The Blue Train: Rail icon seeks help
Even legendary brands need a makeover. And the time for a reinvigoration of the Blue Train, now in its 70th year, is upon us.At first glance, occupancy levels of the luxury train service — the only passenger train operated by Transnet; others are operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA — suggest the brand is as strong as ever.“In the year to March 2016 average occupancy was 73%,” Transnet’s Mike Asefovitz says.It compares favourably with luxury hotel group Tsogo Sun’s 63.5% average occupancy over the same period.But there is a big difference: utilisation levels of the two Blue Train sets on the 1,590km Pretoria-Cape Town route are very low. (Its other route is between Pretoria and Hoedspruit, twice a year.)With a remarkably short peak season, from September 1 to November 15, the two train sets (their combined capacity is 134 passengers) will this year have run only 58 times over their primary route, with no trips at all in May and June.To better market the train, Transnet has tu...
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