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Pullman National Monument grand opening to feature private-car tours

By | August 23, 2021

Tours to be offered Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend event

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Dark green heavyweight private car with rear platform
Dark green heavyweight private car with rear platform
New York Central No. 3, a business car built by Pullman in 1928, will be one of three cars featured in tours during the grand opening of the Pullman National Monument. (Historic Pullman Foundation)

CHICAGO — Tours of three privately owned railcars built by the Pullman Co. or Pullman-Standard will be offered on Saturday, Sept. 4, and Sunday, Sept. 5, at Metra’s 111th Street/Pullman station as part of the gand opening weekend of the Pullman National Monument. Amtrak P42 locomotive No. 161, which wears the Phase I paint scheme as part of Amtrak’s 50th anniversary celebration, will bring the cars to the site and also be on display.

Tours will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Tickets will be required, and will be available with a suggested donation the day of the event at the grand opening weekend’s Information Tent, to be located at the southeast corner of 111th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. The tent will open at 9 a.m. each day. Tours will depart every 15 minutes and are projected to last 35 to 40 minutes. Face coverings will be required, and the cars are not ADA accessible.

The private car tours are part of a larger weekend to celebrate the grand opening of the Pullman National Monument at the former Pullman Co. factory and its accompanying planned community [see “Pullman National Monument to celebrate grand opening …,” Trains News Wire, July 30, 2021]. The National Park Service has released a short video previewing the event; a full schedule of events is available at this page on the Park Service website.

Cars scheduled to be included in the tour are:

— New York Central No. 3; built by Pullman in 1928 as a business car for NYC director Harold Sterling Vanderbilt and remodeled in 1992 to closely resemble its 1930s appearance while adding modern technology.

— Promontory Point, built as a business car for the Union Pacific by Pullman in 1953 and sold to private owners in 1997, when it received its current name. It includes two master bedrooms, a formal dining room with chandelier, a lounge, secretary’s room, full kitchen, and open=air rear platform. President Jimmy Carter used the car for a whistle-stop campaign in 1976.

— Northern Dreams, built in 1955 for the Northern Pacific as the North Platte, when it had five double bedrooms and a buffet. It was rebuilt to an 11-bedroom configuration by Union Pacific in 1956, sold to Amtrak in 1971, and modified for use on Auto Train until its retirement in 1997. It was sold to its current owners in 1999, receiving its current name. Refurbished in 2013, it currently includes six double bedrooms and a lounge, along with surround sound, a kitchen for full meal service, and WiFi.

More information on the private-car tours is available here.

2 thoughts on “Pullman National Monument grand opening to feature private-car tours

  1. This tour is an absolute must visit. Don’t even think of passing it by. What’s way cool about Pullman is getting there by train from Millenium or Van Buren. (The latter a stiff but do-able walk from Amtrak Union Station.)

    The Metra Electric line to Pullman is itself a study in American passenger rail — many millions of dollars poured into what was a severely deteriorated line of the Illinois Central – but many millions of dollars of work left to be done. It’s easy to buy comfortable new trainsets, as Metra has done. More difficult is the rebuilding of ICRR’s quite unimpressive stations one at a time – work that has progressed but is a long way from completion. Plan ahead if disabled or have difficulty with stairs. Even Millenium Station is a big disappointment … it’s basically a refreshing of ICRR’s hole in the ground, then named Randolph Street.

    PS When visiting Pullman don’t count on amenities like good restaurants. Unless this has changed in the two years since my visit in 2019. The Pullman district is not yet a chic, trendy neighborhood like many areas in and around Chicago.

  2. Does anyone know if this 111th Street display train is actually going to be staged on Metra Electric District Tk2 or Tk3 (111th is an island platform between those two innermost tracks with Tks 1&4 bypassing)? All four mains Kensington Interlocking-67th Street Interlocking are reverse signaled so there’s that flexibility handling the traffic on the remaining three. With the Saturday train schedule more robust than Sunday’s there may be two opposing locals making station stops between 75th and 111th. In that case one of them will have to do station work via the track-level crosswalks across Tk2 and Tk3.

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