Business Car, Pullman Co., Lot 5301, Plan 3995, December 1929
Car #440 has had a colorful and varied history. It began its career as a unique salon-club car “Minnekahda Club,” built by Pullman in December of 1929 along with several similar cars for mid-train lounge service on Chicago Burlington & Quincy’s overnight Chicago-Twin Cities train Blackhawk. As built, it featured four single bedrooms, two compartments, one drawing room, and an “intimate club room” with walls finished in walnut paneling.
In May 1935, the car was rebuilt to plan 3995D specification with the two single rooms converted to two double rooms. In December 1948, the car was sold to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and renumbered #775 for use as a business car. NYNH&H renumbered the car #100 in 1955 after conversion to a crew car. In 1968, the Genesee & Wyoming purchased the car and renamed it “Edward I” for use as a business car.
The car changed hands one final time when the Chicago & North Western acquired it in 1980 and numbered it #404. C&NW rebuilt the interior to its present configuration of four bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, and observation room. The one end of the car was also modified, removing the closed vestibule to fabricate an open end platform. In early 1982, the car was reassigned to the Mechanical Department and renumbered #440. In 1983, #440 was repainted to Pullman green and donated to Mid-Continent for use with #1385 on her excursions over the C&NW system. The car was named “Philip R. Hastings” to honor the longtime member and past-president. In October 2015 the car repainted in the C&NW’s classic green-and-yellow color scheme. Today, #440 is used for Mid-Continent’s dining service trains offered several times per year.
Like many of the midwest granger roads, the Chicago & North Western Railway was formed with the consolidation of smaller lines and quickly expanded. C&NW was organized in 1859 by joint acts of the Illinois and Wisconsin state legislatures to comprise a main trunk route running northwest from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin and on to Green Bay. In 1864, the pioneering Galena & Chicago Union was merged, and the C&NW was on its way to becoming a major link in the east-west transcontinental between Chicago and Council Bluffs, Iowa where it connected with the Union Pacific. By the turn of the century, C&NW reached seven states with over 5,000 miles of track. After the depression, prudent management kept the company successful by pruning unprofitable lines and long-distance passenger trains. C&NW soon merged several competitors to strengthen its traffic base, including M&StL in 1959, Chicago Great Western in 1968, and the Rock Island’s Minneapolis-Kansas City route in 1980. In 1995, C&NW succumbed itself when it folded into the Union Pacific. Mid-Continent’s ties with C&NW heritage are extensive: ex-C&NW steam locomotive #1385 traveled the North Western’s system extensively in the 1980’s, serving as its “goodwill ambassador,” and Mid-Continent’s rail line was purchased from the C&NW in 1963, allowing the museum to move to its present site.