Friday, November 20, 2015

All aboard that "Palace on Wheels"

First off, this is not the rail car known as "Chicago," added in 1902 to the amenities available to C.B.&Q. passengers departing the Chariton depot. That car most likely was scrapped decades ago. 

It is instead a car built during 1902 by the Pullman company, acquired by the C.B.&Q. in 1914 and named the "Iowa."

But the Chicago most likely looked like this. It is built of wood, later clad in metal, and remained in service for a very long time. Credit for this photo goes to David Bath, who took it when the old car was parked on a siding and looking a little tatty. It has since been fully restored to a later incarnation as a "business" car and now is in a private collection. 

A Chariton Patriot reporter hopped aboard the Chicago during September of 1902 and provided this report of its wonders under the headline "A Palace on Wheels," published on Sept. 18:

"Recently a Patriot representative had the pleasure of a trip in the new combination car Illinois which the Burlington route has added to its already superior equipment. It is in fact a palace on wheels, combining an observation parlor apartment, an elaborately furnished cafe, and perfectly fitted up cuisine, upon scientific lines, where the "inner man" can be refreshed upon the best that money and unsurpassed culinary art can furnish.

"The car is seventy-six feet long. The cafe apartment, elegantly furnished throughout, has a seating capacity of sixteen, the table furniture comprising a line of solid silver and Haviland china, beautifully designed and manufactured expressly for the Burlington.

"A smoker, cosy and restful, is also an attractive feature, where the after dinner cigar can be quietly enjoyed.

"the parlor apartment occupies the rear portion of the car, contains ten large easy chairs all of which are upholstered in dark green leather, the floors covered with fine Wilton carpets, while the curtains are of green tapestry. The interior wood work is fine grained oak, so perfectly finished as to resemble cherry, while at the rear is an observation platform from which travelers are afforded an unobstructed view of the country through which they are passing. It is the very perfection of elegance and comfort in travel.

"For this splendid service the company charges for the use of the observation and parlor car the small additional sum over the regular fare of $1 from Chariton to Chicago, 35 cents to Ottumwa or Creston; to Omaha, 50 cents, with the added convenience of the cafe, where meals are furnished at reasonable rates.

"Our representative gratefully acknowledges many kindly courtesies extended by Conductor R.C. Dodge, W.B. Dunington, chief attendant in charge; Samuel Brown, chef; and porter, John M. Richardson, who comprise the efficient crew of the Illinois. The car is attached to trains Nos. 4 and 13, and is a duplicate of four others lately put into service by the Burlington."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A great read and a brief look back in history, thanks.