Our Open-Air Gondola

Many of our passenger trains include this car. It can now be reserved in advance, often with the option of a bad weather refund.

This car came from the Great Lakes Steel mill on Zug Island. It was made to haul steel pipe around the international rail system. While it's difficult to tell heritage of a steel-mill car, we believe it originates on the New York Central - same as our railroad! We added the pipe handrails, deck, seats and boarding ramps.

open-air car full of people
R. MacDowell photo


The car has outward facing bench seats, and no canopy - you are in the open air! This produces much better sight lines, and lets you see all around, all the time. The train moves about 10 mph, so wind blast is not a serious concern. Just the same, dress for the weather!

The boarding ramps on the ends of the car are not intended for use while the train is moving - so you must pick your seat and stay. For unexpected weather, we often stop the train to rearrange passengers.

We have had many in the historic railway community tell us that this is the best open-air car they've seen. We're proud of that, especially since we fixed up the car when the organization was very young, and the Members who led the project weren't old enough to drink!

Open air gondola in the rain
R. MacDowell photo

We caught this photo after our a Fall Color weekend. We had just dropped off the last of the passengers, and the sky opened up. The colors were like that - this photo is unaltered except for size. Beyond, you see South Shore #1. Photo taken from Memorial Caboose.