COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) National Emergency Update

posted Mar 15, 2020, 6:46 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Mar 29, 2020, 6:34 PM ]

Updated 3/29/2020 9:40 PM EDT - We will be postponing our May 17th Annual Banquet at the National Capital Trolley Museum.  Stay tuned for a new date for this unique event.

Updated 3/29/2020 9:35 PM EDT - We are looking for on-line options for a web-based presentation of the East Broad Top Program which is scheduled for April 17th.  Due to an order by the Governor of Virginia, we will not be able to meet in person.  We plan to announce on our web site and as appropriate by email about the meeting and what if any on-line presentation options we have been able to arrange.

Updated 3/29/2020 9:30 PM EDT - We have been informed that RAILCAMP 2020 has been cancelled. We hope everyone that applied for our 2020 Scholarship will do so again in 2021. 

Updated 3/18/2020 10:50 AM EDT - With the interest of the health and safety of our members, guests, and the public in mind, we have cancelled the Manhattan Limited Trips on March 22 and April 4 aboard DOVER HARBOR.  Passengers who already purchased tickets will receive a full refund.

Updated 3/15/20 9:45 PM EDT - With the interest of the health and safety of our members, guests, and the public in mind, we have determined it in the best interest to postpone the March 20 Program at the Lyceum.

As other events, changes, and developments occur, we will make further announcements here.

Longing for warmer weather?

posted Feb 12, 2020, 2:07 PM by James Lilly

CSX Freight at Dickerson, MD

The photo was taken at Dickerson, MD MARC Station on September 7, 2019.  This is Westbound CSX freight train (Coal) pulled by CSX Locomotive No. 842.  Photo by J. Lilly

It was about 90 degrees that day!

DCNRHS Loses a Great One

posted Jan 15, 2020, 8:00 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Jan 15, 2020, 8:02 PM ]

DCNRHS board member Erik Delfino passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last week. It’s a huge loss for many of us. Erik was the man behind our library from its beginning leading a wonderful group of volunteers and Chairing our Library Committee. We will continue his legacy by continuing that program. For more information about our library visit .

Erik was an artist, author, railfan, garden railway enthusiast, friend, brother, library professional, and a great guy.

There will be a memorial service Friday, January 17, 2020 at 10 am at Calvary Lutheran Church in Silver Spring,  9545 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910. There will be food served in the hall immediately after the service.

Thank you Erik for all you did for DCNRHS and rail preservation.  You ARE very missed.

Photo shows Erik (left) working with two of our volunteers Jim and Richard during a work session at our library.

Special Time and Location Highlight Special January Public Programming

posted Dec 1, 2019, 4:31 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 31, 2019, 3:30 PM ]

January’s program will feature a new theme, a new date, and a new venue!  DCNRHS is partnering with the Old Greenbelt Theatre in Greenbelt, MD to sponsor train-themed movies as part of their 
free Monday Matinee series.  January’s offering is the classic movie, Twentieth Century, set aboard one of the most famous named trains from history. This special event will be January 6, 2020 at 1:00 PM.

This replaces the January program at the Lyceum, so be sure and update your calendar.  We’ll be back at the Lyceum on February 21 as usual. 
 Hope to see you at both!  Free and open to the public.

This special event will be January 6, 2020 at 1:00 PM.

2020 Membership Drive

posted Nov 10, 2019, 7:41 AM by James Lilly

All aboard....

Already a member? Time to renew your membership.    You can send back the form recently mailed to you, make a donation via paypal via the link on, or visit http://dcnrhs.shuttlepod.orgFor more information see our membership page

Not a member?  Joining is easy and any amount 1$ or more gets you membership, discounts on certain events and activities, a chance to support our great programs,  and an electronic copy of our monthly newsletter.  Just make a donation via paypal via the link on, or visit  For more information see our membership page

About our programs and 2019.  

2019 has been a great year for DCNRHS in many ways. We recognized our 75th year as an educational organization, acknowledged the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Trans Continental Railroad (and had Chapter participants at Promontory, Utah for the celebration), hosted our annual banquet, and had an innovative series of monthly programs covering various aspects of Washington, D.C. railroad history. Unfortunately missing among those public offerings has been operation of Dover Harbor for most of this year. Amtrak has initiated an ambitious two-year renovation trackside at Union Station. As a result, accommodation of Dover Harbor for many of our usual offerings has not been available. we can assure you we are working as closely as possible with Amtrak to restore this service.

