Unique Passenger and Dining cars
On most of the Potomac Eagle’s trips, you’ll find an open-air car or two just behind the locomotive on the south end of the train. One is an open-top gondola car that had been used to carry freight like pipes or railroad ties, but now is outfitted with benches so passengers can step outside to take in the view of Trough Canyon. The second open-air car is covered, but has large wide-open windows where you can lean out to get a better look. This car is one of several where restrooms are located.
Regular passenger coaches are coupled to the north of the open-air cars. Most of these cars came from commuter rail service on the Canadian National. Typical seating in these cars are cushioned, reversible seats where passengers can move the seat-back in order to face in either direction.
We have three cars that feature table-style seating, which is convenient for those bringing picnic lunches or passengers enjoying our on-board snack car.
In the middle of the train is the ever-important concession car, which was originally a kitchen car during the Korean War. Here, you’ll find a selection of hot dogs, nachos, candy, chips, popcorn, and other snacks that you and your party can enjoy. This car also includes beverages like hot coffee, soda, Gatorade, and water.
On the north end of the train are our Club Cars. These lounge cars, Pere Marquette’s Eagle Cañon and Chesapeake and Ohio’s Chessie Club, feature couch/loveseat style seating with tables, are climate-controlled, and include meal service. These classic, stylish looks invoke memories of the days of luxury rail travel, and help our passengers immerse themselves in the experience. This look is complemented by Chesapeake & Ohio railroad china and tableware, just as was done years ago.
Learn more about the Chessie Club car from the C&O Historical Society Chessie Club Car article. Included you will find a diagram of the car. The seating areas of both the Chessie Club and Eagle Cañon are very similar. In fact, they are two of only four of this style, each with a sister car that is still in operation today.
The 8524 Southern Railroad Diner was built by Budd in 1949 for the Southern Railway as a diner lounge and numbered 3309. Conveyed to Amtrak in 1979 when Amtrak took over the Southern’s passenger train service and renumbered it to 8383. It was converted to a regular Heritage Diner as well as to Head-End Power from Steam Heat in November 1984 and renumbered to 8524. The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad purchased the 8524 from Amtrak in December of 2019.
The 8559 Southern Pacific Diner was built by Budd in 1950 for the Southern Pacific and numbered 10210. Conveyed to Amtrak in 1971 and numbered 8060. It was converted to Head-End Power from Steam Heat in April 1981 and renumbered to 8526. It was converted to a Griddle Diner in March 1986 and renumbered to 8559.
The 8524 Southern Diner and the 8559 Southern Pacific Dining cars are used for the Potomac Eagle’s Superior and Premium meal service dining cars. The cars are equipped with full kitchens where food is prepared and served for our luxurious dining experience.
The 7600 and the 7605 Premium Dining cars were built by the Budd Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1954. Seating 76 passengers, they served on the PRR’s Northeast Corridor between New York City and Washington DC, on electrified named trains like the Congressional and the Senator. The cars then ran under the flagship of the Penn Central Railroad until their ownership passed seamlessly to Amtrak in 1971.
The cars served mostly in the Northeastern United States; notably on the Adirondack between New York and Montreal when it was named Albany. Eventually, made redundant by newer equipment, Amtrak retired the cars and they were purchased by the South Branch Valley Railroad for use on special events. The cars were leased long-term by the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad in 2019 for use in the upgraded dining service and have four-top and two-top tables service.