4/3/2013 2:33:00 PM Relic of the rails to visit during annual crane festival
aboard the 1910 private railcar – The Abraham Lincoln. The oldest operating railroad car in America will be open to the public in Othello for reminiscing the golden age of railroads Saturday, April 6. Parked along North Broadway, the car will be open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for free self guided tours courtesy of The Columbia Basin Railroad, Wilbur- Ellis Company, Cenex Harvest States, The Othello Crane Festival and the CC Andrews Family. Submitted photo.
America's oldest operating passenger railroad car and one of the few to be listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, The Abraham Lincoln, will be open for free public tours in Othello April 6. One hundred and fifty years ago, George Pullman developed what became the world standard for passenger rail service. In 1863, Pullman built his first rail car to demonstrate his ideas, but it was two feet wider than any previous car in order to accommodate his unique fold down sleeping berth arrangement along both sides of the car. Although the railroads did not like the oversize car, the public did and within 20 years, Pullman had thousands of his elegant cars running on tracks throughout the developed world. To ride a 'Pullman' was to experience the most comfortable, elegant and fastest ride available to mankind. For 50 years, Pullman improved the comfort and amenities in his cars. The wood framed cars became larger, more ornate and thoroughly elegant for the Victorian era. Then a century ago, The Pullman Company changed their factories to produce longer steel-framed heavyweight cars with tailored mission style interiors and electric lights. The 20 years between 1910 and 1929 became known as the golden age of railroads. Built by The Pullman Company in the fall of 1910, this railroad coach was one of the first cars produced for the new modern age. Completely rebuilt by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad into a self-contained business car in 1929, it became the last mission-style heavyweight business car put into service before the financial crash of 1929 abruptly ended the romanticized era. The Abraham Lincoln has survived for more than a century as a unique example of this important period in transportation history. The venerable railroad car will arrive in Othello on the same tracks the Milwaukee Railroad's Olympia and Hiawatha passenger trains traveled a century ago. It will be open for free tours in conjunction with the community's Sandhill Crane Festival April 6. Everyone with an interest in early railroads, history or antiques is invited to step back in time and walk through the museum quality restoration to experience an era lost to the ages.