In 2015, the SBRHS initiated a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the restoration of a crew car in support of future 3751 operations. Work began in earnest on the chosen railcar, an ex-Seaboard Air Line Railway baggage- dormitory-coach, numbered 1517. As the car was readied for its movement to a more accessible location, generous donors like you helped our organization raise almost $59,000 to fund the restoration of a crew car(s).

Continuing 3751 operations and other unexpected difficulties, however, created an extended timeframe to accomplish this work. By the time the 1517 was moved, the locomotive’s 15-year boiler inspection was about to begin. The need for all hands to work on the locomotive temporarily suspended any crew-car related work.

As the boiler inspection continued into 2019, the SBRHS was made aware of an upcoming Amtrak equipment auction this past spring. Buried in the lists of equipment that would be available, the SBRHS discovered many ex-Santa Fe Railway cars in exceptional condition. Interested in the potential benefits these cars might have compared to the scope of work needed to restore the 1517, the SBRHS Board of Directors convened to discuss the matter.

Following an extensive amount of research on the available cars by the steam crew and third-party railcar inspectors, it was decided in the best interest of the society to attempt to acquire two ex-Santa Fe dormitory cars and one baggage car. Additional support for this decision came following an updated projection on the 1517’s restoration, revealing it would cost upwards of $150,000 to return the car to active service. This massive expenditure, compiled with the car’s east coast heritage not aligned with the mission of the SBRHS, led to the society’s decision to move forward with attempting to acquire the trio of cars.

The SBRHS is pleased to announce that we were successful in acquiring the three mentioned cars at a cost of $4,000. With the successful acquisition of these cars, efforts to refurbish them to support 3751 operations will begin immediately after the locomotive’s boiler inspection.

RAIL CAR HISTORY – By Matt Wiles

Dormitory/Crew Cars
ATSF 1636 “Pine Lodge” & ATSF 1639 “Pine Peak,” the two dormitory cars featured in this acquisition, were built by the Budd Company in 1950 in a group of 27 cars of the 10 Roomette, 6 Double Bedroom floor plan, the largest single group of lightweight sleepers on the Santa Fe. These 10-6 sleepers & a group of ACF built 10-6 sleepers were the preferred sleeping cars in Santa Fe’s transcontinental sleeping car line as their simple floor plan was conducive to the through sleeping car service provided in conjunction with connecting eastern railroads in Chicago. All of Santa Fe’s 10-6 sleeping cars spent their entire lives in near constant rotation protecting sleeping car lines on every major Santa Fe passenger train. By the mid 60’s, all of the “Pine” series cars were re-equipped with 41-CDO-11 trucks.

Most of the 10-6 sleeping cars made it to Amtrak service. “Pine Lodge” was renumbered AMTK 2725 & “Pine Peak” to AMTK 2728. Both cars protected sleeping cars lines out of LA for Amtrak in the 1970’s with occasional usage on the San Francisco Zephyr, Empire Builder, & on east coast bound services. Both cars were converted from steam heat to head end power (HEP) early in 1978, extending their lives into the modern era. “Pine Lodge” became AMTK 2994 & “Pine Peak” became AMTK 2992 after the conversion to HEP. As new Superliner cars began arriving, beginning in 1978, much of Amtrak’s single level heritage equipment retreated to the Midwest & east coast services.

As more new equipment arrived in the 90’s, Amtrak selected a group of sleeping cars of various heritages to be converted into “sleeper-dorms” for use on New York based single level long distance trains. “Pine Lodge” & “Pine Peak were among this group & received their final numbers, AMTK 2523 & 2506 respectively. Both cars lived out their revenue lives in dorm service until being withdrawn & stored in January 2007 at Amtrak’s Beech Grove IN shop facility.

Baggage/Tool Car
ATSF 3656 was built by Budd in 1953 in a series of orders for lightweight baggage cars from ACF, Budd, & Pullman. This car spent its entire career in baggage & storage mail service for Santa Fe & likely saw use on every train in the Santa Fe system. Like many Budd built cars (Santa Fe cars especially), 3656 went to Amtrak as AMTK 1106 & went to work system wide. It is just as likely that this car saw service on every Amtrak service that offered checked baggage. In 1980, 3656 made the cut for conversion to HEP & was renumbered to AMTK 1161, its final Amtrak number. 3656 continued in service system wide until 2015 when replaced by a large order of brand new Viewliner II baggage cars.

All 3 ex-Santa Fe cars were formally acquired from Amtrak by the SBRHS in early 2019. These cars represent the SBRHS’ continued effort in providing support to its cherished 4-8-4 steam locomotive, #3751, the organization’s support crew, & mission in preserving all history directly related to the AT&SF.

Sources:

“Santa Fe Railway Passenger Car Reference Series- Vol 5, Sleeping Cars of the Santa Fe”, MW Flick, DJ Kogan, TW Lehmann.
“Santa Fe Railway Passenger Car Reference Series- Vol 1, Head End Cars”, FM Ellington, JW Shine.
“Zephyrs, Chiefs, & Other Orphans”, FW Frailey.
“Amtrak by the Numbers”, DC Warner, E Simon.

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The acquisition of these three railcars, their upcoming refurbishment and service in supporting future 3751 operations would not be possible without the help of generous donations from our supporters and people like YOU.

We know we say it often, but thank you for your continued support to help keep 3751 steaming.