Tennessee Central Railway Museum

The Palm Beach Campaign

At the Crossroads of History

Glory Days

It was 1916, the peak year of railroad building, when the Pullman Company unveiled its crowning achievement to date. The massive all steel passenger car with its polished and gleaming new finish emerged through clouds of rising steam. Here was a remarkable, awe-inspiring Pullman: elegant and refined, yet utterly modern inside and out. Designated Palm Beach, this private business car epitomized the most luxurious appointments of its day.

Though it was originally commissioned for Pullman's general leasing service, the Palm Beach was destined to belong in an elite class. With its comparatively sumptuous and spacious accommodations, passage aboard this car was widely recognized as superior quality transportation. The self-sufficient design of the Palm Beach anticipated the need of its prestigious patrons. In addition to five state rooms, observation lounge, dining room for ten persons, shower bath, kitchen, pantry and porter's quarters, the car also boasted its own standby boiler for steam heat and ice-activated air conditioning. So exclusively comfortable was the Palm Beach that, reportedly, even President Franklin D. Roosevelt once reserved it for his use.

A Career in Twilight

When its career with the Pullman Company ended in 1942, the deluxe railway car Palm Beach was acquired by the Tennessee Central Railway. Known as business car #102, it plied the rails of central Tennessee occasionally venturing out on connecting railroads serving as a first class accommodation for that railroad's president, managers, and guests until the railroad's demise in 1968. Since that time, the car has been owned by the Nashville Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Its heyday only a memory, the Palm Beach has been kept in storage over the years. Its use dwindled; few recall its proud demeanor and history.

In the spring of 1993, the Tennessee Central Railway Museum approached the Historical Society with concern about the future of the Palm Beach. Since its retirement, the years have taken a grievous toll on the condition of this once resplendent example of Pullman ingenuity. Concerned about the possible loss of this historical treasure to the elements, the Historical Society transferred ownership of the Palm Beach to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in July of 1993.

Back on Track

The mission of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum is to preserve, restore, and operate historic railway cars for future generations to learn about railway transportation. No better specimen could be found to illustrate Tennessee railroad history than the Palm Beach. Meeting the challenge of restoring this car will require the dedicated commitment from many caring individuals. Each gift begins with a personal decision and a pledge to preserve a vanishing part of American history. In recognition of your support, each contributor's name will be engraved on a stately plaque for permanent display inside the Palm Beach. And when renovation is complete, a special reception will be held on the car itself to honor all donors who participated in this worthy project.

The Palm Beach Campaign needs your support

The Palm Beach restoration campaign will cost an estimated $150,000. We encourage individuals, groups, and clubs to respond to this challenge by participating at the highest level they can. Every contribution is an important step toward reaching our goal. All donations are tax deductable.

Special Contribution Levels:

Please send your contribution to:
Tennessee Central Railway Museum
220 Willow Street
Nashville, TN 37210-2159

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