Vintage travel on a Pullman train car

There’s a new way to travel — in vintage style!

Pullman train cars are rolling again between New Orleans and Chicago, and unlike a trip on Amtrak, Pullman rail service recalls a time when train travel made you feel smart and sophisticated, like Cary Grant in the1959 movie “North By Northwest.”  Much of the movie was filmed on a Pullman train, and    Pullman Business Development Manager Luis Quiniones says the new company is “bringing back the golden age of rail travel to America in 2013.”

The original Pullman rail company started service in 1867, and finally went out of business in the 1980`s. The new company, based in Chicago, is restoring the old cars and putting them back on the rails.   Passengers like train historian Steve Myers and his wife Sandy say they would rather be relaxing in the Pullman lounge car, than be stuck eating peanuts with strangers on a plane.

The accommodations in the sleeping cars vary from luxurious to simply comfortable.  The best room is the wood-paneled “master suite,” which is large enough to have a full private bathroom with a shower.

But Pullman managers stress that what sets Pullman apart from other train travel, is service.  The food is prepared daily on board, and passengers are served three elegant meals .  On a recent trip, the dinner menu included filet mignons with a madeira wine sauce.  All drinks are included in the price, and are prepared to order by a steward.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for Pullman is the round-the clock service from a Pullman porter, who’s responsible for attending to passengers every need.  Pullman Porter Paul Carter showed us how porters are trained to” flatten” themselves against the wall of the narrow train corridors, so as not to get in the passengers’ way.

Pullman train travel is refined, genteel, and not for people in a hurry.  This is the way to go if you want to see the Louisiana bayou just outside your window in the evening and Chicago skyscrapers in the morning.  The train also runs in the opposite direction, and you can ride back to New Orleans the same day.

Prices range from $500 for a semi-private sleeper compartment, to nearly $3000 for the master suite.  Also, there’s a 25 percent discount for early booking, and the company has just launched a package deal which includes a three night stay in Chicago.

For more information on prices and discounts, go to www.travelpullman.com.