Delivered by Pullman in 1928 as the New York Central Business Car One. This executive business car was utilized as a rolling office for NYC president P.E. Crowley and other executives through the Penn Central and Conrail eras. Currently on its third private owner, the America has seen two significant renovations throughout its rich history, bringing upgrades to its current elegance. America was originally configured with one master bedroom, 2 bedrooms, secretary's room and crew quarters. The secretary's room was removed and the lounge enlarged by private owners of the car. The most recent upgrades were completed in 2002, enabling the car to meet both VIA and Amtrak operating requirements. The car is based in Arizona and owned by K. Michael Carr.
Built in 1922 by American Car and Foundry as the private car Hussar for E. F. Hutton and his wife Marjorie Merriweather Post. It was used for both company business as well as personal travel between their winter and summer homes and their principal residence in New York. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway acquired the car in 1937, renamed it their office car number 3, and updated and modernized the car. It remained in active company service into the early 1970s. The current owner purchased the car from the C & O in 1971 and renamed it Chapel Hill in honor of the town where his alma mater, the University of North Carolina is located. The car is based in Huntington, West Virginia, and owned by DeWitt Chapple, Jr.
CITY OF SPOKANE
Built by American Car and Foundry in 1950 for use on Great Northern's International, which ran between Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. In that service it was named Port of Seattle. The car was stored in the mid-1960's and eventually sold to Amtrak for use on the Empire Builder. It was retired after being involved in a grade-crossing accident and sold in the 1978 to its present owner. The car was static from 1978 to 1988. In 1988 the owner decided to restore the car to operating condition and brought it up to completely modern standards. The car is based in Spokane and owned by Larry Milsow.
Pullman-built in 1949 as Florida East Coast ten roomette, six double bedroom sleeper Argentina for service between Florida and the Great Lakes region. The car was sold to Canadian National in 1967. Number 2131 was added and the car was renamed Grand Codroy River. The car was later used by VIA Rail Canada. The car was restored and reconfigured between 1990 and 1995. It can be converted from a full sleeper to a sleeper with dining service for 12 to 16 passengers. The car is owned by RailCruise America and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.
Built by the Pullman Company, the Federal went into Pullman's general service charter pool in 1911, and operated out of St. Louis, Missouri. It is one of the first private cars that made entirely of steel. In 1933, Pullman sold the car to the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad where it was assigned to the Vice President of Operations. The car has been used by Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in their whistle-stop tours. The car was purchased in 1992 by Lackawanna Ninety- Eight, Inc. The car is based in Indiana.
Built by Pullman Standard in 1930, as a 10-section lounge car for the Southern Railway and named General Polk. The car operated on the Crescent between New and New Orleans. Purchased by the Georgia Railroad in 1949, the car was rebuilt to the office car configuration it has today and given the number 300. The Georgia 300 made regular trips to the Masters golf tournament and, occasionally, the Kentucky Derby, hosting Georgia governors and other dignitaries. Declared surplus with the merger of the Georgia Railroad and the Family Lines, the car was acquired by the current owner in 1985. It has been rebuilt and has hosted Presidents Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton. The car is based in Orange Park, Florida, and is owned by Jack Heard.
HENRY E. HUNTINGTON
One of two business cars built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel, in 1928 for the Reading Railroad. The car was assigned number 15 and was used by the president of the railroad. The car was rebuilt extensively in 1947, at the Reading Shops. It has the original mahogany woodwork and heavy brass fixtures. The current owner purchased the car from Reading in 1964. Being a native of Los Angeles, he placed the name of Henry E. Huntington on the car in honor of one of the truly fine developers of southern California. The car is based in San Antonio and owned by Phil and Diana Goldman.
Built by Pullman Standard in 1956 for the Seaboard Railroad. One of three cars ordered for Silver Meteor service, it was sometimes called "the dome that would fit in Pennsylvania Station" because of its unique windows placement. Seaboard officials felt the roof windows, high side windows and Palm Leaf patterned carpet would put New York passengers, boarding from cold weather and six inches of snow, in a "Florida frame of mind"; but the car's design offers a view unlike any other car, no matter the weather. With the merger of the Seaboard and the Atlantic Coast Line, the car still found service in the company and was subsequently sold to Amtrak in 1971. The current owner purchased the car in 1989. The car is based in Madison, Tennessee, and is owned by Dr. Arthur and Caroline Cushman.
