St. Nicholas Mountain Timeline



Great Northern orders six complete sets of cars to make up the Mid-Century Empire Builder at a cost of nearly 12 million dollars. Included are six Mountain series tall window observation car.


Late 1950

Construction of St. Nicholas Mountain starts at American Car & Foundry.


April 18, 1951

St. Nicholas Mountain is received by the Great Northern at Mississippi Street, St. Paul.


June 3, 1951

The Mid-Century Empire Builder is officially introduced and St. Nicholas Mountain turns her first revenue miles.



St. Nicholas Mountain is sold to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy as part of one complete Empire Builder consist (minus one 48-seat coach) in an Empire Builder operational mileage equalization deal.


October 1955

Great Northern completes the introduction of the Great Domes on the Empire Builder and St. Nicholas Mountain is transferred to the Western Star.


May 23, 1960

The Fast Mail gets combined with the Western Star and the Western Star's observation car is cut back to St. Paul - Seattle operation needing only five cars now. St. Nicholas Mountain is deemed surplus and gets added to CB&Q's general service pool. She sees service on specials and pinch hits on Burlington trains like the Denver Zephyr and Twin Cities Zephyr.



St. Nicholas Mountain is sold, together with Trempealeau Mountain, to Andy's Tukwila Station Restaurant in Tukwila, Washington where they will be used as dining rooms. To be made suitable for their new role both cars are gutted and receive large entrances in their sides.



Andy's closes and the cars are auctioned off. The Northern Central Railway acquires St. Nicholas Mountain and plans to use it on its dinner train as a "dance car". These plans, however, never materialize.


September 2, 2001

The Northern Central ceases all operations. St. Nicholas Mountain remains in private ownership for possible conversion into a private business car.


June 23, 2004

Ben Ringnalda acquires St. Nicholas Mountain and starts a full restoration to bring the car back to original condition and to make it Amtrak certified for use as a Private Railcar.


Home - News - History - Restoration - Future - Gallery - Diagram - Floor Plan - FAQ - Donate - Store - Links - Contact

© 2005 -