Let there be no mistake, Dover Harbor is ready to go. Our Operations and Equipment committee volunteers have given countless hours maintaining and improving the car’s condition. In addition to a lot of behind the scenes efforts and routine maintenance, we replaced the lounge carpet with identical period-specific carpet and completed a major overhaul on the generator. Our coaches Collinsville Inn and Franklin Inn have been in leased service much of the year on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

When DCNRHS got started 75 years ago, our nation was enduring the wartime imperatives thrust upon her. We are fortunate to now to be able to commemorate that wartime year than to have to live it. In 1944 Americans sacrificed in many ways, through direct service, industrial work, shortages of desirable goods, rationing, war bonds, and along with progress towards victory, there was much sadness and personal loss. Freed from those challenges, we are able to concentrate on personal pursuits and group endeavors… in our case, a continued appreciation of what our railroads have meant to our nation and specifically to the Washington, D.C. region. Our monthly programs bring history and memories to the local community. Our Martin F. O’Rourke Memorial Library, unmatched in available railroad history for this area (excluding the Library of Congress, but that’s a whole different league!) is an established source of information. Our three passenger cars maintain historic configurations that are becoming increasingly rare.

Each year, we must account for the financial resources necessary to operate so many endeavors successfully. Administration of DCNRHS incurs those costs associated with any such organization. Fairly significant amounts are involved with safe storage of our six cars, transportation expenses, parts, and occasional professional services. One major calendar based item (every ten years) will be upon us in two years. Dover Harbor and Franklin Inn will both require a rather involved inspection to meet Amtrak certification for continued operation as a passenger conveyance. Automobiles can get by with a basic inspection and an “Antique Car” tag. Not so with rail cars. We are looking at as much as $100,000 cost for each car.

Fund raising carries with it a combination of charity, commitment, promoting ideas, history and challenge. It also brings satisfaction and accomplishment in that we are supporting a cause that has a definite and worthwhile purpose… both for us to enjoy today and for others to appreciate tomorrow. What we can do today will have an immediate and lasting impact on tomorrow and beyond.

Please consider climbing aboard!  

Vermont Rails

posted Nov 10, 2019, 7:27 AM by James Lilly

DCNRHS recently operated a long weekend trip 12 - 15 October with our Pullman DOVER HARBOR to Burlington, VT. The fall colors were glorious. It was a joint trip hosted by both Amtrak and the Vermont Rail System.  Our Mechanical Officer for the trip Tom Shevock captured a picture our our famous Pullman at the Sheburne Museum during the trip.  Yes, that's right,  our heavyweight Pullman was the only car in the consist during its journey on VRS.  Sure makes you wonder what exactly the term heavyweight means, doesn't it?  


posted Sep 16, 2019, 6:23 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 17, 2019, 7:45 PM ]

The difference between riding the DOVER HARBOR and riding other railroad cars is often in the details.  DCNRHS works tirelessly to create an environment with a 1930s ambiance, maintain and restore our railroad car in authentic Pullman configuration and workings, and provide service in the best traditions of the Pullman Company. 

We often have passengers take pictures of the DOVER HARBOR, most are large area photos of the lounge, a bedroom, or the exterior of our classic Pullman at a scenic location. Recently a talented local photographer, Dennis Dame, visited DOVER HARBOR. He spent several hours focused on documenting some of the finer points of the car.  Below we are going to share several of his photos, which we believe highlight some of the details that make a DOVER HARBOR trip incomparable.

Some of these images are rather large but we preserved them in original form for clarity, so this page may take a little while to load.  For full resolution, click on the image.

All of these photos are copyrighted.  DCNRHS has been graciously given permission by the photographer to use them for our purposes.

A Riveting Sunset

The setting sun reflecting on the exterior of the car body suggests that it won't be long until it is time to crawl in your cozy Pullman berth.

Shades of Yesteryear

The table lamps and the window shades speak to an elegant era of rail travel by-gone, except on-board the DOVER HARBOR.

Fine Furnishings

The furnishings aboard DOVER HARBOR are original Pullman, from cigar stands to settees.

Card Sharks and Con Men

A trip aboard DOVER HARBOR often finds passengers talking, reading, taking in the scenery, and playing card games in the lounge.  Ever vigilant to serving our passengers you may just have a Porter remind that, as the original sign says, "Card Sharks and Con Men have started their winter campaign..." so beware!


The blankets adorning our Pullman berth are authentic, made in USA, wool replicas of 1930s Pullman blankets.  They are warm, light, and comfortable, perfect for snuggling....

They don't make them like this any more...

Although DOVER HARBOR is equipped with refrigeration to keep ice cream frozen and your New 
York Strip cold to modern standards, the kitchen retains the exterior look of the ice box from 1934!  They don't make refrigerator latches like this any more!

