I was told that all these refurbished cars are, for the most part, privately owned - either by companies or individuals - and I don't know how it all works actually. I don't know if the privately owned ones are used by the owners, their friends, families, whatever or if they rent them to Amtrak for the trip or ...??? But I sure love seeing them. I've loved trains since I was a girl and saved my pennies to buy a model train and then didn't really know what to do with it. Just ran it around and around the track mostly. One of my big thrills when we visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (which we did at least once a year) was to gawk at their model train display. It was truly fantastic - don't know if it's still there or not.
If anyone is interested in this trip or one of their other offerings, the website is www.newrivertrain.com. They have longer trips to Washington, DC and New York City where everything pretty much is included - hotel, meals, etc.