Passenger Cars

(Gerard Oliveto photo)

(Ed Nowak photo, URHS collection)

New York Central Hickory Creek

Type - 5 double bedroom/buffet/lounge-observation
Built - August 1948 in Chicago, IL
Builder - Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company
Current Owner - United Railroad Historical Society of NJ

The Hickory Creek is widely known as "the most famous car in the world." That is because it is the tail car from "the most famous train in the world:  the 20th Century Limited. The Century was an all-first class New York City to Chicago train that was known by both the railroad industry and pop culture as a symbol of elegance and speed. During its tenure on the New York Central, this car was the premier mode of transportation for movie stars, celebrities, and corporate executives, as commercial air travel had not been invented yet. Today the car serves much the same purpose, but it now allows the general public to stand where the stars of yesteryear did on "the most famous train in the world." This car was rebuilt to modern specifications by Star Trak Inc. and regularly rides the tail of Amtrak trains across the country. It is available for charter by Luxury Rail Vacations.

(Bob Vogel photo)

(Kevin Phalon photo)

NEW YORK CENTRAL #43

Type - tavern-lounge
Built - 1947 in Philadelphia, PA
Builder - Budd Company
Current Owner - United Railroad Historical Society of NJ

Tavern-lounge cars, which have a spacious seating area and table area with a bar area, were common on overnight trains on railroads throughout the Northeast. It was usually positioned in the train directly in front of the observation car, and created a larger lounge area for first-class passengers. This particular car, one of an order of thirteen, was built for use on the New York Central's signature named trains, such as the New England States between Boston and Chicago. This car was rebuilt to modern specifications by Star Trak Inc. and regularly rides the tail of Amtrak trains across the country. It is available for charter by Luxury Rail Vacations.

(Steve Hepler photo)

Lackawanna #2454 (later #3454)

Type - multiple-unit (MU) subscription/club car
Built - 1912 in Dayton, OH
Builder - Barney & Smith Car Company
Current Owner - Whippany Railway Museum

The Lackawanna Railroad's notable electric MU cars operated commuter service on New Jersey's branch lines out of Hoboken from 1930 through 1984. These cars were rebuilt from older coaches to drew electric power from overhead wires. The installation of electric wires along the Lackawanna's commuter lines was an engineering marvel at the time, so much so that Thomas Edison himself was the engineer on the first MU train. This particular car was a "subscription car," which was used by many affluent commuter who paid extra to ride in first class between their jobs in New York City and their homes in New Jersey. This car is currently undergoing an extensive restoration by the Whippany Railway Museum to be used on public excursion trains.

(Gregory Grice photo)

Strategic Air Command #89491

Type - recreation car
Built - circa 1945 in St. Charles, MO
Builder - American Car & Foundry
Current Owner - United Railroad Historical Society of NJ

USAX #89491 was built as a hospital sleeper for the U.S. Army just at the end of World War II. In 1961, it was taken out of surplus storage in Ogden, UT for use on the Strategic Air Command’s “RBS Express.” RBS stood for "Radar Bomb Scoring," which was a drill that the SAC used to score the accuracy of their bomber crews. Rather than practice in one location, the SAC put radar equipment on train cars to run drills in areas all over the country, and even once in Canada. The train was stationed for 45 days at a time and was entirely self-sufficient, requiring it to have sleeping quarters, a cafeteria, offices, and lounges. This car was used as a “recreation car” for men to use in their down time. It had lounge seats, reading material, and a commissary for men to buy items they needed right on the train. The RBS Express was disbanded in 1971, and the cars found new uses in the armed forces. This car was used at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Earle, NJ.

(Richard Crerand photo)

U.S. Army #89404 & #89494

Type - hospital cars
Built - circa 1945 in St. Charles, MO
Builder - American Car & Foundry
Current Owner - United Railroad Historical Society of NJ

USAX #89404 and #89494 were built as hospital sleepers for the U.S. Army just at the end of World War II, and saw service during the Korean War shuttling wounded troops around the United States. By the early 1960s, many of these cars had found themselves in surplus storage in Ogden, UT. However, several of these cars found new uses in the armed forces. These two cars were used at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Earle, NJ, and now serve as Star Trak Inc.'s workshop at the Boonton Yard.

(Steve Zabel photo, Joe Testagrose collection)

NEwark City Subway #13

Type - Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) streetcar
Built - January 1945 in St. Louis, MO
Builder - St. Louis Car Company
Current Owner - North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society

The classic PCC trolley car was used all over the United States by thousands of metropolitan transit agencies. This car was originally used by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region of Minnesota, before being sold to the Newark City Subway in Newark, NJ. It served NJ Transit during the final years of operations before installation of the current Newark Light Rail line. This car is now undergoing an extensive restoration by the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society, with professional restoration services provided by Star Trak Inc.