Open House Set for Restored N&W Business Car

An open house has been set for Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Valparaiso, Indiana, to mark the completion of restoration of Norfolk & Western business car 300.

Built in 1917 by the Pullman Company for the United States Railroad Administration, the N&W purchased the car in 1920.

It operated for N&W successor Norfolk Southern through 1987 when it was deemed surplus and sold.

The restoration has been overseen by current owner Norfolk & Western Business Car 300 Preservation Society.

The restoration work included interior work as the car sat on a siding in Valparaiso.

Bryan Lalevee of the society spent three years negotiating with the previous owner of the car who eventually agreed to donate it to the society.

Lalevee also created a plan for its restoration. “It has been intensely gratifying to save a piece of railroad history that really deserved to be saved,” Lalevee said. 

The car had been rebuilt in 1988 to meet Amtrak standards but had been placed in storage in 1991.

Although the car’s exterior was described as being in excellent condition, the interior had sustained mold damage.

Volunteers stripped the interior, painted it, installed in new flooring and carpet, and restored the window shades.

They also restored the generator to enable lights and other appliances to be able to operate again.

The open house will be held

 “It was so awesome to know that this car was alive again,” he said. 

The car will be moved later this month to the Little River Railroad in Coldwater, Michigan, which plans to operate it on excursion trains.

Directions to the open house site can be at www.nw300.org./oenhouse/

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