Daily Illuminator

November 14, 2023: I Guess This Makes Me A Rail Baron

Not long ago, I rode on the first trip of a renovated railcar originally built in 1948. Behind steam! And that's not even the coolest part.

The coolest part is that Car 1877 (no name – in its former life, it mainly ran under its number, though it was labeled "Linoma" for a while) is my personal project. It's a round-end observation/dome car, built by Budd for the C&O as part of the planned "Chessie" consist.

Railcar 1877 behind engine 4501

The picture shows 1877 running behind TVRR 4501, a Mikado steam engine built in 1911. Both car and engine performed flawlessly.

Background: In 2015, Monica and I bought Car 1877 as an investment. It was a very sad dome car at the time. It has spent the intervening 8 years at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, being rebuilt. It is no longer dilapidated. It is transformed . . . wonderful and shiny and first class inside and out.
Why did we do this thing? Because it was TRAINS and because it was cool. Cost equal to a couple of rent houses. Awesomeness value SO much higher. It will not be a "private car" – it will be a revenue-generating luxury passenger car, running on the TVRM's tourist and holiday excursions, and every week more people will ride it and see how things were in the Golden Age of Rail.

And that is why, if you saw me at any time on November 4, I was grinning from ear to ear.

-- Steve Jackson

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