By Jueseppi B.
You’ve heard of Air Force One, the Presidential Air Plane. There is also Marine One, the Presidential chopper. Have you heard of The georgia 300?
Georgia 300, is a classic looking heavyweight observation car from the golden era of rail travel that was built by the Pullman Standard Co. shops in 1930. Sporting a Packard blue with silver striping livery, the train car operated as a lounge car named the General Polk on the New Orleans-New York Crescent Limited (operated by the L&N, West Point Route, Southern, and Pennsylvania), and was later purchased by the Georgia Railroad and reconfigured to Office Car 300. The Georgia Railroad used the car in trips to venues like The Masters Tournament and the Kentucky Derby. It ran until its retirement in 1982 after being made redundant as surplus due to the merger between Georgia Railroad and Family Lines.
Heard, who owns a rail yard in Orange Park, Florida, purchased the car in 1985 and made a series of refurbishments in 1986, 1989, 1995, 2000 and 2008. The car has a dining room, an observation lounge, one master bedroom, two additional bedrooms, two bathrooms with showers, a section lounge, crew quarters, and kitchen. It is Amtrak compliant and compatible to be used on most scheduled Amtrak trains as well as other private venues.
The car is a constant work-in-progress with carpets and fabrics constantly being improved. During 2006–2008, the interior and exterior of the car were completely repainted, along with the addition of new monogrammed linens and bed-coverings in the bedrooms and a recovering of the couch in the observation lounge.
Use by US Presidents
The Georgia 300 has hosted/carried Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. In 2004, presidential candidatesJohn F. Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards, traveled aboard the car from St. Louis to Kingman, Ariz., following the Democratic Convention in Boston.
George H.W. Bush
The Georgia 300 was used as a support car during George H.W. Bush campaign to be president in 1992. This use is thought to have prompted further use of the car by other presidents.
The car again was used by Bill Clinton for his 21st Century Express train for the 1996 campaign season, in a nod to his 1992 campaign with a bus. The 13-car train used the Georgia 300 along with other Amtrak, private, and host railroad CSX equipment and engines.
Barack Obama utilized the Georgia 300 twice; first in April 2008 for a trip between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa; and secondly before his 2009 inauguration on a whistle stop to Washington DC, along a similar route to that used by Abraham Lincoln . The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prevented private planes, news helicopters, balloonists and others from flying anywhere near the airspace above the train route. These rolling NOTAM flight restrictions prevented general aviation from flying near stations and above the linear route of sections of the Northeast Corridor railroad line for “for Special Security Reasons”.