By Eric Berger
CHICAGO, Ill.—The public will have the chance to go inside a trio of visiting Pullman cars built for three different railroads during the second annual Pullman Railroad Days at the Pullman National Historical Park in Chicago, May 20-21.
The Pullman site preserves the factory and company town established by the iconic rail car builder of the same name. It became a National Monument in 2015 and a National Park at the end of 2022
Thanks to a partnership with Metra and the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners, visitors will have access to the three historic Pullman cars at the nearby 111th Street/Pullman Metra Electric station during the event.
The visiting cars include the 1923 heavyweight observation car New York Central 3; the 1950 Louisville & Nashville observation dome The Royal Street; and the 1949 Pennsylvania Railroad sleeper Colonial Crafts.
New York Central 3, a classic, open-platform observation car, was built for Harold Sterling Vanderbilt, great-grandson and heir of NYC founder Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt and ultimately the last Vanderbilt to serve in Central management.
The Royal Street is a streamlined observation car built in 1950 for use on the New York – New Orleans Crescent, later running on the Jacksonville, Fla. – New Orleans Gulf Wind. The Royal Street exemplifies the modernization of elegant travel as railroads updated their trains in the years after World War II.
Colonial Crafts is the last survivor of eight Pullman sleepers in Pennsy’s “Colonial” series built in 1949 as part of a major equipment modernization effort by PRR. Originally equipped with three double bedrooms, a dining room and lounge area, it was converted to a parlor car in 1964 and remained in service until retirement just prior to the advent of Amtrak. Following a period in museum use, the car was purchased and fully restored by Rod and Ellen Fishburn in 1985 and has been lovingly cared for and operated privately since that time.
The park first held Pullman Railroad Days last year in coordination with the Historic Pullman Foundation. Food and activity booths are also featured at the event. Advance purchase tickets receive a 20-percent discount and special early access to the historic Pullman railcar display from 9 to 11 a.m. each morning. Tickets are $30 at the gate. For more information visit www.pullmanil.org.