It’s an impressively long name for an equally impressive car. Built in 1948 for the Milwaukee Road, the Cedar Rapids was an observation car placed on the end of trains allowing passengers spectacular views of scenery the train was leaving behind. The Milwaukee Road operated several passenger service routes referred to as the Hiawatha, named after Longfellow’s 1855 poem The Song of Hiawatha. The Cedar Rapids saw service on the Morning and Afternoon Hiawatha runs between Chicago and Minneapolis.
The car has been restored and is owned by the Friends of the 261, a non-profit based in Minneapolis that operates Milwaukee Road steam locomotive No. 261. Now and then you may see it at the end of the Amtrak Empire Builder or traveling along excursions managed by the Friends of the 261.