Rail barons and the new gilded age: one-percenters travel in style by hitching private "super-luxe" railcars to Amtrak trains


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/26/pullman-2-0.html


At last, a reason for Republicans to like trains!


So what does their ideal world look like?

A world entirely of suburbs and country houses? Everyone driving nice cars everywhere except for private jet owners?


Do it hacker-style. Get a freight car, trick it out with a nice apartment inside. Then add a box to spoof the transponder car ID so that you can tell the routing system that you’re whatever freight car you want.

The practical details of how to use that to route from place to place without the system throwing flags, and how to park it in accessible locations, I leave as an exercise…


Now THIS is what I call a Private Railcar! Later nerds!


I don’t know, it seems like Amtrak probably got a nice little fee out of this. Lord knows they don’t need to lose any more revenue streams. I can see where the wild parties might be a problem however because Amtrak likes to put the quiet cars on the end of the train. I’m sure the workers grumbled more than a little at needing to accommodate some 1%ers special car too.

I’m a little confused why the Positive Train Control should be an issue, since it’s the kind of thing that retrofitting in would be in the line noise for a luxury coach like this. If you’re spending millions on refurbishing and outfitting a coach, adding a few thousand for some PTC is NBD.


A real return to the wild wild West?


maybe there’s more to the handcar…


How else can you travel with your ocelot?



Maybe there is.


I see your point with regards to cost, but there are two very important points to be made here:

  1. It’s The Principle - these people didn’t get rich without watching every cent to make sure that it was well spent. (Or at least, their parents or grandparents didn’t.) Every cent spent on trivial “red tape” safety concerns that are forced on them by an uncaring bloated government is a cent that could have bought some more gold leaf on the toilet taps.
  2. Don’t You Know Who I Am? - This is the land of the free, and they shouldn’t be forced to spend money on safety - especially not other people’s safety! Anyone who can afford their own train car is above petty rules that others might have to deal with. They either pay other people to handle these rules, or pay politicians to remove them. Either way, rules are for poor people. What would be the point of a free market if you can’t buy your whims?

Yeah, I’m stereotyping. I’m a bad man.

But does anyone really want to take a bet that all arguments against these refits don’t boil down to one of those two points?


Soviets had motorized hand cars.


Did you know that rich people also own private yachts and private jets and live in giant gated estates and travel in airlines with levels above first class that we can’t imagine? These private rail cars are maybe the closest to carbon neutral that conspicuous, ostentatious wealth gets.


don’t tell elon boring musk :slight_smile:


I ship those ahead by UPS



It is kind of fitting that the Stalker clip is blocked and replaced by a stark message and some static.

@teknocholer I like that the advert says the attachment is “Nicely Enameled in black”.


Other than the fact that they’re paying for carriage, how is this different from people driving their bus-sized RVs on publicly funded highways?


I was idly looking into this several years ago with the idea it’d be like owning a speedboat. Most of the time it sits in the garage but occasionally you take it out to jaunt along the hundreds of kilometres of disused railway.

At the time I was thinking the best option was to find scrap wheels/axles locally which turned out to be a problem, but watching this video I realise I was way off. All I need is approximately four wheels from somewhere and the rest can be figured out as you go along. I might have to revive that idea.


If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. https://www.amtrak.com/planning-booking/private-train-cars.html

The problem isn’t fitting it to the cars, to the best of my knowledge they don’t need to be fitted for it, just the locomotives. The problem is installing it onto the signaling system on the tracks. My understanding is that it is only required for passenger trains, and freight railroads which only have a few passenger trains per week over their tracks are reluctant to pay for it.