beebetrain.jpgFollowing hard upon Robert Sacheli’s three-part biography on Lucius Beebe, founder Christian M. Chensvold has written an article on chartering vintage railcars — including Beebe’s Virginia City — for the online magazine at

“Beebe hired Hollywood decorator Robert Hanley to select a crystal chandelier, 17th-century clock, red silk curtains, and working fireplace in a decorating scheme commonly referred to as Venetian Renaissance baroque, though some find ‘Barbary Coast bordello’ more accurate,” writes Chensvold.

“Pellizzer [the car’s current owner] has preserved the car’s original decor as much as possible. ‘I think it’s the best car out there because of its history,’ he says. ‘And it’s certainly the most gaudy, ostentatious, and over-the-top.'”

Under a tight deadline, Chensvold was unable to ride aboard the railcar, though the current owner has promised him its future use.

In fact, at this very moment the Junta is planning a cross-country goodwill tour aboard the Virginia City.

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5 Responses to “Trainspotting”

  1. The Nouveau Edwardian Says:

    Nice read! I personally enjoy this type of travel and have been fortunate enough to travel aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Paris to Venice and the British Pullman train out of London. It isn’t about getting from point A to point B in the fastest possible time, but rather getting there in comfort and style. I thought the Orient-Express was expensive, but at $6,500 a day I think the Virginia City may have them beat. It would make a great place for a dandy meet up aboard this train? with all of its vast resources should sponsor just such an event.

  2. Ferrando Says:

    Yes, a charming shapshot for the Polo folk, Christian.
    NewEd,’s vast resources are currently being siphoned off to commission bespoke outfits for Nick, Michael and myself for the Fabbie award wingding this fall. We may have enough left to buy a model train car if we forego monogrammed linings.
    Actually, old Lucius’s choo-choo is a bit too bawdyhouse fabulous for my tastes. I’ve always wanted to hitch a ride on a private car like that of the Ale and Quail Club in Preston Sturges’s peerless screwball comedy “The Palm Beach Story,” a sleek Deco number that gets shot up by a party of drunken millionaires.

  3. JES Says:

    Bravo Christian! What do you know about the car that Ellington used to tour in?

  4. Christian Says:

    Nil. What do you know?

  5. JES Says:

    Only something from the Ken Burns’ Jazz series– they mentioned in passing that Ellington’s band would travel in a private train, particularly in the South. I haven’t been able to find any pictures or more detailed info.

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