After working behind the scenes for the past few months, Midwest Railway Preservation Society can now officially announce the donation of the business car "The America". The car, built in 1927 by Pullman as business car #5 for the New York Central Railroad was used by their Vice President R.D. Starbuck. Ownership was transferred to the Penn Central Railroad after their merger and later acquired by Mrs. Georgia Frontiere for her personal use. Mrs. Frontiere, a former owner of the Los Angeles Rams, did not like flying and would travel by rail when following the team to their away games. She became majority owner of the team after the death of her husband and eventually moved the team to her home town of St. Louis in 1995. Mrs. Frontiere died in 2008, and the rail car has been used sparingly since then.
The car had been for sale with no success and Executive Director Steve Korpos has been in contact with the current owners for the past six months trying to convince them of the benefits of donating the car to Midwest. He finally succeeded.
"The America" is Amtrack ready and becomes the crown jewel in our passenger car fleet. Current plans are to number the car CTVX 5. It is currently undergoing inspection in Los Angeles to certify all operational aspects and make any necessary updates or repairs to allow shipping to Cleveland. Transfer of ownership is anticipated by June 1st, but will probably not arrive in Cleveland before August. We are actively pursuing opportunities to pair the car with other privately owned cars for rail excursions. This has already generated some interest and we are hoping that "The America" will be a steady source of income into the future.
Midwest is considering running a one way excursion from Los Angeles to Cleveland on the "America" for its' delivery on Amtrak. The trip will basically be a test run to make sure all amenities within the car, such as air conditioning, are operational prior to leasing the car for revenue. Any repairs necessary can then be performed on site rather than in LA. Further details will be announced as they become available.