(The Silver Solarium going through Batavia Wednesday morning. Photo taken by David P. Smith.)
Roy Wullich, Batavia native, traveled through the city from the West Coast on his deluxe rail passenger car, the "Silver Solarium."
The railcar passed through the area around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. It was attached to an Amtrak train, the Lakeshore Limited, and departed from Buffalo at 9:50 a.m. The charter originally started its journey in Los Angeles and has gone to Oakland and Chicago.
The Silver Solarium takes passengers aboard on train tours usually around the West Coast.
"It's rare that we get this far East," Wullich said. "Typically we go between Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Denver."
Wullich has his own private charter service company, Rail Journeys West. Several couples or families will book a tour and ride to different Western cities for vacation trips or special events.The deluxe railcar has several accommodations for passengers including a bar, lounge and sleeping space.
"It's like taking a cruise but your on a train," Wullich said. "So you have your own private chef and a steward."
The dome observation railcar was built in 1948 and a part of the Amtrak California Zephyr Train. After Amtrak retired the Silver Solarium in the 1980s, the railcar was sold to a private owner who then sold it to Wullich in 2002. He restored it to reflect its original 1940s appearance.
Wullich grew up in Batavia and has loved trains since he was a child.
"I have always had a love for trains," Wullich said. "It started out with a Lionel train set around the Christmas tree like all kids have and I went from there."
In high school he was a part of the Genesee Society of Model Engineers. He became interested in rail tours after graduating from St. Bonaventure University and working with a historical society that did rail tours in Buffalo.
Traveling to Western New York on train tours is a not a common occurrence for him anymore. The Silver Solarium made a second trip through Batavia to head back to Albany late Wednesday evening.