Hotels Greenbrier owner plans rail service between resort and D.C. By Jeri Clausing / September 27, 2010 Share 1 -- The West Virginia coal and agriculture magnate who bought the historical Greenbrier resort out of bankruptcy, added a casino and lured a PGA golf tournament is now planning a luxury train excursion from the nation’s capital to the resort.Jim Justice said he is also having plans drawn up to add 300 rooms to the 721-room resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. "We are busting at the seams," said Justice, noting that occupancy this summer ran between 84% and 88%.Justice said the train is being decorated in the style of the resort. He said he hoped to have it ready to carry guests on a five-hour-plus scenic train ride from Washington through the mountains of West Virginia by next spring or summer."We are building a train called the Greenbrier Express," he said. "It will leave from Union Station [in Washington]. "When you get here, we’ll pick you up in carriages with Clydesdale horses. It gives you a real slice of Americana."Justice said the 250-mile train trip would cost about $650 roundtrip and he expected to market it in Europe as well as in the U.S. The train will run on the same CSX-owned tracks that Amtrak trains use in the region.However, it will be pulled by its own engine rather than by Amtrak and will not make any of the scheduled stops Amtrak does along the way. "We are going to aggressively market this in Europe," he said. "So this could be a package where you come in on Friday night to D.C., Saturday morning get on the train, travel to America’s resort, enjoy all the amenities for a few days and go back to D.C. and tour the monuments for a few days and go home."The train is just the latest in a series of ambitious projects undertaken by Justice since his family trust bought the bankrupt hotel out from under Marriott International last year.Justice is reported to have paid $20 million for the resort. He also paid Marriott a $7.5 million "breakup" fee after undercutting Marriott’s planned purchase of the resort.Since then, he has added an underground casino; reached a deal with Delta to increase airlift to Greenbrier Valley Airport in nearby Lewisburg; and lured the PGA, which debuted the Greenbrier Classic at the resort last summer. It replaced the Buick Open, which had taken place in Michigan. The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark that has hosted presidents and kings since 1778. But it had been struggling in the years leading up to its bankruptcy and sale to Justice.In 1999, it lost its coveted five-star rating from Mobil. In 2008, after completing $50 million in renovations in an attempt to regain that ranking, the resort saw a host of regular meetings canceled due to a protracted labor dispute. After losing $35 million in 2008, the resort laid off 650 employees in January 2009, and last March it filed for bankruptcy. CSX Corp., the previous owner, had reached an agreement to sell the property to Marriott when Justice swooped in with a surprise offer. Justice rehired the employees and beefed up their benefits. "In the beginning it was tough. It was like turning an aircraft carrier around," he said. "We’ve really got it going now. Who would have ever thunk that we would be contemplating building rooms?"