Pullman revives sleeper-car service of bygone days
The new Pullman Rail Journeys service features restored vintage train cars.
Starting Friday, Chicago-based Pullman Sleeping Car Company, LLC, plans to run regular overnight trips between Chicago and New Orleans on cars once used by the defunct Pullman Company, which operated sleeper cars in the U.S. during much of the 20th century.
Dating from 1917 to the 1950s, the cars have been restored, at a cost up to $1 million each, and retrofitted with showers, Wi-Fi and other modern conveniences, said Ed Ellis, president of the new company’s parent, Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, which runs passenger and freight operations in the U.S. and England. Pulled by Amtrak trains, the cars will have their own conductors and porters. Although onboard service won’t adhere precisely to the old Pullman guides, which set specs on every task from making beds to serving a bottle of beer, it will be “in the sprit of what Pullman did, which was to make sure there was guest satisfaction,” Ellis said.