All Aboard! Potomac Eagle Begins 2019 Season Under New Ownership

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad begins its 29th season on Saturday, May 11, 2019. This year brings some exciting changes, including more excursions, but most importantly new ownership.

Railroad Investment Corporate Holdings (RICH) of North Carolina recently purchased Eagle Cañon Passenger Car Company, which has operated Potomac Eagle since 1991. Robert and Celeste Franzen, President and Vice President, established RICH in 2018. Robert is also President and Owner of Steam Services of America (SSOA) founded in 2001. His extensive knowledge of the industry allows him to specialize in project management, consulting, engineering services, operations and managing oversight of major rebuilds for numerous tourist railroad and Steam Engine Preservation’s globally. Rounding out the couples’ talent, Celeste’s expertise is in marketing events and entertainment.  

Franzen, a Clemson University graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering has held key positions within the railroad industry for nearly 40 years, including Chief Mechanical Officer at Grand Canyon Railway as well as Vice President and General Manager at Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Throughout his career Robert has held membership on numerous boards within the industry and currently sits on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Board of Inspection (NBIC) committees for locomotive boilers. Franzen sees great potential at the railroad and said, “We will continue to operate the Potomac Eagle on its current schedule for the 2019 season and look forward to expanding the operation and service for the benefit of the state and tri-county area.”

In a recent Hampshire Review article, West Virginia State Rail Authority board member Dave Pancake of Romney stated he was excited for Franzen to purchase Potomac Eagle. “The survival of the Potomac Eagle is very important to our area. It has added an awful lot to the notoriety of Hampshire County as a tourist attraction,” Pancake said. 

Reinforcing this positive sentiment, the Franzen’s feel that the future growth of the Potomac Eagle is bright indeed given the outpouring of welcome and support that they have received from the tri-county communities. They look forward to being a vibrant contributor to the development and prosperity of this historic beautiful area.

Rodney Matheny will continue as Operations Manager, while Jodi Burnsworth will continue as Office and Sales Manager. “We are happy Potomac Eagle will continue to operate. The new owners have a lot of good ideas about how to move forward and grow. We look forward to seeing these changes implemented,” Burnsworth said.

For reservations and information, please visit potomaceagle.info or call 304-424-0736. Follow Potomac Eagle on Facebook for the latest news. Reservations open April 1 and are highly recommended.