Autumn Colors Express consist will include plenty of domes

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New River Train power passes private varnish during its runaround move in Hinton, W.Va., on Oct. 28, 2017.
Chase Gunnoe
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — As the Autumn Colors Express rolls through southern West Virginia in late October 2019, the train’s consist will largely resemble the previous New River Train, however a few stark differences may pique the interest of local followers.

The consist will feature three Amtrak diesel locomotives and 29 private cars. Similar to the New River Train in recent years, there will be no Amtrak cars. Various classes of service will be available, including coach, deluxe coach, lounge, private suites, dome cars, and chairman class cars.

Many of the privately owned cars that once made up the New River consist will return, but a few private cars will stand out with the 2019 consist. The Milwaukee Road Cedar Rapids will serve as an eastbound tail car, while the Pennsylvania Railroad Frank Thompson will serve as the westbound tail car. Both cars are chairman’s class cars and have not operated on the New River Train in recent history.

Similarly, Northern Pacific No. 549, a Budd short dome will make its excursion debut on the Autumn Colors Express consist in 2019 and the California Zephyr Silver Palace car is another new face joining the consist. There are a total of seven dome cars that will be made available for the three-day trips this fall.

The most notable difference will be six Budd-built self-propelled vehicles, or SPVs, that were originally constructed with cabs and traction motors. These recently restored passenger cars resemble Amtrak’s Amfleet-style cars and will be part of the coach class service. Originally used in Northeastern commuter rail service, the Autumn Colors Express will serve as their first introduction to excursion service as Amtrak-certified cars.

Autumn Colors Express excursions will depart from Huntington on Oct. 25-27, 2019. Tickets went on sale on Monday, Aug. 5. More information is available online.

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