Monday, September 15, 2008

Roots of Motive Power Steam Up #2: Ranch Car


While the heart of Roots of Motive Power activities come from steam engine restoration and operation, they attend to many other details of railway history. One of my favorites to see is this Great Northern Railroad Ranch Car, from the Empire Builder trains of the 1950s. Bobbie Yokum wrote a fascinating history of this car for the Roots website, and is a key volunteer getting the restoration done. One of her huge projects is getting all thirteen counter seats restored with cowhide style upholstery. The first one is in, and looks great. Read her description of how this gem ended up on the Roots campus.

To see some other rail equipment interiors, click here for the Overflow.

14 comments:

Sally said...

I love the curve and look of the bar. Reminds me of the old zinc-topped bars.

Sydney Daily Photo

Laurie said...

This is so beautiful. I took the old MOntrealer Amtrak train from NYC to Montreal back in the early 90s. My sleeper car was one of the old ones from the 50s. It felt like being in a classic film.

This car, though, is truly magnificent. I'm off to read about it now! (Great shot, too. I love your composition.)

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I'm crazy for the cow hide seats. Restoration is cool.

Bibi said...

This is so cool. I can't wait to see the rest of the cowhide seats. I took an Amtrak trip from Seattle to Phoenix and back, and it was such fun.

Halcyon said...

Neat bar! Does this railroad car still travel or is it a fixed thing now? They could make a "real" bar or diner out of it!

L.Shaw said...

Nice meeting you yesterday.

Love your photos of California... I always wanted to live out west.... maybe someday.

Hilda said...

Wow. A bar in a train? Pardon this ignorant lady, but the only trains we have here are just seats, and so old and pathetic. Never been in one, actually — it's not even an option in my mind. Do they still make trains like this?

I love the cowhide seats too.

Sara N said...

its interior designing lokks so pretty!I like simple designs!

USelaine said...

Sally - I do too. I like that someone brought in some fresh flowers to decorate it for the Steam Up.

Laurie - Thanks for following the details. Her write up includes better images of the chuckwagon artwork on the wall. I'm so glad they took on this project.

PA - Isn't it great? It's not real cow hide, but looks just as good. She left a swatch on the counter for visitors to examine.

Bibi - It's going to look great, but it will probably take them a number of years to do all the restoration needed, in addition to all those chairs.

Halcyon - They installed a section of rail to keep it on beside their restoration shed while they do the work. Eventually, they can probably connect it to the loop track, and pull it around. You can be sure, the ideas are flying all around concerning using it for food service and special events.

L.Shaw - Thanks for stopping by!

Hilda - Think of it more as a restaurant counter. This is a dining car from 1951, and even modern day Amtrak trains have some sort of refreshment cars on their journeys. Distances in North America are long, so depending on your destination, sleeper cars are available as well. You should take a peek at the Amtrak website. But I think the days of tablecloths and white-jacketed servers are gone.

Sara - I like it too! It will look even better when it's finished.

Thanks everyone! Like I said in the caption, the linked article tells even more, with some great pictures.

Petrea said...

Mmm. Quite magnificent. Reminiscent of the Orient Express.

Chuck Pefley said...

Wow! That will be some diner when finished! Ambitious project and costly, I suspect. Look forward to seeing photos of the finished car.

tr3nta said...

looks like a film set... Shining!?... :-)

USelaine said...

Petrea - Now you have me fantasizing about being gentry on the OE in the early 1900s, Paris to Istanbul.......

Chuck - They take project specific donations, and they use a lot of volunteer labor. I don't know what condition the plumbing is in, but I hope it all pencils out to be a moneymaker for the group.

Tr3nta - The ceiling brings Citizen Kane to mind as well. 6^)

Kelly said...

Love this composition!