J. PINCKNEY HENDERSON
Built as Pullman-Standard's first all stainless steel passenger car in 1954. It originally served as a 72-seat coach on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad's Texas Special. The car later ran on the Northern Pacific before going to work for Amtrak in 1971. Bob Willetts purchased the derelict, vandalized car in 1983 for scrap value. A total renovation of the car began at that point, transforming the Henderson for its new role of transportation, restaurant and hotel. The charter era began in 1989. Amtrak utilized the car for its New York-Pittsburgh experimental, luxury daytime Keystone Classic Club Service. Outstanding service, gourmet cuisine and luxurious comfort are still the trademarks of the Henderson's charter service. The car is now owned by the Lancaster & Chester Railway Company - "The Springmaid Line" and is based in South Carolina.
Originally built for the Rock Island Railroad by the Pullman Car Company as one of eleven cars. Ordered in May 1945, and delivered in April 1947. It was configured as a 68-seat coach for service on the Twin Star Rocket, running between Minneapolis and Houston. The car was originally named Des Moines and was rebuilt in 1962, and numbered 330. It later saw service on the Golden State which ran between Chicago and Los Angeles via Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix and Yuma. The car was in service on the Quad Cities Rocket when the Rock Island shut down in December 1979. The car received extensive mechanical and electrical re-work during conversion to a private business car. The Jane Marie is serviced at the Arizona Railway Museum and often used in a community service capacity. It is owned by Bart and Jane Barton.
The Missouri-Kansas-Texas 403 was originally built in 1913 and used as a chair car. In 1946, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (nicknamed The KATY), started a two-year rebuild of the car to install the wood interiors, bedrooms and stainless steel kitchen. The car was built specifically for the Vice President of The KATY Shops, Mr. Hy Warden. His photograph hangs next to the master stateroom door and is depicted in the painting above the sofa berth in the Observation Room. The four captain's chairs and dining room furniture are original. Presidents Truman, Johnson, Carter and Clinton have all been guests on the car, as well as Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and many other notables. In 1988, the car was purchased by the Dr. John Marshall Family, and has been lovingly restored to its former beauty. The car is based in Orange Park, Florida.
Built by the Budd Company in 1950 as Union Pacific's Pacific Island, a sleeper with ten roomettes and 6 double bedrooms. It was one car in UP's order for 50 Pacific series sleepers. In 1969, UP assigned number 1423 to Pacific Island. Amtrak acquired the car in 1971; it became Amtrak 2617 Pacific Island. It was one of the prototype HEP conversions completed by Amtrak's Beech Grove shop in the latter portion of the 1970s, at which time it became Amtrak 2917 Pacific Island. The current owners purchased the car from The Sleeper Line in April 1999. The Lancaster & Chester Railway completed the car's conversion to a six bedroom lounge design. The current owners renamed the car Mount Vernon in honor of George & Martha Washington's estate on the Potomac River in Virginia. The car is owned by Dominion Rail Voyages, LLC and is currently based in South Carolina.
Built by American Car and Foundry in 1955 for the Union Pacific Railroad as number 9003. The car was one of fifteen dome-lounge-observation cars used on the Union Pacific's City series trains (City of St. Louis, City of Portland and City of Los Angeles). The car was sold to the original Auto Train in 1973, and continued in that service for seven years. After passing into private ownership in 1992, the interior was completely redesigned to accommodate eight guests in four staterooms. The car's furniture and wood finish are Honduras mahogany. The car is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and owned by David and Marilyn Hoffman.
Built by American Car and Foundry in 1949 as Seaboard Air Line Railroad number 15, Red Mountain, the car was originally intended for service on the Silver Comet. An explosion in traffic on the Silver Meteor resulted in Red Mountain's reassignment to the Meteor. In 1957, the car became part of the Silver Star consist and after the merger of the Seaboard and Atlantic Coast Line, was renamed Palm Beach and put to work on their Champions trains. Amtrak acquired the car in 1971, and used it as one of a few cars to test experimental paint schemes. It remained in primarily New York/Florida service until retired in 1978. The current owner purchased the car from Amtrak that year and extensively remodeled it in 1980-81, and again in 1991. The car is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and owned by Robert Nelson
Built by Pullman in 1948 as a 10 roomette - 6 bedroom sleeper for the New York Central Railroad. It was acquired by VIA Rail Canada and operated as the Hay River in Canada. The current owners purchased the car from the New Georgia Railroad and redesigned it as a sleeper lounge diner in 1997. The car features a large lounge and dining area with a bar and open kitchen. The car is based in Easley, South Carolina, and owned by Tom and Popie Whitted.
POINTE ST. CHARLES
Built by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1928 as 12-1 sleeper for Canadian National and named Rosetown. In 1954, it was rebuilt into a business car at the CN Pointe St. Charles Shops in Montreal. Its name was lost and it was renumbered 94. After use by a systems vice president, and service during the Montreal Exposition, it was renumbered 5 and assigned to transport the Prime Minister. Although the car was painted in the new VIA Rail Canada livery, CN still retained ownership. The car is currently owned by Fox River Rail Car and based in Wisconsin.