Sleep in Pullman Safety and Comfort...

That's the slogan The Pullman Company used to advertise its service.  Today our our porters make your bed to the exacting standards of the Legendary Pullman Company.   A passenger boarding a Pullman in Abilene or Zenith always knew what to expect in his room. 


We frequently use our original 1934 stove, oven, grill, and warmer in the original kitchen (which Pullman called a Buffet).  Beverages to order?   Yes, we've got ya covered.


Heavy springs.... but don't let these fool you.... They are original in design, but were replaced in 2013 to give passengers a smooth ride aboard our 90 ton steed.

34 Volts... 

The Pullman light fixtures aboard our car, which still are based on 34 Volt design of Pullman, cast of glow of elegance throughout the car. 

Pullman National Monument

posted Aug 27, 2019, 7:49 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Sep 3, 2019, 5:12 PM ]

Did you know that the former Pullman factory in South Chicago is now a National Monument?  This photo of the main administration building was taken by one of our members in 2012.  The factory site hold deep significance to DCNRHS, as this is the location where the Maple Shade was built in 1923 and rebuilt into our DOVER HARBOR in 1934.  For more information about the P
ullman National Monument, visit their official web site.

Freights at the Ferry

posted Jun 12, 2019, 4:49 PM by James Lilly

Saturday June 8th was a beautiful day along the Potomac River in Maryland and West Virginia.  

Member Grant Lilly captured this photo of a CSX freight passing the historic and restored former B&O Railroad Station at Harpers Ferry, WV.

Grant Lilly also snapped this vertical photo of a train at Harpers Ferry Tunnel.

DCNRHS Receives $10,000 Grant from UPS Foundation for DOVER HARBOR

posted Jun 12, 2019, 4:08 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Jun 12, 2019, 4:11 PM ]


Washington, D.C. - June 12, 2019 - The National Railway Historical Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter, Inc (DCNRHS) received a $10,000 grant from the UPS Foundation, which drives global corporates citizenship and philanthropic programs for UPS (NYSE: UPS).

The grant will be used to restore the lounge of the DOVER HARBOR to its 1934 grand appearance when it rolled out of the Pullman Shops in Chicago.

The Dover Harbor is the last heavyweight Pullman railroad passenger car in its original configuration operating unrestricted on the main lines of America. The car represents first class rail travel during the “Golden Age of Railroading” in America. The Dover Harbor project is unique in that it provides the passenger with an authentic mainline railroad experience that many ordinary Americans experienced when traveling overnight by train.  It was not a car for the wealthy or elite but rather represents the same experience that families, business travelers, and vacationers encountered in their train travels of yesteryear.  For more information and a complete history of the Dover Harbor, visit

Through this project DCNRHS will return the 25 seat lounge of the Dover Harbor to the appropriate 1934 era appearance as represented in the Pullman company official photos. This includes installing appropriate window blinds, removing curtains first installed in the 1960s, sanding priming and painting in a three-tone paint scheme with ornate gold pin striping, refinishing wood, cleaning and restoring brass, and as appropriate refurbished upholstery in period materials. The project scope will include the adjacent foyer and public restroom to present a unified appearance to passengers and visitors. For this project our volunteers have over several years spent many hours researching the materials, colors, and fabrics needed for this project.  This included trips to archives in Illinois to obtain period photographs and records.

The project includes an estimated 701 hours of volunteer labor, including support from regular Chapter volunteers and UPS volunteers.  One of our members, Wayne Poates, a UPS employee from Richmond, regularly coordinates opportunities with UPS area offices/terminals. The project also will use contractors for specific high-skill, time-consuming jobs to ensure the finished product is of highest quality.  The non-volunteer labor, services, and materials costs are estimated to be $33,425.00.

DCNRHS' Treasurer, Chief Mechanical Officer, and Manager of the project said of the grant "This will present as authentic an appearance in a 1930s environment as we can provide. This grant is fantastic and beyond providing the means to complete the project will lift the hearts and spirits of our volunteers who work so hard to preserve and operate our equipment. Thank you UPS! Beyond that, I am truly humbled!"

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, GA, The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, the UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety, and the environment.

In 2017, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $118 million in charitable giving around the world. The UPS Foundation can be found on the web at  To get UPS news direct,

"The UPS Foundation is honored to support the National Railway Historical Society, Washington, D.C. Chapter, Inc's efforts to restore and preserve this historic piece of American rail history," said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. "Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community."

Photo from Dean Edmonds

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