Here’s your chance to ride historic train cars out of New York’s Penn Station along the Hudson River

Apr 9, 2022

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Calling all train and history buffs: Now’s your chance to take a journey along the Hudson River aboard one of two restored railroad cars dating back to 1948, and once part of the “Most Famous Train in the World.”

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Starting in June, travelers can board the Hickory Creek or Tavern-Lounge No. 43, both departing from Pennsylvania Station’s Moynihan Train Hall en route to the Albany-Rensselaer station, as part of Hudson River Rail Excursions’ summer schedule.

“The excursion traverses the original New York Central main line between Manhattan and Albany, upon which the Hickory Creek and Tavern-Lounge No. 43 traveled in the 1940s and 50s,” according to a press release issued by the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey, which operates the trains.

The Hickory Creek car stems from the 20th Century Limited, which made its debut nearly 75 years ago at Grand Central Terminal and carried passengers such as then-Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and Walt Disney.

Costumed passengers board historic train
(Photo by Mark Forman/The United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey)

“The new train, with its mid-century modern aesthetic and luxury appointments, catered to the highest of society,” according to the historical society. “Entrepreneurs, business people and celebrities knew there was no other way to travel from New York City to Chicago.”

Today, Hickory Creek is the only remaining restored passenger car from the 20th Century Limited collection.

Tickets to ride this upscale train cost $349 plus approximately $20 in taxes and fees, which includes a four-course meal, beer and wine, along with dedicated staff.

Related: Moynihan Train Hall brings modernity to NYC’s Penn Station with skylights galore

Or you can get more bang for your buck and travel the route via the Tavern-Lounge No. 43 car. For $143, riders can expect buffet-style sandwiches, sides and bring-your-own alcohol.

“Built in 1947 by the Budd Company, the No. 43 was one of 13 tavern-lounge cars that New York Central used on its daytime long distance passenger runs,” according to the release. “With comfortable lounge chairs and cozy tavern booths, it offered passengers a reprieve from their coach seats, where they could drink, eat and socialize with other passengers.”

Tickets will be available to purchase online starting at 10 a.m. ET on April 22, and are available for weekend travel Friday-Sunday on select dates in June, September and October. There’s no assigned seating.

Reservations for group travel, including full-car rentals and events, are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Both trains depart Penn Station at 11:20 a.m. and arrive at Albany-Rensselaer at 1:50 p.m. for a brief layover, before departing at 4:30 p.m. and returning back to New York for a 7:05 p.m. arrival.

“You will step back in time as you step aboard one of our two historic cars. On the journey between New York and Albany, lunch and drinks will be served while you enjoy the one-of-a-kind view of the passing Hudson River,” according to the historic society. “After an intermission at Albany-Rensselaer, our train will skate along the Hudson with the setting sun. Our historic rail cars, traveling on the tail end of Amtrak’s Empire Service, will traverse the very tracks that the 20th Century Limited did from 1902 to 1967.”

Note that in addition to the train travel itself, tickets also include access to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge, which opened in January as a full-service bar offering alcoholic beverages, La Colombe coffee and food.

Read more: NYC’s hottest new bar? Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge

Featured photo by John McCloskkey Jr./The United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey.

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