Office car on display at Fernandina Beach, Fla. : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

A friend sent me an April 1999 photo of an office car lettered "SEABOARD" and named "FERNANDINA," on display at the ex-SAL Fernandina Beach depot. Can anyone supply details of this car's history, and who put it on display and when?

-- Larry Goolsby (, December 22, 1999


Boy, I hate it when that happens! Had I read the first response more carefully, I would have seen that the "FERNANDINA" IS the former "BLUE RIDGE"!! I guess I did not recognize her without those wonderful swivel lounge chairs that lined the sides of the observation lounge when in service on the New Georgia. Of course, there must be a typo in the first response. The "BLUE RIDGE" had to have been purchased and moved to Fernandina Beach in 1996, not 1966. Nice to know the history of the car, though.

-- Stephen S. Syfrett (, August 10, 2002.

An update on this car. Apparently, at some time between the the initial posing of the question and 2002, the FERNANDINA was sold to a private individual. The car is currently in the New Orleans, LA area, secure, and still lettered "SEABOARD" and named "FERNANDINA" with a SEABOARD herald on the platform end.

The observation lounge area occupies most of the car. A bar is located adjacent to the two remaining former bedrooms, which currently hold heating, cooling and other mechanical equipment. The first bedroom from the vestibule end is where the residential-type AC/heat system is located. A large vented opening was cut in the side of the car to provide for fresh air flow into the mechanical compartment. This opening is similar in appearance to that on the "BLUE RIDGE", used on the New Georgia Railroad trains in the mid 1980s to 1990s.

Interior woodwork is nice, not especially ornate, but very nice. Some water damage and rot is evident along some of the window sills, but nothing that cannot be repaired by a good carpenter. Two ceiling fans hang in the clerestory recess. Prior to moving to its current location, vandals broke out the obs end door glass and broke some of the glass wall sconce light fixtures. Overall, the car is in decent shape and rides on bolt-on pedestal 3-axle trucks with grease-filled roller bearings. It is my understanding the owner intends to restore the bedroom areas and move the HVAC equipment elsewhere on the car.

Maybe someone can provide additional information regarding when it was sold and moved. I am aware of the current owner, but will not divulge the name out of respect for the individual's privacy. I do wish the owner good luck in this endeavor. It is a very nice car, deserving of a fine restoration.

-- Stephen S. Syfrett (, August 09, 2002.

"Fernandina" is a Parlor-Obsevation car built by Pullman in January 1927. Original name was "Helena Modjeska" and served on the DL&W. Originally built as 26-parlor chair, 1 drawing room observation car. Sold in 1945 to Wabash RR. Modernized in 1954 and renamed "City of Lafayette". The "City" became the last regularly scheduled open-platform observation car in the US. It served on the CANNON BALL, BANNER BLUE and BLUE BIRD trains. N&W renamed it to "Lafayette" and converted it for use as a business-office car.

In 1960 it went to the Clinchfield and renamed "White Oak" Used on steam excursions and Santa Claus Special. When CRR became part of CSX the car went into service on the New Georgia Railroad and was renamed "Blue Ridge"

In 1966 it was acquired by Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce from CSX and moved to Fernandina Beach. It now serves as private offices for the local Chamber of Commerce and is not open to the general public.

This info is from a flyer publised by the Chamber in Fernandina Beach. There phone number is 904-261-3248.

Craig Strickland

-- Craig Strickland (, December 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