President of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc. designer Carlton Varney is re-creating the luxury train experience with the Greenbrier Presidential Express, scheduled to launch in July 2012. The 15-car train will accommodate up to 240 passengers and will feature a board room car, salon car and even an open-air car. Open to guests of the Greebrier resort, the ride offers a five-hour, non-stop trip from Washington, DC's Union Station.
"We want to bring The Greenbrier experience to Washington, DC and bring back the glamour of rail travel," said Jim Justice, chairman and owner of The Greenbrier. "Everything from the décor to the food will make you feel as if you are already at the resort."
With his associate Brinsley Matthews, Varney has taken The Greenbrier's signature Dorothy Draper décor and applied it to the train's interiors and exterior. A team of 40 skilled craftsmen in Pottstown, Pennsylvania are refurbishing all 15 cars with the finest woods and fabrics. The cars, originally built in the 1950s, served as the long distance trains for the Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads.
"Since the time I arrived here, I've tried my best to bring West Virginia's strong values to Washington," Senator Joe Manchin III said. "But I am thrilled that The Greenbrier Presidential Express will soon bring people directly to West Virginia to see our beautiful state, meet our wonderful people, and enjoy the place we all call home. The train service will take travelers directly to our state's crown jewel - The Greenbrier resort - and allow them to learn about and enjoy its illustrious history. The Presidential Express is good for The Greenbrier, for West Virginia's economy, for Amtrak and for all of the people who will get to enjoy our beautiful state. Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in making this happen."
This project is being designed, built and operated by a new West Virginia company, The Greenbrier Express Company, Inc., co-founded by Jim Justice, Paul Nichini and Ross Rowland.