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The C&O Historical Society was established in 1969 with the intent of collecting and making available to the public any and all information pertaining to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

The Society was incorporated in West Virginia in 1975 and achieved IRS eleemosynary status under subparagraph 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in 1977.  Our tax ID# is 55-0561056.  All monetary donations to the C&O Historical Society are fully tax deductible.

In addition to donating directly through this website, support for the restoration of passenger car “Chessie 29” is also possible through Patreon at


Our 54-year-old non-profit organization that preserves and shares the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway is undertaking one of its largest and most historically-significant efforts with its goal to restore Chessie 29, the most famous surviving passenger car from the railroad, to operational condition.

Chessie 29 holds its most famous distinction in history because of events surrounding The Greenbrier at White Sulphur Springs.  Most notably in the car's history, in 1956, C&O Railway President Walter Tuohy, to whom Chessie 29 was permanently assigned, and President Dwight Eisenhower traveled on board together from Washington to White Sulphur Springs.  During this trip, the agreement was made through which the United States government constructed its top-secret bunker under The Greenbrier to house members of the U.S. Congress in the event of a nuclear attack on the nation’s capital.  Arriving in the Mountain State together on Chessie 29, the guise for the meeting was the "Summit of the Americas" at The Greenbrier with other North American leaders.

In reality, it was at this time that Mr. Tuohy and President Eisenhower agreed upon a collaboration by which the federal government funded construction and future staffing of a bunker complex with cut-and-cover concealment, disguised under a to-be-constructed wing for The Greenbrier, which the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway owned at the time.  This bunker, meant to house and allow the surviving United States Congress members to function following an attack, was staffed and kept ready for possible use from the period just before the Cuban Missile Crisis until 1992.

Because it is such an irreplaceable asset, we have prioritized saving this piece of rolling history and returning it to operational condition as a mobile museum and teaching tool for future generations.

Especially because the Cold War produced so disproportionately few artifacts that can now interpret that period to future generations, the C&O Historical Society emphasizes that Chessie 29's restoration is urgently relevant to the wider context of world history as well as the organization’s traditional focus on Chesapeake & Ohio Railway history.  C&OHS President Mark Totten explained, “In the context of the Cold War's fears and our country's necessary reactions to them, Chessie 29 is the ‘room where it happened’ for what is now nearly unthinkable, as the secret bunker was to be vital for the continuity of our legislative branch of government.”


As the personal business car of the railroad's charismatic president, Chessie 29 also intersected with history in other ways during its service life on the C&O.  In 1952, Mr. Tuohy hosted Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands on board the car in Michigan.  In 1963, Mr. Tuohy loaned the car to Monaco's Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace for its discreet, comfortable transport along with their two children to The Greenbrier in West Virginia on a private vacation.  The royal trip included a young Albert II, the current reigning Prince of Monaco, to whom Tuohy gifted a railroad engineer's uniform that he thoroughly enjoyed wearing while on board.

On the list of surviving equipment from America's golden age of railroad travel, few passenger cars carry the historical richness and connections to world history like Chessie 29.


The future mission for a restored Chessie 29

Once restored, in order to ensure that our organization can reinvest in Chessie 29's long-term maintenance and care, we have a multi-tiered business plan for the car to generate revenue.  To briefly describe the goals:

  • Chartered operation under Amtrak certification

    At our highest tier of success with Chessie 29's fundraising, we have the opportunity to fully restore the car's mechanics to Amtrak-certified specifications, opening up the full income stream of the car throughout the year as part of luxury, chartered tours catering to clientele throughout the United States.  As a result, Chessie 29 will take a major leap toward becoming a self-sustaining business department and a traveling ambassador for the C&O Historical Society and the history we work to share.
  • Ticketed operation with short-line tourist railroads

    In addition to nationwide, Amtrak-based charters, in order to maximize Chessie 29's revenue throughout the calendar year, short-line tourist rail excursions have a need for passenger equipment with generous lounge space and seating capacity, as is the case with our business car's floor plan.  The potential to enter into lease agreements with short-line railroads, who operate separately from the national Amtrak network, exist for passenger car owners between longer revenue-generating trips, with passenger cars transporting their visiting customers on relatively short, ticketed day trips.
  • Sponsored, multi-city appearances

    Collaborating with museums, municipalities, and destinations throughout the country, Chessie 29's mainstream appeal outside of its history as a vintage passenger car gives the C&O Historical Society the opportunity to market the car for sponsored exhibits, receptions, and hosting opportunities with a variety of nationwide venues.  Alongside a sponsoring organization, anywhere the car can be put on rails and welcome guests, Chessie 29 can showcase its special history along with the full mix of what our organization has to offer.  Even by arranging short-term appearances, a restored Chessie 29 carries opportunities for organized public appeal while generating revenue for its survival.

Thank you for supporting the C&O Historical Society!

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