LARail.com runs charters behind Amtrak trains. Featured here are two of their cars that passed through Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 15, 2018.
PACIFIC SANDS was delivered to the Union Pacific Railroad in April of 1950. Part of a total of 50 Pacific Series sleeper cars delivered by the Budd Company that year, the Pullman Company and Union Pacific had high hopes for the future expansion of rail travel by re-equipping the “City” trains with sleek, modern stainless steel cars. The early fifties was the high point of the showdown between the train, automobile and airplane, and UP, Pullman and other railroads were coming out fighting!
Half of the Pacific fleet was delivered in the famous two-tone gray Overland paint scheme, the other half in Union Pacific’s Armor Yellow, Gray and red Streamliner colors. By 1953, all of the cars had been repainted to yellow.
PACIFIC SANDS was first operated by the Pullman Company until the late 60’s, when Pullman was dissolved and operation of the cars was taken over by the Union Pacific Railroad. PACIFIC SANDS was a regular on all of the “City” trains—the City of Portland, City of Los Angeles and City of San Francisco among others, and provided classic Pullman service in its 6 double bedrooms and 10 single roomettes until Amtrak’s formation on April 1, 1971.
PACIFIC SANDS lived through the purple and orange interior decor of 70’s, and was redecorated to it’s current interior in the late 80’s. During the 25 years of Amtrak service, all of the Pacific cars were scattered through out the country in various Amtrak trains, but most, including Pacific Sands, finished their service with Amtrak on the East coast routes, including Autotrain, as the West Coast routes were re-equipped with Superliners. A few Pacific cars served Amtrak as crew dorm cars until 2007 when the last one was taken out of service.
PACIFIC SANDS was rescued into private ownership in 1996, after 46 years of railroad service. The exterior has been beautifully restored and polished to a partial Pullman / Union Pacific paint scheme by Pacific Sand’s first private owner. It has also been mechanically upgraded to all current Amtrak and FRA safety standards. LA Rail acquired the car in 2003, and has restored the interior of the car to its glory days of the 1950’s while adding modern travel conveniences such as a shower.
Built in 1959 by the Canadian National Shops in Point St. Charles, Quebec, Tioga Pass was part of an order for 12 similar cars designed for railroad executives. Originally number 23, and later number 93, Tioga Pass spent most of its life in Edmonton, Alberta. There it served the Vice President of the Mountain Region. Records show the car traveled all over Canada, providing some 30 years of faithful service. By the early 1990s, though, the car was largely redundant and seldom used. Like the passenger trains on which it used to hitch a ride, the automobile and airplane offered quicker and more convenient transportation in today’s fast-paced corporate world.