Fort Wayne Historical Society Acquires Ex-CP Obs Car

‘Riding Mountain Park’ was built for the Canadian Pacific in 1954. Now it will be used on the Indiana Rail Experience. Photo Courtesy of Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. 

Fort Wayne Historical Society Acquires Ex-CP Obs Car

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

NEW HAVEN, Ind. — A former Canadian Pacific dome-sleeper-observation car that was once part of the famous Canadian consist has been saved by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and will be used on the steam-powered Indiana Rail Experience in the future. 

The car, Riding Mountain Park, arrived at Fort Wayne’s restoration facility in New Haven, Ind., this week, where it will undergo an overhaul that is expected to cost $250,000. Among the items that need to be addressed are the electrical and HVAC systems, as well as interior furnishings. The purchase of the car was made possible by a private donor, but donations are being accepted for its refurbishment

“Most first-class trains of the 1940s and 1950s featured a dome car, lounge car, or an observation car. With Riding Mountain Park our future guests will be able to enjoy all three and we are overjoyed at the opportunity to preserve this experience,” said Senior Excursion Manager Wayne York. “Its acquisition is a special way to end our 50th Anniversary and mark the beginning of a new chapter.”

The Riding Mountain Park in New Haven, Ind., earlier this week. 

The Indiana Rail Experience is an excursion series that began this year on the Indiana Northeastern behind Fort Wayne’s former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 765. The nonprofit has a multi-year deal to offer trips on the 100-mile short line railroad that connects Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. In 2022, the Indiana Rail Experience welcomed over 6,000 guests from 35 states and three countries in just ten days of operation.

Earlier this year, the Fort Wayne Railroad purchased the Collinsville Inn and Franklin Inn, two 1950s-era Pennsylvania Railroad passenger coaches, from the DC Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. It also completed the renovation of former California Zephyr and Amtrak dining car Silver Diner, as well as the conversion of a former Santa Fe baggage car now named the John H. Emery

While dome cars were not especially common in the Midwest, the Riding Mountain Park bears similarity to the Wabash Railroad’s stainless steel “Domeliner” and its lounge class and observation end were popular on the New York Central’s first-class passenger trains that operated through nearby Waterloo, Indiana and Hillsdale, Michigan. Riding Mountain Park was used by CP and later VIA Rail Canada until being sold in 2005. The car has been in storage for over ten years at the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Company in Michigan. It largely retains its original interior and artwork created by members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.  

This article was posted on: November 21, 2022