HOURS UPDATE: The museum will be closed on Friday, November 22 to prepare for the holiday season and on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. Please plan your visits accordingly. Thank you!

Durham Museum to open newly restored National Command Car #1202

For more than 20 years, The Durham Museum’s train cars have been a favorite of millions of museum visitors who have climbed aboard to experience what it was like to travel by train. In March, The Durham Museum launched a community-wide crowdfunding effort called the National Command Club to help re-carpet, re-upholster, and revitalize the “National Command” 1202 sleeper car to return the car to its former glory. The entire restoration effort for this car cost $55,000. The goal for the community-wide crowdfunding effort was $30,000, and these funds were paired with a generous lead gift from Union Pacific of $25,000 to complete the restoration work on the National Command train car.
The crowdfunding effort exceeded its goal and raised $31,957.98. The museum will officially re-open the National Command Car on May 10th to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike.
“The National Command Club was an amazing community-wide grassroots effort to preserve a beloved piece of history. We are so grateful to Union Pacific and the many individuals who contributed to this effort,” said museum Executive Director Christi Janssen. “We invite the community to take a seat and enjoy the journey back in time to when trains were the most popular and luxurious form of passenger travel.”
Donors will be listed on the “patron passenger manifest” signage outside the train car and on the museum’s website. For donors at the Private Level, the museum will place a plaque inside the train to designate sponsorship of individual bench seats.

Number of Individual Donors: 105
Number of Individuals Recognized: over 170
Crowdfunding Raised: $31,957.98
Grand Total Raised: $56,957.98

The Durham Museum engaged former railroaders, volunteers and professionals to help guide the restoration of this historic car. All materials were carefully selected to reflect the look, feel and spirit of the National Command’s service years. The car was restored using professional installers.
The National Command 1202 is one of only 12 in the “National” series of Pullman Sleeper Cars built for Union Pacific in 1956. It contains six roomettes (single rooms), four double bedrooms, and six open bench seat sections with upper berths. From 1956 to 1972, the National Command carried thousands of passengers across long distances. It took two days to travel from Omaha to Los Angeles. For those weary passengers willing to pay an extra fee, the sleeper car provided a way to rest in comfort on their journey.
Union Pacific added the number 1202 to the car in July of 1969. When passenger travel ended in the ‘70s, the car was sold to a private owner for a period of time before returning to the Union Pacific fleet for special service. It has been on display at The Durham Museum since the ‘90s, where visitors walk through daily and imagine what life was like during the era of passenger rail travel.