Pacific Parlour Cars on the Southwest Chief

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Pacific Parlour Cars on the Southwest Chief
Posted by Yard Limit on Saturday, December 02, 2017 7:55 AM

No, Amtrak hasn't started using Pacific Parlour Cars on the Southwest Chief, but it is the preferred method for deadheading them between California and Beech Grove, Indiana where they are refurbished and maintained. 
 The Pacific Parlour Car is a First Class lounge car that operates exclusively on Amtrak's Coast Starlight between Los Angeles, CA and Seattle, WA. It is open only to passengers carrying a Sleeping Car ticket. The car features many amenities including a lounge area, library, dining area, bar, and theater. Amtrak owns 5 of these cars which were built in 1956 by The Budd Company for the Santa Fe Railway. Budd also made coaches and sleeping cars similar to this car, many of which operated for several years on Amtrak but have since been retired or sold off. In recent years, Amtrak refurbished these cars and named them after different areas where there are a large number of vineyards and wineries. The cars featured in this video are the "Sonoma Valley" and "Willamette Valley".
There are five Pacific Parlour Cars still in use: 
39970 / Columbia Valley

39971
Gateway Railcar (formerly ITAC)
Madison, IL
The only car NOT owned by Amtrak, this car was actually sold to Northwest Sky Rail Charters when Amtrak sold multiple cars around 2001. It is currently in storage in Illinois however and is not running.

39972 / Napa Valley

39973 / Santa Lucia Highlands
 
39974 / Sonoma Valley
This car was featured in the 2003 feature film Italian Job. It also carried Amtrak President, Alex Kummant during his tour of Coast Starlight train in 2007.

39975 / Willamette Valley

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, December 02, 2017 10:05 AM

The Pacific Parlour Cars are the former "Top of The Cap" Hi-Level Lounges from the El Capitan.  They are also open to Business Class passengers on the Coast Starlight.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Yard Limit on Saturday, December 02, 2017 10:59 AM
Indeed they are, Paul. Thank you for commenting!
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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, December 02, 2017 11:53 AM

These cars are quite nifty, and I always enjoyed riding in them, and I ate in them, on two trips. I would compare the menu with that of the diner, and, when making a reservation, specify what I wanted to eat.

However, Santa Fe did not have any high level sleeping cars; Amtrak more or less originated them. In the last few years that the Santa Fe operated passenger trains, the Super Chief and El Capitan more often ran a one train rather than as two separate trains on the same schedule.

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, December 02, 2017 12:40 PM

Deggesty
These cars are quite nifty, and I always enjoyed riding in them, and I ate in them, on two trips. I would compare the menu with that of the diner, and, when making a reservation, specify what I wanted to eat.

However, Santa Fe did not have any high level sleeping cars; Amtrak more or less originated them. In the last few years that the Santa Fe operated passenger trains, the Super Chief and El Capitan more often ran a one train rather than as two separate trains on the same schedule.

And in running as a combined train, the hi-level cars were the El Capitan and the standard level sleeping cars were the Super Chief.

Only time I got to ride the El Capitan cars was on a publicity trip out of Washington Union Station to Point of Rocks and return.  Cars were allowed to be occupied under the catenary as opposed to the B&O preventing passengers from occupying the Domes of their dome cars between WUS and Silver Spring.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Yard Limit on Saturday, December 02, 2017 2:33 PM
I remember riding the El Capitan/Super Chief from Albuquerque to Chicago several times growing up. We had a sleeper. It was really a wonderful way to travel.
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, December 03, 2017 3:02 AM

Enjoyed one eastbound LA - Chicago El Cap trip.  Found sleeping in El Cap coaches about on par with the Juniata-built post-WWII lighweight 44-passenger PRR long distance coaches, tdogether better than any other long-distance coaches.  Seats reclined more and had more legroom.  Of course on the El Cap, everything was bright and shiney, not always true on the PRR.

Dining car foor was excellent if not as elegant as the Super's diner.  (Different trip.)

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Posted by pajrr on Sunday, December 03, 2017 3:14 AM

I have been riding Amtrak since late 70's. I often encountered the Santa Fe Hi-Level lounges. I found them to ride smotther than Superliners.

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