Almost a hundred years ago, there were those who could outfit a private railcar the same way some today outfit private jets. This particular railcar, a 1925 Pullman, was the private car of financier J.P. Morgan Jr. Very few ever had the opportunity to travel like this, but you can see the obvious benefits it offered while avoiding the early roads or attempting to travel long distances in a Model T Ford. Interestingly enough, some of these early Pullmans are still around and there are companies restoring them to their former glory. The finished restorations are leased by companies who use them for private travel and outings, attaching them to the end of an Amtrack passenger train.
This particular car, has an impressive list of features:
This masterpiece of railcar craftsmanship was completed in May of 1925 and it was named ERIE 400. The elegant private car is 85’ long and boasts an open platform, an observation room, four large bedroom suites, private baths, a dining room, full kitchen and crew quarters.
Restoring these cars is more than a paint job and interior work, unless you want a static display, these railcars must meet very strict requirements for the type of interior materials used so they are not flammable the way the original materials would have been and the glass needs to meet current safety regulations.
Speaking to a friend who knows a lot about these railcars, he also noted:
… it will cost an additional $50,000 or so to change out the wheel bearings and requalify the wheels and axles. It will cost at least an extra $10,000 to $15,000 to rebuild and update the brakes, brake valves and air hoses. It will then cost between $5,000 and $40,000 to move it, depending on where you are going and how many railroads have to touch it.
Of course if you can pay the asking price of $350,000 to begin with, these extra expenses are probably manageable.
Rail travel in in a car outfitted like this one makes long distance travel by rail appealing, however, this sort of car was never available to the average passenger the same way a private jet is not really an option for most of us, today. Nevertheless, this is one gorgeous railcar, don’t you think? It’s for sale on eBay.
More photos from inside J.P. Morgan’s private railcar: