A Car-by-Car Walkthrough of the Station to Station Train
No matter where we were on the Station to Station trip, the most common question people asked me was about the different cars on the train. There were rumors of recording cars, and double-decker dining cars, and a caboose that Frank Sinatra once...
No matter where we were on the Station to Station trip, the most common question people asked me was about the different cars on the train. The train itself was beautiful from the outside—rows of multicolored LED lights blinked across the entire length of the train. But everyone wanted to know what was going on inside. There were rumors of recording cars, and double-decker dining cars, and a caboose that Frank Sinatra once frequented. All those rumors are true.
Starting from the car right behind the engine and heading back to the caboose, here is a walkthrough of the infamous train from Station to Station: a public art project made possible by Levi’s®.
Nickname: The Levi’s® Car
Description: The Levi’s® train car was one of the best places to hang out on the Station to Station train. It’s full of couches and is home to one of the only stereos on the train, surprisingly. It’s also from the 1950’s and has some excellently-patterned carpet. Once 5:01 Happy Hour rolls around, the entire Station to Station train would head to the Levi’s® car to have a drink and relax.
The Levi’s® car is also the home to the 1901 typewriter that Tweets, the Gibson guitar that uploads directly to Soundcloud, and the Bolex camera that shoots Instagram videos, among other tools that Levi’s® and Fake Love designed. If Lambert’s Point is the train’s master bedroom and Taos is the closet, then the Levi’s® train car is the den. It’s where everyone would head to kick back and hang.
Nickname: The Content Car
Description: Station to Station had people constantly shooting footage on the train and at each event around the country. The content car was where this raw footage got turned into all the videos and photo galleries on the Station to Station website. It was also the most terrifying train car to walk through, because you had to squeeze past rows of people working. Every time I headed from the Levi’s® car to the recording or the dining car, I worried when I passed through the content car. If the train made one sharp turn, I might lose my balance and take out a whole line of computer monitors.
Nickname: The Executive Suite
Description: The Lambert’s Point train car was the oldest car on the train, dating back to 1914. Its walls are wood-paneled and it comes complete with a spacious balcony, a master bedroom, and a private dining room. It was once the mobile bedroom of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who rode in Lambert’s Point during the 1996 election campaign.
Nickname: Baggage Car
Description: With so many artists, musicians, and crew living on the train, Station to Station and Levi’s® needed to allocate one car for storage. Along with the stacks of rolling suitcases and backpacks, the Taos car is also the storage place for extra cases of food and beer. There were more than a few late-night raids on the baggage car to replenish the supplies.
Nickname: Crew Sleeper
Description: The Silver Quail was where the crew slept. Since I am a writer for VICE and not part of the official Station to Station crew, I called this train car as “The Car with the Skinny Hallway.” The crew sleepers are big and comfortable, but since train cars have limited space, there isn’t much room left for the hallway. When you would walk through the Silver Quail, you always hope someone else isn’t coming down from the other side.
ST. CROIX VALLEY
Nickname: The Recording Car
Description: There was always some crazy collaboration going on in the recording car, and engineering wizard Justin Stanley was right there to record it. Whether Cold Cave was tracking vocals in the open space between train cars, Thurston Moore was running through a stripped-down version of Schizophrenia, or White Mystery was jamming with Chris Camp (Station to Station’s resident whipcracker), something is always happening on the recording car. Justin Stanley and Doug Aitken were discussed releasing a limited-edition vinyl of all the songs from the train trip. That will be something to check out, if the plan comes together.
Nickname: The Other Sleeper Car
Description: The Minnesota River train car had smaller sleeping rooms than the Silver Quail, but where as the Silver Quail rooms were all taken up by crewmembers, the rooms on Minnesota River were mostly up for grabs. When the hustle and bustle on the train got to be too much, anyone could go grab a few minutes of privacy in one of these rooms. They could even take a quick nap on a mattress that pulls down from the wall like a Murphy bed.
Nickname: The Dining Car
Description: The double-decker dining car was a great place to watch the scenery pass by while grabbing a bite to eat from Leif Hedendal, Station to Station’s resident chef. The food was great and the company isn’t so band, either: Cat Power might be looking for an empty seat and slide in next to you for lunch.
Nickname: The Caboose
Description: Cedar Rapids was the most picturesque train car, with its window-lined walls and domed end. It’s no wonder that Frank Sinatra called it his favorite. The rumor around the train was that Ol’ Blue Eyes used to buy out every seat on the train car just so he could ride it privately. Cedar Rapids is orange on the outside and has a rotating headlight right at its end. It’s the last thing most people saw when the Station to Station train passes through a city on its journey from the East Coast to the West. And it’s an appropriately awe-inspiring site to leave them with.
Curious to explore more? Check out the Levi’s® Icons product collection here.