Built in 1941 for the “finest daytime train in the world,” the Empire State Express cars were designed for “streamlined luxury and everyday travel.” The original train set featured parlor cars, dining cars, and reclining coach seats featuring every modern convenience of the time and was routinely pulled by New York Central’s iconic streamlined Hudson-type steam locomotives.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society acquired these cars from the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in 2022. As they are restored, the coaches will become ideal passenger cars for excursions and special events and retain elements of their luxurious heritage.
All seven of these cars will require extensive overhauls. Two cars are ideally suited for conversion into lounge or table cars patterned after the New York Central’s original designs. When each is completed, their combined use will make it possible to host an additional 500 guests aboard our trains!
As of August 2023, work is currently focused on fundraising $160,000 to restore one coach for service in 2024. Conversion of a coach into a first-class car is estimated at $280,000. Full restoration of the fleet is estimated at approximately $1,160,000. Work will be accomplished at our restoration shop in New Haven, Indiana.