PPCX 800708

A Historical Perspective - The First 50 Years

MOUNT VERNON is one of fifty "PACIFIC" series 10 roomette 6 double bedroom sleepers built by the Budd Company, between December 1949 and June 1950, for Pullman service on the Union Pacific.  It was built as PACIFIC ISLAND.


In 1969, Union Pacific assigned number 1423 to PACIFIC ISLAND.

It was acquired by Amtrak in 1971, but Amtrak did not identify the car as Amtrak 2617 PACIFIC ISLAND until December 1974. Over the first 5 years of Amtrak service, records indicate the car was assigned to various trains:

August 1971 stored at Los Angeles
February 1972 Amtrak trains 40/41, Broadway Limited
August 1972 Amtrak trains 81/82, Silver Star
February 1973 trains 11/14, Coast Starlight
August 1973 trains 5/6, San Francisco Zephyr
February 1974 trains 52/53, Floridian
July 1974

shopped at Rail Systems (Rohr)
Chula Vista, CA

February 1975 New York - Los Angeles through service via New Orleans (Southern Railway trains 1/2, Southern Crescent
and Amtrak trains 1/2, Sunset Limited)
August 1975 trains 7/8, Empire Builder
February 1976 trains 5/6, San Francisco Zephyr

In 1977, it was one of the first two sleepers that Amtrak converted to HEP; it became Amtrak 2917 PACIFIC ISLAND, and was assigned to operate with the new Amfleet I cars on The Night Owl between Washignton and Boston. After providing more than a decade and one-half further revenue service, Amtrak retired the car, stored it at Miami, and sold it in the mid-1990s.

We acquired the car from The Sleeper Line, a Canadian corporation, in April 1999, and began a repair and refurbishing process that took about 40 months.

Delaware Car Company completed the mechanical and electrical work required by the Amtrak PC-2 ("forty year") inspection and Amtrak PC-1 (annual) inspection.  The car was recertified for mainline (Amtrak and Via Rail Canada) private car service in 2002. Interior refurbishment and additional mechanical work was completed by Bob Willetts and his crew at the Lancaster & Chester Railway's facility in Lancaster, South Carolina.  The car's interior configuration has been converted to a six double bedroom lounge that sleeps 12 for overnight trips and can accomodate 25 for daytime trips. You can find more information (with photos) on the repair and refurbishing process here.

We renamed the car MOUNT VERNON in honor of George & Martha Washington's estate on the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Although still identified as Union Pacific 1423 PACIFIC ISLAND in the UP's yellow, red, and gray colors,
the car is actually owned by Amtrak.  The car is in the consist of the northbound Panama Limited
arriving at Chicago from New Orleans on April 7th, 1973.  Having just dropped down off the St Charles Air Line,
the car is at 16th and Canal Streets as the train is making the backup move into Chicago Union Station.
[Photo by John H. Kuehl]

A September 1996 photograph of the car stored at Amtrak's Beech Grove Shop pending disposition..
[Photo by Richard Longpre]

Our MOUNT VERNON is not the first railroad passenger car to bear this name.
Here is some information on an earlier passenger car named MOUNT VERNON.

This page was updated on September 3, 2014