Beautiful  memories available for charter - Travel the elegant  classic private Pullman passenger railroad car - Destination USA and Canada
 The best way to see and enjoy America - by rail!Frequently Asked ?'s

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question: How much does it cost to charter, rent, or lease the DOVER HARBOR?
Answer: To answer this question, you need to talk directly to our Charter Agent,  There is basic information on our Pricing & Costs page.

The same answer applies for stationary charters.

Question: What's your most popular trip? 
Answer: 
One-day round  trips to Williamsburg, Virginia  from Washington, D.C. Talk to our Charter Agent for more information about this and all other destinations.

Question: Can a group of people charter the DOVER HARBOR?
Answer: Yes.  Many of our clients do this to share costs and still experience the wonder and elegance of first-class rail car travel.  With accommodations for 24 guests on day trips and up to 10 guests on overnight trips, sharing costs with friends, family, or anyone can make a DOVER HARBOR trip affordable for people who otherwise might not even consider an individual charter.

Question: What is the schedule for the DOVER HARBOR?
Answer: The DOVER HARBOR does not run on a set schedule. We operate the car on a first-come first-serve basis. To find out if the DOVER HARBOR is available for specific dates, your need to talk directly to our Charter Agent.

Question: How many people can the DOVER HARBOR accommodate?
Answer: The DOVER HARBOR can accommodate 24 passengers on day trips and up to 10 passengers on overnight trips. At stationary charters, the car can usually accommodate about 30 people comfortably (but only 24 seated at one time). If you want to take a bigger group on your journey, our Charter Agent can arrange for additional accommodations with other private cars. 

On occasion we have also had customers who wanted to take 24 people on an overnight trip.  It is also possible and economical to rent sleeping space from Amtrak on some routes.  This allows all members of your party to use the DOVER HARBOR during the day and still accommodates sleeping space for everyone on the train overnight. 

Some of our customers also  take long day trips and accommodate their guests in hotels during a layover before the return voyage.

Question: Who makes arrangements with the railroads for a trip?
Answer: Our Charter Agent, can make all the arrangements with the railroads for your trip. 

Question: What arrangements are available for food and beverage service?
Answer: Depending upon your requirements and desires, we can either arrange for and prepare the food and beverage service, hire an outside chef, and/or work with a caterer of your choosing. We provide a menu tailored to your exact requirements and can make all the arrangements for you. It's up to you.  

Question: Who provides the crew for the DOVER HARBOR?
Answer: Crew for the DOVER HARBOR is arranged for by our Charter Agent. We generally provide a mechanical officer, who is responsible for the operation of the car and is the railroad liaison. We also provide  at least one Porter/steward who is responsible for  attending to  the needs of our passengers (making beds, beverages and snacks, meal service, cleaning). The steward may serve as the Chef or we may arrange separately for one, depending upon your needs.  Our staff  is very experienced, polished, and professional in the best traditions of first-class  service and the legendary Pullman Company. We always go the extra mile for our customers, and provide 'service with a smile.'

Question: Where does the DOVER HARBOR operate?
Answer: The car can travel anywhere in the Amtrak system (east coast, west coast, and everywhere in between), in Canada (including parts of the VIA rail system), and on most freight or tourist railroads. For most of our charters, we make arrangements with Amtrak to attach the DOVER HARBOR to a regularly scheduled Amtrak train. However, the car is available for operation on freight railroads, public excursion trains, private trains, or other special rail services.  Let us know your needs, and we'll see what we can do for you.

Question: How much does the DOVER HARBOR operate?
Answer: The DOVER HARBOR typically operates between 5,000 and 20,000 miles per year.

Question: Who owns and operates the DOVER HARBOR?
Answer: The car is owned and operated by the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc.

Question: Who should I talk to for more information?
Answer: Please talk to our Charter Agent.

Question: I have security and privacy concerns about my journey.  Do you have experience in transporting high-profile people in private and are you prepared to protect the privacy and security of such people?
Answer: Yes.  Put your mind at ease. We treat all charter and lease arrangements as private movements of the DOVER HARBOR and protect your privacy accordingly. We have had quite a few high-profile/important/famous  passengers and guests aboard the DOVER HARBOR where we had to address privacy and security concerns. For specific issues,  talk to our  Charter Agent,.

Question: Can I ride the DOVER HARBOR without chartering it?
Answer: Yes.  The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. operates occasional trips on the DOVER HARBOR. 

Question: On day trips, can I use the bedrooms?
Answer: Yes.  We always have at least two bedrooms available for use on day trips.

 

Question: What does the term 'Private Varnish' mean?
Answer: The term 'Private Varnish' dates to the late 1800's when private railroad cars, or more typically, the private cars of railroad officials were decorated with highly ornate wood interiors, frequently consisting of mahogany, walnut, oak, and other exotic woods; oftentimes with elaborate inlays and other decorations. These cars, both inside and out, were given numerous coats of polished varnish to protect the woods and finishes and it is from this, that the term 'private varnish' is derived. 

'Varnish' was also an appellation given to the premier trains of the day, as these cars too, would have had highly polished finishes. 

As time and technology marched on, railroad cars became made less and less of wood. During the 'standard era' of railroad car construction, passenger cars became largely constructed of steel. DOVER HARBOR is of this era of construction. It's interior has only a small amount of actual wood (mahogany). It was common during the transition into this era however to have faux wood grain painted onto the steel interiors as passengers were accustomed to the wood, and the thinking was that steel was less posh of a material. Over time however, this practice was abandoned, and other decoration schemes were employed. DOVER HARBOR, to our knowledge, did not have any faux wood graining; today, it is painted as it was when rebuilt in 1934, with panels of several paint shades, and pen lining. This repainting has been accomplished via the use of the Pullman builder's photographs which we have obtained. Today, some, but not all private railroad cars have wood interiors, but the term 'Private Varnish' is still very much in use as a reference to these cars.
Question: How fast can the DOVER HARBOR go?
Answer: The DOVER HARBOR can and does travel at  speeds up to 110 mph.
Question: What is a heavy weight car?
Answer:  During the period between about 1910 and the mid nineteen thirties, most passenger cars were built with three axle trucks, concrete floors, and riveted, double-walled sides and often weighted 90 - 100 tons or more. This period was known as the standard era of passenger railroad car construction.  Beginning in the 1930's, passenger car bodies were constructed entirely of metal, welded, had  two-axle trucks, and weighted nominally about 45 - 50 tons.  Today, these cars are referred to as "lightweight" cars because of their relative light weight as compared to the standard era cars, which are now often often called heavyweights.  The DOVER HARBOR is a heavyweight car.  Heavyweight cars are known for their smooth ride and solid construction. 
Question: On overnight trips, does your Porter/Steward still shine shoes like in the old days?
Answer:  Yes. 

Set sail for a first-class adventure aboard the
 DOVER HARBOR ...

 

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This page was last updated on January 03, 2014