American Orient Express
United States - Deluxe Rail Journeys On Americas Premier Train
By Carl Morrison, Carl@TrainWeb.com
has the train's Coach
at the end.
On this Antebellum South
from Savannah to Washington, DC, we had (front to back):
Engines: Amtrak # 145 (lead) and # 198:
Crew sleeper, diner, supply/laundry:
Thirteen 'public' cars (car
history follows on this page):
Arriving at the American Orient
Express the first day of the trip.
Seattle Club Car
Copper Danyon Dome Car
The Savannah car in Savannah Station,
New York Observation car
AOE's own fact sheet of each car follows:
STOCK FACT SHEET
Rail cars on the America Orient
Express (AOE) are fully restored
carriages ranging from 40 to 50 years old. Each one saw service
in the Golden Age of Rail on some of the nation‘s most memorable
railroads and routes.
All built by the Pullman-Standard Co.
of Chicago between 1950 and 1956.
Paris (#800298) and Istanbul
(#800297) were ordered in 1947 and
delivered in 1950. They were built for the Southern Pacific Railroad
and used on its Cascade route.
Vienna (#800109) was ordered in 1954
and delivered in 1956 for the
Union Pacific’s city service. Original name: Placid Waters.
Washington (#800258) was ordered in
1946 and delivered in 1950.
It was used on the Chesapeake & Ohio’s George Washington,
Sportsman, Pere Marquestra and Resorter service. Original name:
City of Staunton.
Monte Carlo (#800255) was ordered in
1946 by the Chesapeake & Ohio
Railroad, but later purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in
1950 for the Capitol Limited. Original name: Opequon.
Charleston, Savannah, Denver and Bar
Harbor were all built in 1960 by
the American Car & Foundry of St. Louis for Union Pacific RR. They
were fully refurbished by Colorado Rail Car in 2000.
New York Observation Car (#800321)
was delivered in 1948 to the New
York Central Railroad for the 20th-Century Limited between New York and
Chicago. It was dedicated by Dwight D. Eisenhower and comedienne
Beatrice Lillie, and features wrap-around windows, a bar and plush
seating in its observation lounge. It is the last car on the AOE.
Seattle Piano Club Car (#800310) was
built as a 14-section sleeper by
American Car and Foundry and delivered to the Union Pacific Railroad in
1954. In 1965 it was rebuilt as a 44-seat leg-rest coach.
Original name: Alpine Meadows.
Rocky Mountain Piano Club Car
(#800311) was built as a 14-section
sleeper by the St. Louis Car Co. and delivered in 1954. It was
rebuilt as a 44-seat leg-rest coach in 1965.
Great Dome Cars
Copper Canyon and New Orleans were
built by the Budd Co. of
Philadelphia in 1950 and 1951 for the Great Northern Railroad.
They are fluted stainless steel and are painted in the AOE’s signature
blue, gold and cream. The interior reflects the style of the
1940's and early 1950's. Seventy-six passengers can sit in each
of the cars’ second level dome areas in one seating. Both cars
were refurbished at AOE’s own facility in 2002.
Chicago Dining Carriage (#800308) was
built by the St. Louis Car Co.
for the Union Pacific in 1959. It was originally an eight-seat
café with a 24-seat diner and 16-seat lounge.
Zurich Dining Carriage (#800301) was
delivered by American Car and
Foundry to Union Pacific in 1949 and was originally designed for the
Chicago & Northwestern Railroad. It was built as a 24-seat
diner with 29-seat lounge.
About the restoration
The cars were purchased in
1980 and sent to either Northern Rail Car
Co. or Kasten Railcar Services, Inc., in 1988 for mechanical
reconstruction where they were outfitted with new air-conditioning and
heating systems, electrical and plumbing systems, and additional safety
features. Next, they were shipped to Panama City, Fla., for
interior reconstruction. Total cost of the restoration project
was approximately $15 million.