News & Reviews News Wire Pullman Railroad Days to again feature historic railcar displays

Pullman Railroad Days to again feature historic railcar displays

By Trains Staff | February 10, 2023

| Last updated on February 6, 2024

Event at National Historical Park set for May 20-21

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Exterior of pasenger car in Illinois Central brown and orange paint scheme
Blue Ridge Club will be one of the private cars on display at Pullman Railroad Days, set for May 20-21. photo

CHICAGO — Historic Pullman Foundation is gearing up for its second Pullman Railroad Days, set for May 20-21 at Pullman National Historical Park. It will be the first such celebration since Pullman gained National Historical Park status at the beginning of the year.

As was the case last year, one facet of Railroad Days will be weekend displays of Pullman-built cars of different eras at the 111th Street/Pullman station on the Metra Electric line, thanks to partnership with Metra and the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners. Scheduled to appear this year are New York Central No. 3, built in 1923; observation car Royal Street, built in 1950, and Blue Ridge Club, also built in 1950.

New York Central No. 3 is a classic heavyweight, brass-railed observation car, originally owned by Harold Sterling Vanderbilt, third-generation descendent of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. It has been largely restored (save for the fireplace it originally featured), with elaborate woodwork and an elegant dining area.

Streamlined observation car Royal Street was built as a Louisville & Nashville’s contribution to the New York-New Orleans Crescent, and later ran on the New Orleans-Jacksonville, Fla., Gulf Wind.

Inside of private car
The interior of Blue Ridge Club.

Blue Ridge Club was built for Chesapeake & Ohio’s Cincinnati-Washington, D.C. George Washington, and was originally configured as five-bedroom observation-lounge. Converted in 1961 to a three-double-bedroom (dormitory) kitchen-diner-observation, it survived into the Amtrak era before its conversion to a private car.

“We are again excited to be part of this annual event and to host these historic railroad cars at our 111th Street/Pullman Station,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Our Metra Electric Line is still the fastest, most convenient and most affordable option to get to this event and to visit Pullman National Historical Park.”

The weekend will also feature the foundation’s 50th anniversary exhibit, marking the group’s work preserving, interpreting, and promoting Pullman’s history; a virtual-reality experience on advanced railroad technology, hosted by Norfolk Southern; guided tours of the Historical Park grounds; activities; food; and entertainment.

The event will be a mix of free events and those requiring a single-ticket entry; advance purchase tickets receive a 20% discount and will receive early access each day from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to the railcar display. Day-of-admission tickets will be $30. Purchase information is available here.

More information on the Foundation and Pullman Days is available at the Foundation website.

6 thoughts on “Pullman Railroad Days to again feature historic railcar displays

  1. Isn’t it interesting that a few international carriers are trying ultra luxury in the air? Emirates to name one.

  2. When you see these cars, this reminds you of the days when rail travel was the last word in luxury, charm and elegance and the railroads spared no expense to make their passengers feel like royalty and of importance when traveling. We know that those days are long gone and will never return. Today the preferred means to get around and to a particular destination and do it quickly is the airplane. But the airplane never has and never will have the same elegance, luxury and charm as those classic railcars did in their era. Of course today’s traveling public don’t care either. Today it is all about doing things on the cheap and getting there as quickly as possible minus comfort and traveling enjoyment. Planes might get you there fast but were not meant for comfort and luxury . But then again it is better that traveling in a plane is fast. Who would want to spend several hours or days traveling in a sealed up metal tube with cramped seats and no room to move around and poor quality food whereever it is served on a plane. When today’s generation sees these old ralicars or palaces on wheels, they might just realize what they missed or missing today.
    Joseph C. Markfelder

    1. I’ll fly. Who would want to spend hours in a desolate train station waiting for their connection. Here’s the way aviation has evolved: You spend a number hours aboard more or less confined your seat. Much of the time, you aren’t actually on the plane, you’re at an airport, some of them with very good restaurants, nice art galleries, etc., and a lounge for first class passengers. Compared to the dysfunction of contemporary transcon rail passenger service, a couple of hours confined to a tiny airline seat is a luxury.

      I’ll take two or three hours in a cramped Boeing 737 seat over waiting three days for a train that will run late, eating lousy food and arriving in the middle of the night at a rail depot whose main amenity is the men’s restroom.

    2. As beautiful as these railcars are, the standard of luxury you’re thinking about was set by the ocean liners of the day. Space for amenities, etc.

    3. I dunno, Charles. I’ve gotten to that age where the restroom is more a godsend than amenity.

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