Built by Pullman in 1953 as a six-roomette, four double-bedroom and six-section sleeping car named the Loblolly Pine for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. The C & EI sold the car to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in 1969. In 1974, it was converted to a business car. Missouri Pacific acquired the car in 1976 as MP #2. After the merger of the Union Pacific and Missouri Pacific in 1985, the car was renamed by Union Pacific and ultimately renumbered as UP #105. Union Pacific sold the car in 1997 to its current owner Michael Margrave. He renamed it Promontory Point. The car is based in Arizona.
From its construction in 1959, the Scottish Thistle's history is purely Canadian. The shell of the car was built by one of the premier manufacturers of the time, National Steel Car. The completed shell was then delivered to the Canadian National Railroad's prestigious Montreal Shops for the interior to be specially outfitted for the top management of the railroad. The car was assigned to the Vice President of the Prairie Division based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where it was used for executive transportation, client entertainment and public relations. The current owner purchased the car in 1994. The exterior has been painted in the original CN colors and design. The interior has been decorated in a Scottish style in rich greens, reds and plaids. It is based in Los Angeles, California, and owned by Dean and Mary Helen McCormick.
Built in 1948 by the Budd Company for t he California Zephyr and named Silver Lounge. Originally, this car was configured as a dome-dormitory-coffee shop car that provided overnight accommodations for the train service staff. The car operated in Amtrak service until 1980, and was acquired from the Vandalia Railroad by the current owners who commenced a total rebuilding program. The dormitory was replaced with bedrooms, the coffee shop became a luxurious observation lounge, and an open platform was added. The dome now seats 16 for lounge/dining service. The car is based on the Wisconsin Central Railroad in Wisconsin.
Built by the Budd Company in 1952 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy; it was one of five in the "flower" series which ran on the American Royal zephyr overnight between Chicago and Kansas City. The car was built as a 6 roomette, 4 bedroom, 6 section sleeper and later operated on Amtrak (with the sections used as crew dormitory space) until 1980. From 1980 through 1984, the car was used by the Association of American Railroads at the FRA/AAR test facility in Pueblo, Colorado. Its current owner purchased the car in 1984 and has upgraded it to current Amtrak standards. The car is completely self-contained with galley, showers and dining/lounge area. When running with another private car, Silver Iris still has a 23-bed capacity. The car is based in Reno, Nevada and is owned by Robert Klein.
Built by American Car and Foundry in 1926, for Woolworth heiress Jesse Woolworth, the car was named Japauldon for her late husband, James Paul Donahue. Part of the social scene from 1926 through 1939, the car took the Woolworths to French Lick, Pinehurst, the Greenbriar and Palm Beach. The car is reputed to be the courtship car of Mrs. Donahue's neice, Barbara Hutton, and Cary Grant. The current owner purchased the car in 1982, and has progressively restored it, naming it the Survivor because it has. The car is owned by Dante Stephensen and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pullman built in 1928 as Crystal Peak for the Overland Limited. Renamed Golden Peak in 1938 and assigned to the Golden State Limited. Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg purchased the car in 1954 and created a one-of-a-kind Venetian Renaissance interior, complete with crystal chandelier and marble fireplace. The present owner has restored the interior to original circa 1955 opulence. The car is based in Redwood City, California, and owned by Wade and Julia Pellizzer.
Budd-built in 1954 as dome-coach-lounge 558 for Northern Pacific's Chicago-Seattle North Coast Limited. Became Amtrak 9485 in 1971, and 9406 in 1983. Acquired in 1995 by Rail Adventures. Mechanically upgraded in 1996. Addition of galley, lounge and one master bedroom completed during 1998. Two master bedrooms were added in 1999. The car is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and owned by Tom McOwen.
Built by Pullman-Standard in 1942, as Imperial Drive for Chicago & North Western/Union Pacific/Southern Pacific Overland Route Service. Became C & NW owned in 1947, was retired in 1965, and later rebuilt as a business car. Extensively rebuilt and redecorated by current owner Rail Ventures for deluxe charter service in 1987 and again in 1990. The interior is paneled in teak and mahogany. The car is based in the San Francisco area.
Click here for photos and a travelogue of the journey of Ray Burns from California to the AAPRCO 2002 meeting at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, and back on board the Virginia City and Silver Iris private railcars!
Are you interested in rail travel in a private railcar? Click here for information on chartering a private railcar. AAPRCO holds their convention once each year in various cities. You can travel across the country in a private railcar to the convention as Ray and Saylor did by contacting the owner of one of the private railcars that will be going to the convention. But, you don't have to go to the AAPRCO convention to enjoy the luxury of travel in a private railcar. You can charter a private railcar any time of the year to take you to many destinations along the rails! Click here for more information!