The high cost of gasoline is something all of us must live with. Apparently, some of us must die with it as well.
Many people relocate between Southern California and Northern California. When these people die, it is a common request to be returned home for burial. Airlines options are impractical and for many years funeral homes have used driving services to transport the deceased to the other end of the state.
As gasoline prices have increased, so has the cost of this last ride to your last rites. Today the cost for just this service is often well over a thousand dollars. Added to all of the funeral and cemetery charges it becomes a very costly proposition
One area funeral home looked to the past to find the answer. Before the dominance of the airlines it was the train that carried people to their ancestral homes for burial. As school children many of us recall reading about presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt having their caskets carried on trains to their final burial.
With a few modifications the shipping containers which are manufactured for airline transfers can be adapted to meet the needs and regulations of Amtrak. This is so seldom done that there are few Amtrak agents are frequently at a loss when they are called.
Dan Mandel, founder of Mandel Funeral Services of Northern California, said; “Although we have done this several times, each time we call we are directed to contact multiple offices of Amtrak because no one seems certain of what to do or who’s in charge. Eventually I hear an agent take out his regulations manual and read aloud what the procedures are.”
Innovation is nothing new to Mandel Funeral Services. When they opened in 2006 they proposed to be the first full-service mobile funeral home. In their brief tenure they have proved themselves by providing local service to families in 12 counties of Northern California. They have personalized funeral services by using historical mansions and park settings for funerals. They even offer live streaming of funeral services through their website.
In addition to saving most families over a thousand dollars, the train offers a more ecological answer. The transport by train is the greener way to reach one’s final destination and to leave behind a slightly smaller carbon footprint.
Although the status of other funeral homes is currently far from all aboard, some funeral providers have contacted Mandel to learn how it’s done. In these tough economic times, as families cope with the high cost of dying, more funeral directors are likely look to the train as a better choice.