The Roundhouse Podcast

130: Marketing in Rail Preservation

Marketing Rail Preservation

How can you market your tourist railroad, museum, or non-profit organization more effectively? Eric Mencis, Operations Manager for Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, Joey Bryan, Communications Manager for Nashville Steam Preservation Society, and Hal Raven, Owner of the Saratoga Corinth & Hudson Railway, discuss their approaches to marketing and advertising their businesses and organizations.

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This episode is sponsored by Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Services and Rail and Road Auctions.

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Question of the Day

When have you donated to a cause or visited a tourist railroad or museum specifically due to the marketing?

Let me know and I will respond to your comments in the next episode.

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About the Panelists

Eric Mencis has worked professionally in railroad preservation since 2008. Starting his career working concessions on the Durango & Silverton, while obtaining a degree in Tourism & Hospitality at the same time.  Eric has used his knowledge and degree for several different originations now, such as the Skunk Train, The Nevada Northern, the Maine Narrow Gauge and the Western Railway Museum. Most notable Eric is known for bringing fame to Dirt the Cat and seen first hand what Dirt brought to the overall business operations of the Nevada Northern. Now Western Maryland’s new operations manager Eric is currently developing a marketing campaign, customer service strategies and operations plan to take the railroad to the next level.

Hal Raven has been in the railroad industry for 26 years, beginning his career at the Batten Kill Railroad. Train and boats have always been a love of his, and his wife, son and daughter all love helping with their scenic railway and tour boat business on Saratoga Lake. In 2022, they began operating the Saratoga Corinth & Hudson Railway based out of Corinth NY.

Joey Bryan is a native of Franklin, Tennessee and spent his adolescence visiting No. 576 in Centennial Park. Joey is a preservationist, historian, and writer with a passion for saving America’s industrial heritage. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Alabama in 2012 and a M.A. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015. While at MTSU, he worked as a research assistant at the Center for Historic Preservation.

In the summer of 2013, Joey interned at the Virginia Museum of Transportation during the kickoff of the “Fire Up 611!” fundraising campaign. He worked for the museum the following year as Assistant Communications Manager assisting with social media, marketing, and media relations during Norfolk & Western 611’s first excursion season. Because of his involvement with the 611 restoration effort, Joey wrote his master’s thesis on the economic and interpretive benefits of collaborative partnerships between railroads and non-profit organizations for the operation of steam-powered excursions.

Joey’s ties to Nashville railroading date back to his great-grandfather who worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway as a clerk in the general office building on Broadway. Joey also serves as Historian & Communications Manager for Nashville Steam.

2 thoughts on “130: Marketing in Rail Preservation

  1. Linda Jensen

    Hal is bringing the people in successfully through Facebook, email and the enthusiastic knowledgeable attendants on board. Ours ,in the Pullman car was over the top and could answer all of our questions . She is definitely a walking advertisement ,loved her.

    Seeing riding the train was a bucket list experience ,once your Snow Train excursion was viewed on Facebook,I immediately said “interested “ .My cousin in CT saw it and said she was interested. Immediately ordered 4 tickets so that I could include others .

    The weather cooperated ,was very cold ,blustery ,lots of snow coupled with the camaraderie of others in our car made for an extraordinary trip.Great lunch with warming soup.

    I agree that word of mouth is huge, had several friends as well as my son in CT want to schedule a ride for his family when he is here in VT.

    Shares were sent to many along with personal pictures taken this past Sunday .
    In fact that cousin sent me this podcast.

    Just hearing the 4 of you sharing your ideas is so constructive.
    I agree that putting it out there at just the right time is key ,not too soon or last minute .You can glean so many ideas from each other.

    Just being able to keep the beverage glass keeps the next trip front and center in my cabinet. Open the door and plan our next trip.

    Thank you from an ordinary gal who had not been on a train in 30 years.
    Linda in VT


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