The Roald Amundsen was one of six private passenger cars designed by the Pullman Car Company in 1928 as part of the advanced Explorer series. In the early decades of the 1900s, George Pullman was the most prolific and influential railroad car manufacturer in America, and his Pullman Car Company was the dominant maker of distinctive luxury and private railroad cars.

Unlike the different dining and sleeping cars leased by railroads, the Explorer series of cars were each built to meet all of the passengers’ desires for luxurious travel in their own private vehicle. A dining area, several private sleeping chambers, a toilet, a kitchen and pantry, sleeping quarters for a cook and porter, and an observation room and observation deck in the rear – all required for long rail journeys – were all included in each private vehicle.

Design and Build

For the design and development of a luxurious railroad car for the elite tourist, this car reflects the pinnacle of technology at the moment. The Amundsen and Magellan were two sister cars designed by Pullman and constructed to the same floor plan as Plan 3972C. Since the Magellan was heavily refurbished and armor plated in 1942, the Amundsen is the only surviving Explorer series car with the original Plan number 3972C floor plan and interior intact.

If you enter the car from the front door on the left side, the corridor side has 14 windows ranging in size from small to large, with the larger windows in the Dining and Observation areas. The car’s right or cabin side, which faces forward, has 19 windows of various sizes.

The Explorer series private cars’ custom style is reflected in the unique configuration of doors and windows, as well as the rear observation deck. The car has four doors: one on either floor, a front side entry, and an entrance to the vestibule and kitchen room, where provisions and ice for the air conditioning is loaded into the car.

The interior of this private car is not included in this definition because the city’s HP overlay zoning only acknowledges the exterior’s architectural importance. The quality and dignity of the interior are recognized as part of the eligibility for designation on the state and national registers, so a review of the interior is contained on the separate nomination form.

The Marshall Gallery 2

By Dru Bloomfield – https://www.flickr.com/photos/athomeinscottsdale/3836187025/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=95427764

The Roald Amundsen Pullman Car is now on display at Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Station, which is a railroad-themed specialty park. The car is part of the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Museum, which also includes a 1907 Magma Arizona Steam Locomotive and a 1914 Santa Fe luggage car. 

The three-piece train is in a traditional railroad environment, sitting on tracks and approaching Stillman Station, a reproduction of a previous train depot style. Visitors will stroll into this private luxury car and stand on the rear observation deck, gripping the brass railing, much as presidential candidates did in previous decades.

Scottsdale, Arizona is full of amazing historical landmarks that help to make our city an amazing, culturally rich city:

  • Scottsdale Grammar School, also called The Little Red Schoolhouse
  • George Ellis House
  • Louise Lincoln Kerr House
  • McCormick Stillman Railroad Park
  • The Valley Field Riding and Polo Club of Scottsdale
  • Historic Taliesin West
  • Old Town Scottsdale
  • Main Street Arts District

All of these wonderful landmarks are located just a short distance from our location at 7106 East Main Street! Stop by for a visit anytime!