The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society has acquired the Riding Mountain Park, a vintage streamlined dome-lounge-observation car built in 1954 for transcontinental passenger train service on the Canadian Pacific. The acquisition was made possible by a private donor. Plans call for the car to undergo a significant multi-year mechanical overhaul that will update its electrical and HVAC systems and interior furnishings at a cost of approximately $250,000. Donations can be made online at fortwaynerailroad.org or by mail.
Named for the Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada, the car’s design was partially inspired by the California Zephyr’s stainless steel passenger cars in the United States. The Riding Mountain Park was once part of “The Canadian,” a first-class passenger train that operated between Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and was one of eighteen such Park-series cars.Deemed surplus by VIA Rail Canada, the successor to Canada’s passenger rail service, and later sold into private ownership in 2005, the Riding Mountain Park has been in storage for over ten years at the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Company in Blissfield, Mich. It largely retains its original interior and artwork created by members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. All Park-series cars were described in 1954 as being the “feature car of each train.”
Pending restoration, the car will enter service as part of the Indiana Rail Experience, a new rail tourism program operating on the Indiana Northeastern Railroad in western Ohio, northeast Indiana, and southeast Michigan over former Wabash Railroad and New York Central track. In 2022, the Indiana Rail Experience welcomed over 6,000 guests from 35 states and three countries in just ten days of operation. Events and excursions in 2023 will feature historic Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765, and other vintage locomotives and historic passenger car
While dome cars were not especially common in the Midwest, the Riding Mountain Park bears similarity to the Wabash Railroad’s stainless steel “Domeliner” and its lounge class and observation end were popular on the New York Central’s first-class passenger trains which operated through nearby Waterloo, Indiana and Hillsdale, Michigan.
—via Press Release