Swift of foot was Hiawatha,
He could shoot an arrow from him,
And run forward with such fleetness,
That the arrow fell behind him!
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha
The Milwaukee Road’s Hiawatha streamliners are the stuff of legend. Bringing up the rear of the Twin Cities Hiawathas were the incomparable Skytop parlor lounge observation cars, including the famous Cedar Rapids.
Designed by famed industrial designer Brooks Stevens and built by the Milwaukee Road in 1948 in its own Milwaukee Shops for service on the Twin Cities Hiawathas, the Cedar Rapids is one of only four Skytop observation parlor lounges ever built and the only one that can still ride the rails today.
“The Finishing touch to a perfect train” is how the Milwaukee Road described its Skytop observation cars. With one drawing room-kitchen, this car is ideal for a small group.
With 24 big comfortable, reclining, rotating parlor chairs, which make for the smoothest ride you will ever have. Additional seating for 12 more in the Skytop Solarium, will top of your journey just right, with a full view of the tracks rolling out from behind and the sky above. This car also retains all its original woodwork, upholstery and wool carpeting throughout.
NSRX #186 – Amtrak Certified #800040
Other bits of information
-Retired in 1970 and donated to Brooks Stevens.
-In the mid-1980s the car was operated out of Milwaukee by a Chicago-based group and was repainted in Milwaukee Road orange and maroon colors.
-Sold in to private ownership in 1990
-Acquired by the Friends of the 261 in 1998 and returned to service.
-Three of the Skytop lounge observations survive today, but only the Cedar Rapids is in operating condition