Where Do I Start

Due to the many factors involved in planning a private rail car trip, it helps to find a private rail car operator who is knowledgeable about the type of trip you desire.

Many private car owners operate their own trips, while some depend on other operators who can provide all the services to guarantee a successful trip. You may wish to ask prospective car owners and operators for details of past trips in order to assure the best match with your desires. Our on-line charter guide will introduce you to the many private rail cars that are available. If you prefer, we also have a printed charter guide available. In addition, many owner’s cars have been featured in our magazine, Private Varnish.

A variety of car types are available. Choose one best suited for the type of trip which you propose. For example, while individual business cars are ideal for small intimate groups, they are inappropriate for large groups. Glass-topped dome cars offer breathtaking vistas along the way, but are restricted from operation in a few areas of the USA, such as Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington DC, New York NY and Boston MA; the Hudson River line between Albany-Rensselaer NY and New York NY; and the Lake Shore Limited’s Boston section between Albany-Rensselaer NY and Boston MA, due to clearance restrictions. A private car owner or operator can be very helpful in working with you to choose the ideal car for your trip, and to determine which charter requests may not be feasible due to operating limitations imposed by host railroads.

Unfortunately, Amtrak has prohibited riding on open observation platforms of private cars, effective May 2019.  Although you can still enjoy the rear facing view from the comfort of the car’s observation lounge, you can not be on the observation platform when the private car is moving on any Amtrak train.

Julie King, the Executive Director at our national office, can also help you in finding out more information. Her contact information is noted below. Before you charter a car, here are some things you should know.

Ms. Julie King
Executive Director, AAPRCO
311 East Main Street, Suite 512
Galesburg, Illinois 61401-4838
(706) 326-6262