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
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
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
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
- The car arrives in Falcon, Colorado, from Kansas City.
'B' End View.
'A' End View.
- Removal of the steam lines from under the car.
- Check out the electrical and air conditioning systems, almost every
electrical appliance worked and the air conditioning was still under pressure
and the compressor oil looked new.
The air conditioning will be upgraded to Freon-22.
- General cleanup, to make staying in the car while working on it
reasonable, and inventory made of the interior.
All of the section ladders and three bedroom ladders, one side of section
curtains, several roomette curtains and most light fixtures were in the car.
The neatest things found were three original Pullman company wool blankets.
- Repaired the hand brake, the chain pulleys were rusted to their axles.
- The coupler carrier irons were repaired and new springs were fabricated
- The diaphragms were removed.
- Rewired bedroom 'D', the wires had been cut and panel removed.
- Repaired the porter annunciator panel and chimes, this has created quite
- Fixed the bed in bedroom 'A'.
- Began removal of the steam heaters in the car.
- Three 220 volt heaters were purchased to investigate methods of heating
Work done in 1990
- Some of the roomette doors have been repaired with improvised rollers.
- All of the interior steam lines have been removed and the conduit trays
Some of our old steam heaters survive in the GWR business car "Yellowstone".
- A transformer to run the car has been obtained, this will take the 480V
3 phase power and make 240/120 volts for appliances and baseboard heat.
- The vestibule repairs have started, the damaged side has been opened, old
beams removed, floor removed and the beams replaced with 8 inch box beams.
After primer coat.
- The seat in roomette 5 has been repaired, all of the roomette bed/seats
are now in working order.
- The end sheets and rusted corner posts have been removed.
End sheet removal.
Work done in 1991
- The 480VAC transformer has been installed and all of the lighting circuits
have been converted.
This panel will evolve over time as circuits are added.
All of the incandescent bulbs have been changed and blue Christmas tree bulbs
installed for the night lights.
- The GenaMotor has been run and found to have bad bearings some missing
This has necessitated that the entire car be converted to AC operation.
A bit sooner than we had hoped.
- While the GenaMotor was operating we checked out the air circulation
blowers, room fans and 'B' end door motor.
The 'A' end door motor yielded some parts for the 'B' end.
These will be converted to AC as time and money permits.
- The work on the vestibule continues.
Both beams have been replaced, along with channel beams for the corner posts.
New diamond plate has been installed on the traps and beams.
New diamond plate.
Work remains on the door jambs, observation windows in the rear sheets,
and diamond plate in the center of the floor.
The steps are to be removed and taken to a specialty metal shop for repair.
- The water system has been pressurized, using shop air.
The reservoir and regulator seem OK, with much work remaining in the piping,
as we have a few breaks.
- Cleaning of the bed rooms, roomettes and sections continues as weather
permits (bad weather).
- The air conditioning plenum has been removed to allow replacement of
the motor with an AC motor and to repair the canvas connections.
Work done in 1992
- Air conditioning plenum received new canvas connections to the blower
outlet and inlet sides.
- The blower motor was converted to a three phase AC motor and works fine.
- A 25K watt two stage duct heater was installed into the overhead heat
frame, formerly a steam heat exchanger.
This heater, blower and air conditioning will all be wired to run on 480 VAC.
- The Mens room lavatory door was moved to provide a direct hall access
as the former mens lounge area is to become the galley.
- Work was started on the exterior residing of all the rusted out and
However, the welder we lined up lost his job and moved.
This postponed the work (which cut out and tacked in two sheets) until the
Come spring we'll do all of the welding ourselves.
- The bedroom and roomette fans were found to be of a type that could run
on 120 VAC.
Still they have to replaced as the bearings are bad and the rubber blades are
Just try to find replacement parts.
- The steam and water troughs are in the process of receiving new wood
- A source of replacement lights is being sought to fill in the various
missing light fixtures around the car.
A mirror light for roomette 6 has been located and a mounting plate is being
Also, lights in the sections have been consolidated into sections 7, 8, 9
and 10, making them complete.
- All of the empty mirror frames, four in all, have been filled with new
glass and remounted in various places around the car.
- All of the circuits that can be converted to 120 VAC have been.
This includes all of the lights, room fans and shaver outlets.
A 120VAC-6VDC power supply was built and installed to operate the porter
call system, annunciator and door bells.
Work done in 1993
- The air conditioning system has been completed pending the overhaul of
It was running for a while, until it was determined an overhaul was indicated
by evil noises.
The condenser blower motor and compressor motor have been replaced with 480
volt motors and the overhead blower motor was rewired to 480 from the
temporary 220 operation.
The condenser received a new water fill system, circulation pump and all of
the control wiring was completed.
- A 480 volt breaker panel was built and installed.
- The Mens room lavatory door was turned to open out into the hall.
The thought now is to use this space as a pantry.
- Work continued on the exterior residing of all the rusted out and
Open wall cavity.
Side wall stiffeners have been fabricated to provide support to the siding.
We got half of one side replaced before the summer and material was gone.
Siding material was purchased from a wind chime maker, at about half the
Because, it had gotten wet and began to rust!
Doesn't bother us.
That's why God invented grinders.
- The water tank was filled with water and pressurized for the first time.
All of the plumbing has been redone to circulate the water for freeze
prevention and to keep the hot water delay as short as possible.
The system requires two circulation pumps, for the hot and cold loops,
a hot water heater and a charcoal filter.
Water heater and
The faucet in bedroom 'A' was rebuilt to allow hot and cold water for washing.
- A source of replacement berth lights was located.
