The Northern Central Railway is home to a moderate-sized fleet of historic passenger cars, many of which are used on the Liberty Limited weekend service. The following is a sampling of the cars that you are likely to see on a visit to the Liberty Limited.
Built by: Canadian Car and Foundry, 1957
One of the last passenger cars built by this manufacturer, this car was originally built as a 26-seat lunchcounter car and has the longest bar of any railroad car in the world. Originally CN #433, the car was transferred to VIA Rail in 1983, where it served passengers in the Canadian Maritime Provinces.
In the late 1980s, the car was used in Boston-Hyannis service on the Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad. In 1989, Classic Rail Cars purchased the car when this service was discontinued. The car has been certified by Amtrak for speeds up to 90 miles per hour. Recent leasees include the New York, Susquehanna and Western, and the Massachusetts Central Railroad.
Classic Rail Cars has named this car "Jersey Devil". Built in 1957, it is the youngest car in service at the Northern Central Railway, and is generally used as a pantry car for the Liberty Limited.
Built by: American Car and Foundry, 1951
Built as a large-window, round-end observation car for the Great Northern Railroad as part of their Empire Builder Train, this car was part of an order of six cars. it is a 36 seat, two-roomette car with a bar. The roomettes were used by the Pullman Conductor and the passenger representative. In 1953, it was transferred to the CB&Q, and in 1955 it was bumped to the Western Star.
In 1968, the car was dropped from the Western Star, and assigned to the International, where it remained until 1971. In 1971, Amtrak did not acquire this car for use, and it was sold to Andy's Tukwila Station Restaurant, in Renton, Washington. In 1974, it was moved to Tukwila where a 20' hole was cut in the side. The car was purchased by the Northern Central Railway at auction in 1995.
Bras D'or Lake
Built by: Pullman/Canadian Car, 1954.
Built as Canadian National #1367, named Bras D'or Lake (French for "Golden Arm"). The car was originally one of nine 19-seat parlor dinette cars. In 1965, CN rebuilt the car as a standard diner and renumbered it #907. In 1980, it was transferred to VIA Rail, and renumbered 1367.
In 1993, VIA sold the car to Eagle Canyon Railcar and quickly traded it to Classic Rail Cars in exchange for a heavyweight combine car. Under Classic Rail Cars' ownership, the car has been leased to the Entertrainment Line as well as the Northern Central Railway.
Built by: Budd Co., 1945
A 56-seat, long distance coach built for the New York Central the car had a long career on the Water Level Route. Transferred to the Penn Central in 1968, and to Amtrak in 1971, the car was later sold to Conrail in 1986 for an excursion program in Reading, PA.
Purchased by a private owner in 1990, the car was moved to Rochester, NY. In 1994, Classic Rail Cars purchased the car, and moved it the Northern Central Railway where is is currently being restored.
Built by: St. Louis Car Co. 1954
Built as a kitchen car for the U.S. Army, the car never saw service as the Korean war ended. In the late 1970s, it was sold as surplus to the state of West Virginia and stored on the Cass Railroad and later the South Branch Valley Railroad, in West Virginia.
In 1984, The Maryland Midland Railroad purchased the car at auction and converted it into a power car (a large electrical generator was installed to provide electric power for dinner and excursion trains). In 1989, it was sold to GNA, Inc., and subsequently purchased at auction by the Northern Central Railway on November 9, 1995. It currently serves as a power car for the Liberty Limited.
Built by: Pullman, 1954
Built as #587 for the Northern Pacific Railroad, it was one of two (and the only remaining) 56-seat long distance coach of this type. It was used on the North Coast Limited and Mainstreeter trains, and was transferred to Amtrak in 1971 who renumbered it #5691.
Subsequent owners include the Maryland Midland Railway (in 1983), and GNA, Inc. (in 1989). The car was purchased at auction by the Northern Central Railway on November 9, 1995.
Built by: Pullman, 1950
Originally one half of a twin-unit diner, it contained dining tables as well as a 12-seat lounge. It was built for the Chesapeake and Ohio's "Chessie" train which never went into service. Later transferred to the Atlantic Coast Line and renumbered 1798, it was transferred to the Seaboard Coast Line by corporate merger. In 1971, Autotrain purchased the car, converted it into a buffet, and renumbered it 598.
In 1984, it was sold to Rosie O'Grady's in Orlando, and then to a private owner who registered the car with Amtrak as #800421. While being stored in Baltimore, the car was burned by vandals. In 1987, the Maryland Midland acquired the car, and rebuilt it as an open-window car by extending the window openings to the roof line. In 1989, the car was sold to GNA, and converted into a dance car.
The Northern Central Railway purchased the car at auction in 1995.
|Car # 63
Built by: Budd Co., 1939
Built for the Silver Meteor as a Chair Tavern Lounge car for the Seaboard Air Line, this car was originally numbered 6300. In 1968, the Seaboard Coast line renumbered the car 6410, and in 1971 the car was sold to Amtrak who renumbered it 3810.
In 1984, the car was purchased by Allegheny Rail Express. Subsequent owners include Village Rail Excursions, The BNC Museum, and GNA, Inc. who converted it into a table car in 1993.
The car was purchased by the Northern Central Railway in 1995, and renumbered 63.
Built by: Pullman, 1949
This six-bedroom lounge car was ordered by the Pennsylvania Railroad for the Broadway Limited. It's Streamline Moderne interior was designed by Raymond Loewy. The car was transferred to Penn Central in 1968 and was used by Amtrak until March 1972, when the car was shopped to repair a damaged plug on a kitchen fan.
The current owner acquired the car from Penn Central. The car is leased by the Northern Central Railway and is frequently used on the Liberty Limited.
|Dome Car #9473
Built by: Budd Co., 1955
Built in 1955 as part of an order from the Great Northern Railroad, for the Empire Builder, this coach-dome originally seated 70 (46 lower seats, 24 dome seats). With the starting of the Amtrak era, the car was transferred to Amtrak and continued to operate on the same route. In 1983 Amtrak leased the car to the Alaska Railroad for Summer tourist operations between Anchorage and Fairbanks, but by 1988 the car was on the scrap line at Amtrak's Beach Grove facility.
In 1993, the car was purchased at auction by private owners who moved the car to Pennsylvania and began restoration work. In 1996, the Northern Central Railway leased the car, and continued work on the restoration.
This picture was taken in 1998, prior to reglazing and exterior cleaning. The interiors are currently undergoing restoration.