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Relive a Bygone Era (for a Price)

By Shannon in Miscellaneous on Dec 16, 2006 8:00PM

pioneer zephyrChicagoist is old-fashioned. We long for the olden days of class and luxury. We are also a bit of a rail enthusiast. What could be better than being whisked off in a Zephyr to some remote part of the country, with your every want and need attended to, in the most tiptop of accomodations? Thanks to a new venture from a company called Train Chartering, we now have the opportunity to find out.

Starting in 2007, people will have the chance to book a late-'40s-era Mount Vernon Pullman car for a trip from New York City to Chicago. The recently renovated car can accomodate parties of up to ten people, with onboard entertainment such as DVD players and XM satellite radio, an indication of the improvement of life since the golden age of rail. Scheduling goes as follows:

  1. Day 1, depart Penn Station, dinner served on train;
  2. Day 2, arrive at Union Station after breakfast, stay in a hotel of the passengers' choosing overnight;
  3. Day 3, depart Union Station, dinner served on train;
  4. Day 4, travel all day, eat on train, arrive at Penn Station that night.

We like the fact that the overnight stay takes place in Chicago, not NYC. We're snobs like that. However, Train Chartering doesn't say if the schedule is up for reversal so that you can take it from here to the Big Apple, which would be cool. If you're planning on springing this on a loved one in time for Christmas, you'd better scrounge for change under your floor mats: The price for a full round trip, with all the bells and whistles, tops out at a cool $17,500. A "no-frills" trip sets you back a mere $13,500. We may be romantics, but we'd almost say it's worth it to recapture the old spirit of rail travel, if the service is up to snuff. Now all we need for Christmas is a sugar daddy...

Image via Northern Illinois University.