Roy J. Wullich II, CPA
Santa Clara, Calif.
Class of 1988
Like many people, my interest with trains began with a Lionel train set around the Christmas tree. But throughout my life and despite being older now, I still play with trains!
My train is not a model but a real train — yes, a full-size train — all 85 feet of shiny stainless steel and several hundred thousand pounds of it.
I am the owner of Rail Journeys West Inc. — a luxury private rail travel company that provides various passenger rail management and consulting services. The company owns the former California Zephyr dome-observation car “Silver Solarium” — one of only six cars like it and the only one restored and operational. Originally built in 1948 for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the car operated on the famed California Zephyr between Chicago and Oakland, Calif., as the first-class lounge and observation car for the Pullman passengers.
The car has been faithfully restored while simultaneously being updated for many modern conveniences both operationally and safety wise. The car maintains the historic look and nostalgic feel all the way down to the details from the swizzle stick in your drink, to the custom monogrammed china and white damask linens.
The car is available for private charter and typically operates behind Amtrak trains on the national rail network. In essence, it is like taking a cruise, but on land. The 360-degree view from the glass-enclosed dome is spectacular.
While onboard, you are treated to premium beverages, freshly prepared gourmet meals by a chef and service by your own steward.
In addition to charters, the car is also operated on several “public” trips a year when passengers not desiring to charter the whole car may purchase tickets and travel on some of the more popular routes that the car travels.
While at St. Bonaventure, I worked as a volunteer with the Western New York Railway Historical Society in Buffalo, N.Y., with historic railcar preservation and excursion operations.
I have continued working with various excursion, charter and special trains, historical preservation projects, as well as various roles in both museum and operations management. I am also a contractor to several Class One railroads.
My education and business background continue to help as I have served and continue to serve on the boards of several non-profit organizations and railroad preservation organizations.
I have also held various management positions at several international companies, including Intel Corporation, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers prior to making my lifelong passion and hobby of railroading a full-time job. In addition, I serve as president of the Railroad Passenger Car Alliance, a national trade organization of more than 450 members, including Class One railroads, car owners, suppliers and industry professionals.