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Northern Sky

Gran Touring Car

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Harold Kept many of his photos on sites which no longer exist.

Northern Sky in Union Station.

AMTK 800588, AMTK, AMTK passenger cars, Passenger cars, photographed on 23 October 1999 at Chicago Union Station by Harold A. Driscoll using a Sony Mavica MVC-FD88 digital camera [railfan/1999/10/99a23376.jpg] NEW 24 October 1999

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Impressed with and curious about the car Northern Sky, I took these photos despite the suboptimal conditions. A short note to the All Aboard discussion list quickly yielded three quite informative responses.

"Northern Sky is owned by Northern Sky Rail Tours out of Milwaukee.  She was through here last week on return trip of the Dixie Flyer, a 15-car special of private varnish returning from the AARPCO convention in Tampa.  She's a real beauty.  Read about her at: www.northernsky.com." -- David Chamberlain, Memphis, TN

"The Northern Sky was part of the AARPCO train.  Here is the information I have gleaned. Northern Sky 800588, ACF [American Car Foundry] built as Union Pacific dome / lounge /observation 9003 in 1955; went to Auto Train in 1973; owned by David & Marilyn Hoffman." -- Don Mills, Huntington, WV

"The car is owned by a 'successful Wisconsin State highway contractor' by the name of David Hoffman. For more information about the car, check out the web site www.northernsky.com (from where the above quote is taken).  Dave is (or at least was until recently) the President of the American Association of Private Rail Car Owners [AAPRCO].

"I had the pleasure of meeting Dave and riding with him from Albany to Philadelphia on a special Buy Miles train last May.  It seems that the Northern Sky car was then on a private charter, and AAPRCO needed at least ten cars to justify the trip.  So Dave and his family traveled not in the Northern Sky car, but rather in a former Amtrak (ex-Union Pacific) coach he also owns, now named City of Milwaukee.

"I was particularly interested in the trip because it gave me the opportunity for the first time to ride the West Shore Railroad (ex-New York Central, ex-Conrail, now CSX River Line) through my home town, Teaneck, N.J.  Because the car was only a coach with few amenities, Dave let me (and a few other rail enthusiasts) ride the car for the day for only $100 apiece.  (By comparison, another private car owner on that train had quoted me a price of $600, which did include one night's lodging in the car and meals).

"It was a wonderful trip, and Dave was a great host.  The weather was beautiful, and the ride down the West Shore Line was very scenic.  Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to ride the High Line which bypasses the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, and affords spectacular views of the station and downtown Philadelphia." -- Daniel Chazin, Teaneck, N.J.

Car markings on AMTK 800588: Northern Sky, Gran Touring Car, Railway Car Deluxe, 9003, 800588. [23 October 1999]

Equipment characteristics of AMTK 800588: AAR car type M500 (M-O-W, Scale, Passenger, Caboose, and End-of-train information systems), external dimensions (length 87' 0"). [courtesy of BNSF Equiptment Characteristics, October 1999]

Chicago Rail Photographs collection updated 14 May 2024 at 01:03. Photographs and text copyright © 1998-2000 Harold A. Driscoll, All Rights Reserved. Email address is provided exclusively for personal contact, but emphatically not for use for SPAM net.abuse.