Collection Facts

Extent: 
112 items
Collection Owner:

Historical Context

The Jamaica Parlor Car was built in 1912 by the American Car & Foundry Corporation for the Pennsylvania Railroad company, to be used by its subsidiary company, the Long Island Railroad Company. It was one of ten such cars built to be used as a first- class cars that could carry 26 passengers to their destination.

In 1925 it was reclassified as a business car for use by LIRR executives and renamed, “The Montauk “.

In 1930 it was rebuilt as an Observation Car with 3 state rooms, a solarium, dining room, galley and valet and cook quarters. An Observation Deck was added to the back of the car.

In 1941 the car was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, which outfitted the car with air conditioning.

It was sold back to the LIRR in 1949 for $26,434.00 and renamed,” The Jamaica”. It was used on an express train known as the,” Cannonball Run”, that ran from Pennsylvania station to Montauk Point.

The Jamaica was retired in 1968 and slated to be scrapped, where it was noticed in the Sunnyside railroad yard by society member Warren Hiltonsmith. He convinced the LIRR to donate the car to the Wantagh Preservation Society. With help from the railroad and local construction companies the Jamaica was moved to the Wantagh museum in October,1972.

A dedicated group of society members and other community groups spent 14 years restoring the car in time for the opening of the restored Wantagh Train Museum.

After a period of neglect a second restoration was undertaken from 2011 to 2016 in time for the 50th anniversary of the society’s saving of the Wantagh Station.
The Jamaica is the last of the Parlor Cars built a century ago. It is 80 feet long, 14 feet high and weighs 80 tons. It was made of rolled steel and was, “state of the art” for its day, with direct current electricity and ice filled air conditioning. It represents a luxury style of traveling from a bygone era.

Scope of Collection

Pictures of the parlor railroad car during its active use by the LIRR. Tickets and schedules and other memorabilia from the LIRR. Pictures and documents of the 2 restoration efforts spanning the 50 years the Jamaica as a part of the Wantagh museum complex.