
Airports are most often located miles from the center of towns and cities. A person flying in to visit somewhere is essentially obliged to inconvenience someone, take an expensive cab ride, rent a car, or pay a hefty fee to park their own car at the terminal at both their departing and arriving location. From my historic perspective, I don't see any of those problems being abated. Still, this is an extremely popular form of transportation.
A high speed rail can take someone to the center of the city they are visiting, where they can walk so many feet and get on a shorter rail system to go to a more specific destination. In smaller cities like here they would use a bus instead.
I know that MO EX has a fairly good deal worked out for the Columbians, but there are many places much closer to the airfield that do not have that service, including many that are directly between point A and B, just as you complain about with the high speed system. Also, it is possible in places to use the same tracks for non stop trains and for trains that make several stops between the same end destinations.
Initially a rail system will have only a small advantage in terms of cost because it will be the newest system and because we still enjoy a relatively inexpensive and abundant supply of petroleum fuel. However, that will change and is changing as we speak. Given the timeline between the start and the completion of such a project and the amount of the same fuel needed to build it, we cannot afford to drag our collective feet any longer. I don't care how spiffy you find your automobile. It's not even in the equation, and it shouldn't enter into your thoughts when discussing this.

(Report Comment)
Gretchen Maune June 29, 2011 | 9:59 p.m.

For the guys that said they hadn't heard much about the train situation until this article, and hadn't heard complaints about inaccessible places around town, you must be living under a rock. There's been quite a lot of that going on lately and you might try to educate yourselves about the topic a bit more. The train is supposed to be accessible to people with disabilities because of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA is a civil rights LAW, not a suggestion. It is our society that is disableing to people with disabilities. Advocacy efforts to make places in our area more accessible to people with disabilities have actually been featured rather prominently in the news for the past couple of years or so, and, it might be worth your while to pay attention to it. People with disabilities form the one minority group that anyone can join at any time, and if/when it happens to you, you would fight for your right to access as well.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 30, 2011 | 9:40 a.m.

Right on, Gretchen. Here is an addendum to your observant posting- that caught my attention elsewhere posted, just now. And, BTW, kudos to those who defend those who should not be forced away from something made available to the public. May the tribe increase of you who defend the disabled!

: )

"According to their web site the train's first run is on July 15'th at 7pm. For the public's information the Disability Community is planning a formal demonstration at that time at the train yard itself."

(Report Comment)
frank christian July 1, 2011 | 12:31 p.m.

I wonder if the "Dinner Train" protesters have checked with those in Greece, whom feel that the necessary austerity cuts in government spending to keep that Gov't afloat are infringement upon their rights as well. These experienced demonstrators might have tips on improved rock and bottle throwing, etc. Or, will they just go with the local union organizers?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 1, 2011 | 1:16 p.m.

Does that mean Frank doesn't agree with the CVB giving the dinner train owners taxpayer dollars?

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 1, 2011 | 1:53 p.m.

They didn't bring in any bottle throwers as they weren't sure that Frank would be amongst the passengers. Good Catch John. Should we then say "Frank never saw a government expenditure that he didn't like"?

(Report Comment)
frank christian July 1, 2011 | 1:58 p.m.

J Schultz - They, (CVB)at least, are trying to get a new business started, with money earmarked for that purpose, rather than destroy one before it can leave the post.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 1, 2011 | 2:04 p.m.

Don't know, John, but I'm sure Frank will answer. However, when that first train shows up we need an employee clothing check. Is the material correct (according to our renowned expert)? Is the color suitable? Don't forget sleeve length!

This will allow an "optimal" permanent wardrobe to be designed. Vera Wang, eat your heart out!

So far as we know, train employees won't wear bullet-proof vests, but that could depend on how rowdy this "planned demonstration" turns out to be. :)

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 1, 2011 | 2:58 p.m.

Frank, and what of the business owner who didn't get subsidized by the CVB? Are you OK with the government playing favorites? I really don't care about the dinner train one or another (except the cost is more than I'm willing to pay personally), but I don't think Columbia should have given them money.

(Report Comment)
frank christian July 1, 2011 | 6:43 p.m.

