Union Pacific’s Pony Cars
We have just returned from our private-car charter with this time being from LA to Denver in the winter. We called it the ‘Polar Smith Express’ and there was no disappointment, because it was blue skies or snowing and was such a delight. You can see some of the photos trickling in by checking out the Tours link here.
These trips are so special and one thing that makes them so is the staff provided by California Zephyr Railcharters. The chief steward, William Hall, is just a delight and has been on every trip with us. He is from the ‘old school’ of railroad passenger service and was hired on with the Southern Pacific serving in the private car service and then moved to the Union Pacific with that merger. Over-the-years he continues to be in demand on the UP’s passenger ’Specials’, and we are blessed that he rings the dinner bell on our trips.
On a recent excursion, I was talking with William about his work with the UP executives on their beautiful yellow train. He began talking about the experiences on what he called ’The Pony Cars’. I stopped him by asking what the pony cars were and he told me it’s what we call UP’s private business car train. I asked him why they are called that and he said it is because the ponies follow ’the big horse’. (I just love learning a new railroad slang term, and one I have never heard used before.)
My second release of UP’s ‘Pony Cars’ is on the riveted-side business car body. ‘Office Cars’, as these are also known, are all unique. The current release using this different body version will help bring that eclectic feel to what is commonly called Union Pacific’s most beautiful train. The first two cars sold out quickly and these appear to be just as popular. The colors are carefully matched to the UP Historical Society’s color specifications, retail for $68 each, and are expected in the next two weeks!