Pullman built the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad “Aleutian” heavyweight office car in 1923. That railroad’s vice president and general manager of the eastern lines used the car in 1940. Tagged the “office car,” railroad officials used cars like the Aleutian to entertain customers and guests of the company, usually shippers, bankers, or politicians. Wealthy families also owned private cars for travel in privacy and comfort, just as they use private jets today.
Fun fact: HBO’s Emmy award-winning film “Truman,” shot in spring 1995, featured the Aleutian car as a stand-in for the Ferdinand Magellan car. We have a star on our museum grounds!
Featuring “all the comforts of home,” the car contains:
- An observation lounge with open rear platform,
- Four staterooms,
- Dining room likely with fine china–Spode Copeland’s china from England was sometimes used in private cars,
- Two bathrooms and two showers, and
- Crew’s quarters for the cook and porter.
In 1952, Burlington rebuilt and modernized the car, installing air conditioning, self-contained electrical and hot water systems, and roller bearings, giving it a rebuilt weight of over 102 tons.
The National Museum of Transportation received the car in 1970.