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 more than 50 Hudson River Rail Excursions in 2024. The number of trips offered this year is more than ever before. 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.

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20th Century Limited train viewed from a distance set against lush green trees
Photo by Anthony Carpentier, Courtesy of URHS

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.

People in period attire inside a historic train
Courtesy of URHS

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.

Trips offered this year include more than 50 day trips which travel along the original New York Central Railroad main line between Manhattan and Albany, and six exclusive overnight experiences that run between New York City and Chicago. All passengers on the day trip excursions experience first-class service at their seats provided by white-jacketed stewards.

People in period attire inside a historic train
Courtesy of URHS

Passengers in the Hickory Creek cars will be treated to a full-service meal, cooked by a private chef in the car’s on-board kitchen. Beer and wine are included, and drinks and hor d’oeuvres will be served to passengers at their seats throughout the trip. Passengers in the No. 43 will be treated to catered sandwiches and sides, with drinks served at their seats. Passengers are welcome to BYOB beer and wine. Trains depart from New York Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall where all guests have special access to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge which is otherwise only open to Amtrak first-class passengers.

“Being a non-profit, our goal is to share the golden age of railroading with as many people as possible,” said URHS Executive Director Kevin Phalon. “We are thrilled and grateful that folks keep lining up to ride our historic train cars.”

A waiter in a white jacket serves a drink to a women sitting inside a vintage train car
Photo Courtesy of the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey

Two special train rides are new this year, the Hudson Valley History Tour and the 20th Century Limited Experience. On the Hudson Valley History Tour, a variation on the day trip excursion, guests will hear a narrated tour from the National Park Service-trained guides from the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park, NY. The narration will cover everything from the settlement of native peoples to the dawn of the railroads age. These tours can be enjoyed in May, October, and November. A perfect accompaniment to the fall foliage!

The George Washington Bridge surrounded by foliage and a vintage train
Photo by Anthony Carpentier, Courtesy of URHS

20th Century Limited Experience rides in June and July will fully transport guests back in time. Passengers on these trips will ride, dine, and sleep aboard the historic Pullman Sleeping Cars from New York to Chicago. Every detail of the trip is meant to replicate the original, authentic 20th Century Limited experience as closely as possible.

See a full departure schedule and book your tickets here! Tickets have historically sold out in minutes, so set your alarm for 10 am ET on March 15, 2024!

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