Train buffs know that many converted rail-road cars are available for rental. As a kid I loved traveling by train, walking from car to car, sitting in the dining room and watching the South African landscape pass by.
There were the occasions, when the train simply would stop for no apparent reason — sometimes for minutes and other times for hours, though nobody seemed to mind. It was brilliant fun on these trains. Now, years later, some of these older trains have been converted into “non-moving” vacation rentals, leaving no reason to wonder when you’ll arrive at your destination.
Here are a few particularly intriguing and fun rail-way car into vacation accommodation conversions.
1926 C&O Caboose
Vacation Rental at Natural Bridge, VA.
A rail geek’s dream, this 1926 Caboose has been lovingly restored. Sitting incongruously amongst Virginia’s hilly farmland, the caboose’s owner has decorated the interior in cherrywood and outfitted it with a double-bed, satellite TV, and AC. The patio area is fittingly lit with railroad-style lanterns, and upon arrival a railroad crossing sign flashes. How cool is that?
The Travelling Post Office – St Germans, Cornwall
The Travelling Post Office no 841 started off life as a narrow gauge body on broad gauge bogies, with three passenger compartments, a sorting area, gangway, net and four delivery arms. It was numbered 2086. In 1896 the compartments were removed to increase the sorting area, and the vehicle was renumbered 841. In 1904 it made history by being pulled behind the City of Truro when it made its record-breaking 100mph run. More regularly it was used for the Bristol to Penzance runs until it was taken out of service in 1934, after which for many years it formed part of a house in Wales.
The current owners have combined authenticity with all the comforts one could wish for on a “Travelling Post Office” vacation. The interior has been designed reflect its original purpose as a mail coach, and includes the “Railholiday touches,” such as our Cornish welcome pack and variety of interesting games and railway books are included.
The railway station at St Germans was built in 1858 and the platform is still in use – served by over 20 stopping trains per day.
Gypsy Caravan ‘Rambling Rose’ near Lostwithiel in Cornwall
‘Rambling Rose’ Gypsy caravan was built in Penzance in the 1930s and has been wonderfully restored to its former glory by a talented Cornish craftsman using traditional methods passed down through generations.
This Romany caravan contains beautiful authentic features – including some of the original paintwork on the pot box at the back of the wagon. The owners, talented artists, have painted the wagon using traditional art techniques to show stunning scroll work. Located nearby the medieval town of Lostwithiel, in the Fowey River Valley, a place knee deep in history and home to a lively and vibrant community. Rambling Rose is the ideal base to explore the breathtaking countryside and discover the many unspoiled beaches of Cornwall.
Redcaboose Getawaym Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula in Sequim
Experience the “Romance of the Rails” in your own private caboose! Not “just a room in a house” or hotel but your own private luxury railroad car- A CABOOSE. When staying at Redcaboose you’ll enjoy gourmet breakfasts that are elegantly served in a 1937 Zephyr private dining car. No worries that this caboose isn’t on the tracks as it’s ideally situated on a shy 3 acres around a central duck pond with short travel distance to the Olympic National Park, Hoh Rain Forest, wild Pacific Coast beaches and only a short ferry ride to Victoria, Canada. As seen on TV’s EVENING MAGAZINE & N.W. BACKROADS, THE FOOD CHANNEL, Published in BEST OF THE NORTHWEST, SEATTLE PI NEWSPAPER, THE LONDON TIMES, NEW YORK TIMES,SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE ,COASTAL LIVING & SUNSET MAGAZINES, & recommended in FODORS GUIDE.
Livingston Junction Cabooses, Eureka Springs, AR
Spend your vacation in a luxury historic Caboose fashioned from actual rolling stock and furnished in quaint elegance. Romantically nestled on the mountainside with marvelous views of the historic site of railroading as it was in days gone by. The name, Livingston Junction, combines the name of the “hollow” viewed down below the cabooses and the intersection where the original railroad from Seligman, Missouri headed south to Harrison, Arkansas and beyond. It spurs off to Historic Eureka Springs.
“J.J.” Caboose” bordering Glacier National Park, in Essex, Montana
Named for James Jerome Hill, the Empire Builder of the Great Northern Railway, Luxury Caboose “J.J.” offers a cozy and inviting Western retreat. J.J. blends wood, leather and stone to reflect Montana’s rich flora, fauna and landscape. Walls of turquoise aspen and rustic barn wood, accented with recycled chocolate leather, warmly envelope the soothing leather furnishings. The kitchen boasts a full refrigerator, gas range, microwave and copper sink. Lotus granite countertops, glazed hickory cabinetry, and the blue pine eating bar compliment the rich wood interior. The bedroom is walled in spalted birch and barn wood, accented with recycled leather. The queen size bed has a denim duvet adorned with a Glacier Park Pendleton and Hudson Bay pillow shams, echoing the theme of Great Northern’s sleeping cars. JJ is a truly remarkable way to experience Glacier Park.
“Santos Express”, Santos Beach, “the Garden Route”, Mossel Bay, South Africa
What a view? Known as `The Train` by locals, and situated at Santos beach, in the heart of South Africa’s gorgeous Garden, Santos Express, must win the award for a converted train, located in the most beautiful spot. When you vacation at Santos Express you’ll enjoy the unique and romantic experience of staying on a real train only 30 meters from the magnificent Indian Ocean. I’m making reservations….