These Rail Car Day Trips Along the Hudson River Are So Luxurious

Hudson River Rail Excursions offers day trips along the Hudson via luxury rail cars that feature fine dining and stunning views.

The luxury and elegance of mid-century rail travel might seem like a thing of the past, but it’s alive and well here in the Hudson Valley. Hudson River Rail Excursions offers day trips featuring fine dining, gorgeous river views, and camaraderie with interesting people aboard the Hickory Creek Pullman Observation car, a meticulously restored rail car from the famed 20th Century Limited line. The trips start and end in New York City’s Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station, traveling round trip along the scenic Hudson River to Albany while passing through Westchester and the Hudson Highlands. Early morning Amtrak trains from Croton-Harmon and Yonkers take guests — single travelers, couples, or groups — to Moynihan Hall’s premium lounge as a pre-trip gathering place.

Hudson River Rail’s two private train cars navigate the historic New York Central Railroad line that stretches from New York City to Albany. The 20th Century Limited, which offered luxury New York-Chicago passage until 1967, had a cameo in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959) — watch Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint flirt in the train’s dining car with the Hudson as a picturesque backdrop.

Travelers on the 20th Century Limited dress the part during a layover in Albany.
Travelers on the 20th Century Limited dress the part during a layover in Albany. Photo by Mark Forman / Courtesy of United Railroad Historical Society of NJ.

Hudson River Rail Excursions, a venture with the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey since 2020, has expanded its schedule each year, hosting 50 sold-out trips in 2023. Day trips run in late spring and again in the fall, Thursdays through Sundays; a new option is the Hudson Valley History Tour hosted by the National Park Service; overnight trips to Chicago, one way or round trip, on Pullman sleeping cars are also available on a limited schedule.

Hudson River Rail Excursions offers day trips featuring fine dining, gorgeous river views, and camaraderie with interesting people aboard the Hickory Creek Pullman Observation car, a meticulously restored rail car from the famed 20th Century Limited line.

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A first-class, all-inclusive day trip aboard the Pullman once populated by pampered passengers and movie stars starts at $379 per person, including gourmet food, wine, and beer served by professional wait staff. A lower priced option starting at $179 is available in New York Central Tavern Lounge Car #43, a slightly less-opulent “tavern-lounge car” that serves a cold buffet (BYOB). All these exclusive excursion cars are attached to Amtrak’s Empire Service trains. Reserve your trip well in advance, as dates are limited and tend to sell out.

Related: 3 Amtrak Day Trips and Weekend Getaways From Westchester

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