The Caritas is America's premier art-deco private railway car. Built in 1948 by the Pullman Company for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad ("Frisco"-now part of the BN) as a 4 bedroom, 14-roomette sleeper, she operated on such famous trains as the Texas Special.
Sold to the Canadian National in 1964, her name was changed from Pierre LaClede (the founder of St. Louis) to Churchill Falls. High Iron bought her in 1983 and completely rebuilt the car into its current configuration while incorporating the latest technical and safety features including full air-conditioning, and self-contained power generation - permitting operation on freight trains and parking on isolated sidings.
The Caritas sleeps eight guests in three double bedrooms that maintain the original configuration. A master room has a double bed and its own shower. All rooms have their own lavatory and sink. A second shower serves the three double bedrooms. Two of the double rooms can be operated in-suite, providing an exclusive, private meeting or dining area for four.
Two dining tables seat four each for dining in the traditional manner of fine china, stemware, silverware and snowy napery. The galley is fully equipped to prepare meals to the tastes of the guests. The wine cellar is small yet provides a surprisingly wide range of vintages. A chef and attendant cater to the needs of all passengers.
A fully-equipped audio-visual system providing audio to all rooms can play cassette tapes and videos. A video monitor is located at the end of the car in the dining area. External speakers can be added to the platform for campaign train speeches. The platform is deep and provides considerable protection from wind and rain. As many as twenty people can be accommodated standing and six seated in folding chairs.
Caritas is unique. Plush and sleek, like the great railway cars of the famous trains of the 1940's and 50's, but as up-to-date as the Concorde. The lounge with its oversize windows seats ten. See the countryside go by through the large picture windows, or enjoy the company of friends in art-deco elegance on a trip of a lifetime. Consider the Caritas a "cruise ship on wheels" that can travel - or park - for a day or a month--wherever the tracks go in North America.
With its bedroom walls folded back, Caritas provides an exhibition area equipped with ac power, water and compressed air, plus audio/visual equipment in the lounge. The car is an ideal place to display products, conduct seminars and sales meetings, or present proposals while traveling or parked in a convenient downtown station or on an industrial siding. It's an exquisite, mobile hotel suite with its own room service providing complete control of an undistractable audience for uninterrupted presentations. No need to pack and unpack staff or displays.
Even when whistle-stop campaigns were expected and ordinary, they attracted considerable attention and brought out voters. In the last 10 years campaign trains have made something of a comeback because they permit the candidate to visit the voters and not rely on the increasingly ineffective 30-second sound bites of television. We have participated in, and operated, campaign specials lasting a day up to a week. A campaign train allows the candidate to face the public rested and relaxed as it does away with the frenetic rushing from plane to car to hotel to arena, always exposed, always too close and often late. Meals at regular hours, sleep and privacy make for a candidate who is fresh, alert and on her/his toes.
The trip of a lifetime. Sipping a martini ensconced in a soft lounge chair in your own private living room watching the country go by, sharing the moment with your friends. Better yet, sitting on the rear platform in the shadows of nabobs of yesteryear who traveled in their own private cars. Entertain in style or savor the intimacy of a private dinner in the traditional style, off fine china, silverware and linen napery with gourmet meals, fine wines and liquors--real service. Using the Caritas as a hotel en route means never carrying a bag, hailing a taxi or checking in.
How about the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, class reunion, anniversary, Mardi Gras, a hunting or fishing trip to otherwise inaccessible locations?