Builder: Canadian Car & Foundry, Thunder Bay, ON
Build Date: 1954
Built for: Canadian National Railways
Originally: 72-seat coach #5437
Served on: CN systemwide service
Capacity: 56 day
Top Speed: 110 MPH
Generator: Yes (can power up to three other cars)
The Birken is a diner-lounge capable of seating 56 passengers at 14 tables. With warming ovens and refrigerators in the bar and buffet area, the Birken is an excellent venue for a cocktail hour. The Birken can also be paired with a dining car or another passenger car to seat your guests for a full meal while riding America’s scenic rails. This makes the Birken the perfect companion to any other private passenger car on the market, providing the extra space to expand your event. For added flexibility, the tables are removable, turning the Birken into an excellent open space or lounge to suit your entertainment needs. The car features two restrooms, a generator for power, and heat & air conditioning throughout. The Birken is fully certified by Amtrak and VIA Rail to operate anywhere the rails lead it.
The Birken was built in 1954 as Canadian National Railway coach #5437. It served on CN until 1978, when it was transferred to VIA Rail. It continued to serve VIA until it was sold to the British Columbia Railway in 1990, where it was rebuilt into a 14-table, 56-seat table car for use as a bar and dining car. It was named “Birken” after a lake along the railroad’s mainline in British Columbia. The Birken was acquired by the Morristown & Erie Railway in 2002 and upgraded to full Amtrak standards. It is now operated by the Morristown & Erie Railway and based at the railroad’s private car storage facility in Whippany, NJ.