The "Colorado Pine" Story

A Short History

The car is a passenger sleeping car and was built by the Pullman-Standard Car Company in 1953 for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N). The car is part of an order for 22 cars in Lot 6909 built to Plan 4183 and named "Plantation Pine", numbered 3462. This car has a configuration of six open sections, four double bedrooms and six roomettes. In addition to the cars for the L&N, three cars for the Nashville, Chattanooga & Saint Louis (NC&StL) and four cars for the Chicago and Eastern Illinois (C&EI) were also built. For "as built" pictures and floor plans look in "The Official Pullman-Standard Library", Volume 7 Southeast Railroads, pages 167-175. Also, there is an article in "The Dixie Line", Volume 12 Number 5, October 1995 by Bob Chapman that gives some history of these cars. "The Dixie Line" is published by the Louisville and Nashville Historical Society.

The car was in service on many of the named L&N trains out of Chicago until 1967. It then was used as a Dormitory Car renumbered 1661, photograph taken in Louisville in 1969, for on board crews. It was then purchased by the Spencer Chemical Company of Kansas City where it was going to be converted to an office dormitory for their weed spraying operations. No work was done to the car and after 10 years it was sold to the Smokey Hill Railway and Historical Society in Kansas City. We, Colorado Zephyrs, bought the car in 1989 and moved it to the Denver area. At first we put the car on the Cadillac and Lake City Railroad (CLK) at Falcon, Colorado with the possibility of running the car with the dinner and tourist trains. This didn't work out as the CLK went under in January of 1990. We then moved the car to the Great Western Railway (GWR), in Loveland, Colorado, in April of 1990. At the time of the move we leased a locomotive from the Union Pacific (UP), hired the CLK crew and hauled the car from Falcon to Limon for interchange to the UP for movement to Loveland. This was the last locomotive hauled train over this piece of the old Rock Island before dismantling of the track. When the shops at Loveland became too busy with their locomotive rebuilding and leasing program, we were asked to move as they needed the space. So, in January of 1995 the car was moved again. This time to the Denver Rock Island Railway (DRIR) in Denver. For the final push to Amtrak certification it was determined that it would be easier for the Rail Transportation Technical Services Corporation (RTTSC) folks to do the heavy work in their shop at the old Burnham coach shop, the former D&RGW and now UP shops. In December 2002, with your author at the throttle of the locomotive, we moved the car to the UP interchange for movement to Burnham. We made our maiden voyage, after the restoration, to the 2003 AAPRCO convention in New Orleans, Louisianna.

The car, was renamed "Colorado Pine" to reflect its locality, was restored with the goal of operation behind Amtrak. We sold the car in 2012 to Iowa Pacific.

The Restoration Process

Most people think that you go out and buy a car, connect it to an Amtrak train and hit the road for the big parties. This is, unfortunately, not the way it works. Unless, you have lots of money. This format was chosen to illustrate that a lot of the work is not done in a linear fashion. Usually as money and material became available. Did I mention that the purchase of the car is the cheap and easy part? As the car is out of doors, much of the work is dictated by the weather. When it rains, snows or just too darn cold we work inside. Otherwise, we work outside. It should be noted that it takes a long time to restore a car when you usually work on it one day a week.

Note: Click on the picture to get a larger view.

Work done in 1989

Work done in 1990

Work done in 1991

Work done in 1992

Work done in 1993

Work done in 1994

Work done in 1995

Work done in 1996

Work done in 1997

Work done in 1998

Work done in 1999

Work done in 2000

Work done in 2001

Work done in 2002

Work done in 2003

Work done in 2004

Work done in 2005

This page is maintained by David Pitts. Please email with comments and corrections.
Last modified 2012/03/19.

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