Now is your chance to hop aboard “The Most Famous Train in the World!” The United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey (URHS) will host 48 Hudson River Rail Excursions between February and November of 2023. The number of trips offered this year is double what was offered in 2022. Every ride since the inception of Hudson River Rail Excursions has sold out. Passengers will get to ride the rails in style inside vintage cars from the historic 20th Century Limited train.
The 20th Century Limited traveled between Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, Illinois from 1902 to 1967. This 958-mile, 16-hour trip was known as the “Water Level Route.” The two types of cars passengers will be able to ride on a Hudson River Rail Excursion are the Hickory Creek and the Tavern-Lounge No. 43. The original Hickory Creek car debuted in 1948. It is a Pullman-style observation-sleeper-lounge car designed by Henry Dreyfuss. The URHS acquired the car in 1991 and restored it to its original appearance.
Tavern-Lounge No. 43 cars are another product of the 1940s. No. 43 is one of 13 tavern-lounge-style cars made by the Budd Company for New York Central. The tavern-lounge cars operated on daytime long-distance passenger runs. The car features “comfortable lounge chairs and cozy tavern booths” that “offered passengers a reprieve from their coach seats, where they could drink, eat, and socialize with other passengers.” After New York Central was done with No. 43, it went to the Penn Central Railroad where it often ran on trains between New York and Washington. In 1976 it passed to Conrail then NJ Transit. The car was retired in 1987 and donated to URHS in 1991.
New this year is a special Valentine’s Day trip that will run between February 10th and 14th. The premium dining experience will feature a 6-course tasting menu designed by private railcar chef Laura Stantz. Passengers will get to choose between the Hickory Creek or Tavern-Lounge No. 43 vintage cars, and everyone in both cars will receive the same first-class level service (though ticket prices vary). Tickets for these five dates go on January 20th at 10AM.
Another special trip introduced this year is The 75th Anniversary Special, a five-day roundtrip journey to Chicago in celebration of the anniversary of the 20th Century Limited on September 17, 2023. Thirty lucky guests will get to take part in this multi-day roundtrip. The train will depart New York City on the tail of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, which traverses the original route of the 20th Century Limited. Tickets are all-inclusive and start at $2500 per passenger. More details and an on-sale date are to be announced.
“We take pride in offering the most authentic experience possible to our passengers on our day trips,” said URHS Executive Director Kevin Phalon. “From fine dining to the overnight shoeshine, we intend to incorporate every historic detail we can to provide an immersive overnight journey.”
Tickets for standard Hudson River Rail Excursions departures go on sale on February 17, 2023, at 10AM. Ticket sales are online only at HudsonRiverRail.com. These trips traverse the original New York Central main line between Manhattan and Albany, a rail route that the Hickory Creek and Tavern-Lounge No. 43 traveled in the 1940s and 50s. There are two different classes of service. Passengers aboard the Hickory Creek are treated to a full-service meal, cooked by the chef in the car’s onboard kitchen. Passengers in the No. 43 are treated to catered sandwiches and sides in the car’s tavern, with drinks served at their seats. The train departs from New York Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall at 11:20AM and arrives in Albany-Rensselaer at 1:50PM. After a layover, the excursion will depart Albany at 4:30PM and return to New York City at 7:05PM. See a full departure schedule and book your tickets here!
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