Designed and built in 1948, this vintage beauty was restored and refurbished from the wheels up in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s and is one of a very few railroad cars ever to feature both a rear observation platform and 360 degree Vista-Dome.  The viewing from the Sierra Hotel is exceptional. 



History of the Car


The Sierra Hotel, originally Silver Lounge, was built in 1948 as a mid-train lounge and dormitory car for use on the California Zephyr by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q), and later with the Burlington Northern (BN).  It was taken over by Amtrak at its inception and saw service on both the North Coast Hiawatha and Texas Chief. 

The car began private charter operation in 1980 after being acquired from Amtrak.  It then began the transformation into its current configuration as a business car after changing private ownership in 1989.  It has been in private and charter use ever since.  

General Information

The Sierra Hotel has four bedrooms with sleeping accommodations for eight guests. This is the limit for overnight charters.  With another sleeping car, like the Puget Sound, the overnight capacity is 16. 

For daytime use not requiring sleeping arrangements,the maximum number of guests is 20. The basic staffing is an Attendant and a Chef for eight people or fewer.  If 24 hour service is required or the passenger number exceeds 12, an extra attendant will be required.

The upper level Vista Dome is designed for a normal maximum of 12 diners.  By advance special arrangement, up to 16 may dine upstairs.  All meals are prepared in the galley under the dome.  Also on the lower level is a stand up bar and a small table for 4.  The spacious main lounge has seating for 12.  Up to 16 people may comfortably occupy the dome when not in meal service.

Luggage space aboard the car is limited and there is no space for very large suitcases. Towels, soap and hair dryer are provided.  We encourage our guests to pack accordingly.

More detail on luggage space can be found in the FAQ section.

Security procedures now require that all passengers have a valid passport or U.S. government issued identification throughout the trip.  The names of all passengers must be provided no later than 12 hours before departure.  If travel is into Canada, all U.S. citizens must provide a valid passport.

PHOTO: Brad Hartig

PHOTO: Brad Hartig


Guests (Day) – 16-24
Guests (Overnight) – 2-8

Crew – 2 , Chef & Attendant
Length – 83'       Width – 10'
Guest Cabins – 4


Full Kitchen & Bar
Satellite Radio