Catalpa Falls

PRR #8404

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Getting there is twice the fun on the Catalpa Falls, our premier dining and lounge car. This fully-restored mid-century modern beauty offers plush seating and dining space for 20 people. The all-purpose lounge and buffet galley kitchen allows for 24-hour bar and meal service.

When sun falls, it can sleep 12 people in six double bedrooms, each with its own toilet and wash basin. The Catalpa Falls has been retrofitted with the latest electronic amenities that in no way detract from its historic appeal. For travelers’ comfort, brand new shower facilities are available.

This all-purpose car makes a luxurious business and social environment, both in motion and standing still. It can be used as your local on-site hotel in the city or destination of your choice.

The car is perfect for 30 people on a day trip, or for 10 people on an overnight or long-distance excursion (typically one of the double bedrooms is occupied by the on-car gourmet chef and the porter). For groups needing to sleep more than 10 people, learn about the Chippewa Creek.

History

Buoyed by postwar optimism, the Pennsylvania Railroad ordered the Catalpa Falls as part of a $21 million order for 214 new cars in May of 1946 and delivered in May of 1949. The car was intended for the Broadway Limited, the most prestigious passenger train on what for decades was the top railroad in the nation. The Broadway Limited’s sleepers and lounge cars were staffed and operated by the Pullman Company under contract to the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Broadway Limited made its last run on September 9, 1995.

Design & Restoration

The look of the Catalpa Falls reflects the “Fleet of Modernism” that famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy envisioned. The exterior’s striking paint scheme, featuring Tuscan red finished with gold pinstripes, gives a sense of the elegant décor to be found within. Interior décor items were carefully selected to be as close as possible to Loewy’s original intent, while also meeting today’s more stringent onboard safety requirements.

The restoration process has a dual goal of preserving the historical nature of the original design while bringing the car up to current safety and comfort standards. For example, significant work has been done to replace all of the steam heat in the car with electric heat and replace the original generator and lead batteries with 480-volt, three phase electric power. The latest electronic amenities including flat-screen televisions, DVD players and wireless Internet access must be added in a way that doesn’t detract from the car’s original era.