Restored 1920's railcoach

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Bywaterrailroad, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. The beautifully restored 1920s-era private railroad car bears the name of its new owner in large golden letters: City of New Orleans.

    Nearly ready for delivery after a year in the hands of restorer Pete Messina, the parlor-observation car soon will be pulled to its new home at 4822 Tchoupitoulas St., the main office of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

    A city-owned nonprofit railroad company, Public Belt bought the car "for entertainment and to promote the city"

    Passengers will enter the car's main room through a beveled-glass platform door, etched with the Public Belt Railroad's logo. Fleur-de-lis-patterned carpet is topped with 20 swivel club chairs. Brass and crystal light fixtures line the stenciled walls and ceiling. At the far end of the room is a granite and mahogany bar.

    Out of circulation for more than 30 years, the car had to be gutted and half its roof replaced, Messina said. "It was stripped down completely, including every bit of paint."

    The parlor-observation car was built in 1927 and was air-conditioned in 1934 by packing bunkers underneath the car with 2 tons of ice, said Messina, who has been restoring rail cars full time since 1988.

    Along with modern air conditioning, the car has a lavatory, with fleurs-de-lis etched into the stone floor, a "prep room" with a microwave and a warming oven to handle catered food, and a refrigerator big enough to hold 300 bottles of beer.

    The lights can be dimmed, and music plays from stereo speakers.

    Period-style fans are placed high on walls stenciled with gold leaf and covered halfway up with mahogany paneling. The windows are covered by mahogany blinds. Sandwiched between the windows and the paneling are granite shelves to hold glassware embossed with the railroad logo.

    The chairs are upholstered in red and were fitted with protective canvas slipcovers, also embossed with the railroad logo.

    The Public Belt Railroad, which began operation in 1908, moves freight cars along the tracks serving the port. It is run by a 16-member commission, including the mayor, who appoints the other members with City Council approval.

    The railroad switches thousands of cars a month and operates more than 100 miles of track from Avondale across the Huey P. Long Bridge and along the Mississippi River into the city. The track runs along the river wharves, the Industrial Canal and out to the public bulk terminal at the river's gulf outlet. All operational and capital expenditures are financed by operational profits. No financing is received from the city.

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  4. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    :thumb: :wave: :D :thumb: :wave: :D
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    It sounds and looks great. Will one be able to visit it and spend some time drinking one of those beers in one of those chairs? I've wanted to visit New Orleans for a long time but don't know when I would get around ti it. This could be the straw...

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