City Life Snapshot: Pullman Rail Car

Jul 1, 2013
Originally published on June 28, 2013 9:20 pm

This City Life Snapshot brings us sound of an old fashioned technology for connecting our cities that's still operating in some parts of the country. We board a Pullman Rail Car that regularly makes the trip from Chicago to New Orleans thanks to the company, Pullman Rail Journeys. Head Steward Rick Hansen gives us a tour. This comes to us from Jennifer Brandel at member station WBEZ and the Localore project Curious City. Localore is nationwide initiative from the Association of Independents in Radio. City Life Snapshots are part of the NPR Cities Project.

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Another older technology that connects our cities now in this City Life Snapshot.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Track Number 19. Track Number 21, now ready for boarding. And thank you for choosing Amtrak.


CORNISH: The famous Pullman Rail Cars still run out of Chicago's Union Station.

RICK HANSON: What can I get you to drink?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I would just like a Virgin Mary.

HANSON: Absolutely.

My name is Rick Hanson and I'm the head steward on this trip. And we'll depart at eight, we'll have dinner, and we'll arrive in New Orleans tomorrow at about 2:30, three o'clock.


HANSON: We are currently in the Pullman Rail Car. And this car has both bedrooms, has an area for dining service and the lounge. And what we're trying to do is re-create the '50s first-class service. We're going to serve a four-course meal this evening and great wine, great champagne.


HANSON: This is our entire, you know, kitchen and bar in this room. So it all happens right here.

This is Joe, our chef.

JOE: Hi there.

HANSON: Yeah, what I'm going to do now is I've got an order for white wine and a Bloody Mary, so I'm going to add a few ingredients and make a perfect drink - and that's the Pullman tradition.


HANSON: It's really a privilege to do this, you know. It's a very unique thing. We're re-creating history. I get to ride and sleep on the train and eat on a train. It doesn't get much better than that.


CORNISH: Pullman Rail Journeys run from Chicago to New Orleans and back. Thanks to Jennifer Brandel and member station WBEZ for that City Life Snapshot. Jennifer is part of Localore, a nationwide initiative from the Association of Independence in Radio.

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