When the Budd Company of Philadelphia delivered sleeping car #1417 “Pacific Gardens” to the Union Pacific Railroad in 1950, no one could have envisioned the car lasting well into the next century. Aside from its service on UP’s famed streamliners, the advent of Amtrak in 1971 extended its career another 35 years. The quasi-government corporation absorbed most of the surviving rail passenger cars from the private railroads, and Pacific Gardens was among them. In fact, it was one of the more desirable cars, having been well maintained by Union Pacific. It became the backbone of Amtrak’s sleeping car fleet until newer cars arrived in the 1980s and ‘90s, leading to its eventual retirement. Following several years of storage, Pacific Gardens was generously donated to the Museum by Amtrak in late 2019. The car is in excellent condition, having undergone a number of mechanical upgrades and reconfigurations.
Part of a 50-car order, Pacific Gardens was the finest in post-war streamlined passenger equipment – arriving on the UP at a time when train travel across the western United States was still the preferred mode for most Americans. The car was part of a series of named sleepers, each prefixed with “Pacific.” It joined Union Pacific’s fleet of vacation trains bound for the west coast and Pacific Northwest. The new sleepers featured ten single-occupancy roomettes and six double-occupancy bedrooms. Known as “10-6” cars, they shared the most common floor plan of all first-class sleeping cars of the streamlined era.