A quick history lesson...
In 1952 the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway placed an order with the Budd Company for a fleet of newly designed "Hi-Level" Passenger cars. This was a new design that featured Bi-Level cars (meaning there was a lower and upper level). This 1952 order included 40 Coaches (AKA "Chair Cars") as well as 6 diners and 6 lounges to be used on the Santa Fe's daily "El Capitan" train which traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles California.
This route continues to be served today by Amtrak's Southwest Chief train.
The 6 lounges would feature a second set of wrap-around windows on the upper level creating a vista-dome style of lounge. The 6 lounges were originally called "Sky Lounges" and featured a mix of lounge and table booth seating on the top level and a lower level cafe called "Kachina Coffee Shop" which offered Coffee, Pastries, Juice, Hot Dogs, and Sandwiches on for sale throughout the day.
When Amtrak took over passenger train service from the Santa Fe in 1971, it inherited the Hi-Level equipment which would inspire Amtrak's own bi-level fleet which it calls "Superliners." The Amtrak Superliners are still in use today on most long distance trains.
Up until the final Superliner Cars were delivered to Amtrak in the 1990s, Amtrak used the Santa Fe "Hi-Levels" in service. The 6 Hi-Level Lounges were called "See Level Lounge" cars and I personally remember them on the Texas Eagle train. In 1994 the Hi-Level cars were retired and while the coaches and diners were either sold off or scrapped Amtrak management decided to rebuild 5 of the 6 Hi-Level Lounge cars and rebrand them "Pacific Parlour Cars" for use on the Coast Starlight train which travels from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington.
These Lounge cars were rebuilt into a unique 1995 version of the "Golden Days" of rail travel. The upstairs still featured a mix of lounge and table booth seating, but a mahogany bar was added and the lower level Coffee Shop was converted to a movie theatre (in 1995, the idea of watching a movie on a train was a bit more unique than today.)
The primary purpose of the Parlour Car was to offer an upscale and private Lounge for Sleeping Car Passengers on the Coast Starlight but the car provided several services to passengers in addition to the well-stocked bar.
The 8 tables were used as Dining Tables during each meal service. Sleeping Car Passengers were given a choice to dine in either the traditional Amtrak dining car with a full menu and community seating or the Parlour Car with a separate but more limited menu and private seating (meaning 1 party per table).
The Pacific Parlour Car also featured a daily wine tasting. In the earlier days, this was a complimentary Wine & Cheese Tasting that featured wines and cheese from the regions the Coast Starlight traveled through. In later years, the cheese was no longer offered, the wine tasting was an extra charge, and the wines were often from random locations that were not on the Coast Starlight route.
I was fortunate to ride on the Coast Starlight 4 or 5 times during the Pacific Parlour Car era. These cars added an incredible amount of charm to the travel experience as well as providing additional service that is rare in modern rail travel.
Unfortunately, Amtrak retired the cars in 2018. The cars were among the oldest in the fleet and had unique mechanical needs. The good news is, the cars survive in preservation!
Two of the cars were sold to the Steam Railroad Institute in Owosso, Michigan.
More info at ---> www.michigansteamtrain.com/
One of the cars was sold to the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad in Trego, Wisconsin.
More info at ---> https://spoonertrainride.com/
Amtrak Coast Starlight