JS - "but I don't think Columbia should have given them money." Then, take your complaint to the Council of the City of Columbia. Is the money not allocated to help start-up of new business in our city? See about defunding the Tourism Development Program, but don't seem to side with this concerted effort to destroy a new, interesting business, not even yet in it's infancy, because of a fictional complaint (which has been acknowledged and a correction promised) that someone's rights may be violated. The promised demonstration by the "Disability Community"reported here, by Delcia Crockett will, in my opinion be one of the most ridiculous, unnecessary gatherings I might imagine.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 1, 2011 | 7:13 p.m.

Frank, I think the money is probably correctly termed as slush fun that CVB doles out. I doubt that it is considered a business-creation operation; they're just hoping that enough people come from across the state to ride the train that the city makes it back in sales taxes.

(Report Comment)
frank christian July 1, 2011 | 8:17 p.m.

John - "they're just hoping that enough people come from across the state to ride the train that the city makes it back in sales taxes." Absolutely right! Why did you not see fit to mention the "payroll" taxes, income taxes, fuel taxes, etc. aside from sales taxes, which will be paid far and wide for equipment, food etc., etc.?

You still, have not mentioned those who have become the subject of this conversation, the "Disability Community", which, it seems is intent upon diminishing or destroying the success of this new business, purely for their own personal (dare I say, progressive, liberal) agenda.

Why not?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 1, 2011 | 9:09 p.m.

John Schultz: Frank, and what of the business owner who didn't get subsidized by the CVB? Are you OK with the government playing favorites?

A good case for demise of the University's business incubator project.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 1, 2011 | 9:47 p.m.

"A good case for demise of the University's business incubator project."

Will the university (deliberately not capitalized) be able to continue such projects in any case? No projects if no funding.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett July 2, 2011 | 9:58 a.m.

@"According to their web site the train's first run is on July 15'th at 7pm. For the public's information the Disability Community is planning a formal demonstration at that time at the train yard itself."

Addendum also: "On July 7th at 1pm in the new City Hall in Conference Room 1a there is to be an open public meeting between the local Disability Community and the Train Owners and the City Of Columbia. The concerned public is welcome to attend. Reports welcome too."

Both quotes from posts on Citizens for Change, Columbia forum.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 2, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.

Frank, most of the taxes you mentioned don't directly flow into the city coffers so I didn't consider them in the city getting reimbursed for its "investment" in the train. FYI, if I'm doing the math right, the train would need about 8695 passengers at the $69 rate for the city to get back the $45K that CVB spent.

As for the protesters who want the train to accommodate the disabled community, I don't have any problem with them speaking their mind to try to influence the public. I also don't have a problem with the owner running their business as they see fit. I'm not a big fan of the ADA and some of the lawsuit abuses that have occurred because of it.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 2, 2011 | 4:22 p.m.


In your calculations, please don't forget all the other things that train riders will probably do to generate sales taxable income for the city other than their train tickets. I see this train drawing from at least a 60 mile radius and perhaps even 125 mile radius. I had calculated 600+ dollars of taxable sales were needed to get back the 45K; your value is ca. 100K less, but both of us are in the same ballpark and I won't quibble. But, note that $45K contributed by the city was a one-time expense. The payback is...hopefully...a multi-year thingie.

I will agree, tho....taxpayer money for private business IS on shaky ground when you consider how many other businesses DON'T get any money (even the Blue Note's street closings fall into this category). I sure didn't get any money, but my main (and much bigger) competitor got millions from this city to stick around. Further, many private companies have to compete with various MU programs that accept research money from pharma and Ag and other performance of services like the vet school lab does. All of these activities compete with private businesses. Should UMC subsidize new startups just because the researchers don't know how start up? Well, what about Mary No-name who's trying to open a new clothing store? Who is helping her learn about marketing, bookkeeping, balance sheets, revenue, cash flow, taxes, hiring, firing, etc.?

So, I'm saying that the city WILL get it's money back, but you have an excellent point about WHY the city (or any gov't entity) should pay such money in the first place.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 3, 2011 | 1:05 a.m.

I am hoping the dinner train can stick around and not become a novelty that peters out in a couple years. I might check out the brunch train at some point in the future as that is more at my price point.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett July 3, 2011 | 1:13 a.m.

"Time will tell."

: )

(Report Comment)

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