Car History


Office Car 7

Pullman originally built this car at Calumet City, IL in June and July of 1923. The car was originally named the Mountain View and was built to Pullman plan 2521C, lot 4690. There were twenty cars built to this plan, known as the Mountain series (all of the car names start with the word "Mountain"). The cars were assigned as follows: five to the Monon Railroad, four to the Pennsylvania Railroad, three to the Santa Fe Railroad, six to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and two to general service. The cars were built as 10-section observation lounge cars with an open observation platform. In 1937, the Mountain View returned to Calumet for rebuilding into a solarium observation car, as were many Pullman open platform cars at that time. In Calumet shops, the car was given a complete overhaul, which included the addition of air conditioning. Major interior changes were the addition of a buffet kitchen area in the center of the car, a porter’s room, and the reduction of the sections from ten to eight. All carpet and upholstery was updated and the car rolled out of the shop with a new plan designation of 4025H, an 8-section buffet lounge observation named Kitchi Gammi Club. Only one other car in Pullman history had the same 4025H designation, the Carlton Club (formerly the Mountain City), which was soon to become Nickel Plate Road business car #6. After the Kitchi Gammi Club rolled out of Calumet shops in 1937, it was assigned to service with the Nickel Plate Railroad. The Nickel Plate assigned it to trains #9 and #10, operating between Cleveland and St. Louis. It ran on these trains throughout the 1940s and the early 1950s. Normally, it served as the only Pullman space available on these trains. In 1953, the Nickel Plate purchased the car from the Pullman Company and sent it to Nickel Plate’s Calumet shop for conversion into business car #7 (the second Nickel Plate business car with this number). This conversion saw the removal of section #8 and the installation of a closet housing a hot water boiler so the car would have heat when operated on freight trains for inspection purposes. It remained in office car service until the merger with the Norfolk & Western Railway on October 16, 1964. After the merger, it was used on the old Nickel Plate system for a few official occasions, but not to the extent as when the Nickel Plate had it as a company business car.

In 1967, the car was sent to Chicago to replace the Chicago wreck derrick outfit’s wooden dining car. The Kitchi Gammi Club lost it name and simply became known as N&W #521417, a wreck diner-bunk car. In derrick service it was once again "remodeled." This time, section #2 was removed and a small foreman’s office was installed in its place. Section #7 was also removed and three wash sinks were installed. The original men’s bathroom and lounge was converted to a shower. Last but not least, the observation lounge was converted to an eating area with the addition of wooden booths and tabletops. It was a sad finish to a truly historical piece of equipment.

The car remained in Chicago until 1988 when it was retired as surplus and shipped to Roanoke, VA for disposition. This is usually when cars are sold to scrap dealers. However, the scrap dealers would never get to use their torches on this car. In 1989, Virginia Rail Investment Corp. purchased the Kitchi Gammi Club and moved it to Lynchburg, VA for work to determine the soundness and probability of restoration. After complete removal of all the old and outdated equipment underneath and inside the car, it was sandblasted and primed. After careful inspection, the car was found to be in excellent condition, and restoration was started. The car moved from Lynchburg to Roanoke, then on to Evansville, IN where the majority of the work was accomplished.

In 2007, the Kitchi Gammi Club was shopped once again for some upgrades in Morristown, NJ. The original 1923 trucks were replaced with smoother-riding trucks from a New Haven heavyweight streamlined coach, and a brand new, state-of-the-art stainless steel kitchen was installed.

The 1989, 1997,2007 and 2019 restorations included:

  • Replacement of all windows with red mahogany frames and thermopane shatterproof glass.

  • Complete new kitchen where the old shower was located.

  • New buffet area in old section #7 area.

  • New bathroom in the old boiler closet area.

  • New bathroom with a stainless steel shower located in the old foreman’s office area.

  • Complete new electrical system and new wiring and components throughout the car.

  • New air conditioning system

  • New electric heating systems

  • Completely new water system with stainless steel water tanks holding 400 gallons of water and all new copper pipe.

  • Addition of new water pressure system.

  • New sewage treatment system.

  • New and complete overhaul of the trucks to meet Amtrak specs.

  • New tightlock couplers

  • Complete overhaul of the air brake system

  • The addition of a new Duetz diesel 40kw generator set with fuel tank to power all these systems.

  • Addition of 480 volt HEP to meet Amtrak specs.

  • Reupholstering of Section area.

  • New carpet throughout.