An amply supply of spares and trading fodder were purchased.
Also, two section lights were acquired and installed, leaving only two section
lights still missing.
The light in roomette 6 was installed on a new mounting plate.
- The tile was removed from the women's rest room and toilet for conversion
to a dressing room/toilet and shower.
An incinerating toilet was acquired and installed, for testing of the concept
and to provide relief to the troops.
- An air compressor has been purchased, to power the air motors in the power
doors and to pressurize the water system.
A mounting frame with an auxiliary air tank is to be built.
This will allow operation without train air.
Work done in 1994
- The air conditioning compressor was rebuilt and reinstalled.
After installation and filling with Freon-22 it was found to work perfectly.
Over the course of the summer leaks were discovered and fixed as they were
The Freon-22 works at higher pressure than the old Freon-12 system and marginal
gaskets and joints appear as leaks.
Better to find the problems in the yard now, rather than on the road.
compressor and new motor.
- The Air Compressor and motor starter that was purchased, from a business
liquidator, was installed under the car with a reservoir to provide compressed
air for the water rising system and power doors.
We also use it to power pneumatic tools.
The retail price for the compressor is in excess of $500, we got it for $35
and it was never used.
Air compressor and
- Work continued on the exterior residing the left side, when facing in the
forward direction, was done by the end of summer and the right side was
completed by spring.
All of the exterior was redone using CorTen alloy steel with two inch
Fiberglass panels for insulation.
The new insulation has made a BIG difference in the overall interior comfort.
- Work continued on the interior plumbing changes on bad weather days.
However, there were not very many bad days this last winter and the plumbing
is lagging somewhat behind.
We had some water freeze damage, after emptying the water for the winter,
that must be fixed and rethought to prevent future problems.
The plumbing projects completed so far:
- Water lines were run up the galley and shower areas.
- Check valves were replaces in Bedrooms 'C', 'D' and Roomettes 1, 3 and 5.
- P trap was fixed in Bedroom 'C'.
- Work was begun to fix the roof rails, where the roof and walls join,
and other areas not fixed during the residing.
Repaired roof rail,
prior to welding.
The right side is complete and the 'A' end had the diaphragm spring hole
filled and damage fixed.
- The old Spicer drive is being removed from the third axle, as it is no
longer used and must be removed for Amtrak use.
Work done in 1995
- Base board heaters have been installed in all bedrooms, roomettes,
sections and hallways.
Base board heater.
This is mainly for backup, auxiliary, heating and runs on 220 VAC power.
Also, the kick panels in the sections have had holes cut in them for stainless
Heater with kick
And the 'B' end exhaust fan has been reinstalled.
- A water chiller was installed in the pantry, the old mens lavatory, and
connected to the chilled water loop.
- Work continued on the interior plumbing changes on bad weather days.
We had some water freeze damage, again, after emptying the water for the
winter, that was fixed.
Additional plumbing projects completed so far:
- Water lines were run in the galley area for the sink and water chiller
lines were repaired and pressure tested with compressed air.
- Check valves were replaced in Bedrooms 'A', 'B' and Roomettes 2, 4 and 6.
- Work continued to fix the roof rails on the left side, where the roof
and walls join, and other areas not fixed during the residing.
- Areas of the floor in the bedroom hall and the galley area received
repairs and new concrete.
Also, deck plate was acquired to cover the floor trays and was painted in
the bedroom hall and sections.
- Many missing items from the car have been purchased from a company in
Canada from scrapped "Green" series cars.
The items include:
- Six Bedroom chairs.
- Section curtains for both sides.
- Mirrors for the Sections and Bedrooms.
- All missing section hooks.
- All missing section lights.
- Miscellaneous tables and table parts.
- Work on the galley is proceeding due to the purchase of a self cleaning
oven, stove top and sinks.
Also, many other items have been acquired from the scrapped Stapleton Airport.
The hall side wall has been removed to allow for the construction of the
refrigerator and installation of the oven/stove top.
The walls have been covered with stainless steel.
A rack for the oven and stove top is in progress.
Rack with ovens.
- Several items have been acquired for the car but not yet installed,
- A 125 KW 480 VAC generator for possible installation on the car.
- Mirrors for remaining areas that were not available from Canada.
- Refrigeration compressors for galley fridge.
Work done in 1996
- A forty foot container was acquired to be use as a shop, storage and to
house the new generator.
A partition dividing the generator room from the rest of the shop area was
constructed to isolate some of the noise.
The container was wired for lights and heat in the shop area, with electrical
controls and outlets for the welders and other tools.
The new shop was connected to the utility pole for standby power when the
generator is not in operation.
A six foot work bench was constructed along one wall providing a firm surface
for the vise and other tools.
Bench in shop.
Also, a drill press and bench grinder were purchased for the shop.
- The generator was installed and has been providing 480v power to the car.
However, the voltage regulator died and had to be replaced.
Generator in shop.
- The roof rail repairs have been completed.
- Exterior work has proceeded to the vestibule with some rework done to
strengthen earlier welding jobs and framing for the vestibule windows have
The coupler carrier irons are being replaced and spring hangers are being
properly installed into new seats.
The brake and main reservoir hose bracket has been repaired.
- An air cooled air conditioning condenser was acquired, rebuilt and
installed under the car to replace the old water cooled condenser.
Condenser under car.
This will save water, as none is needed, for use elsewhere.
- In the galley the stove top has been installed in a stainless counter
top with space below for the oven.
A space above the stove top was constructed for a microwave/convection oven,
not yet purchased.
A frame for the refrigerator has been built to fit next to the space
for the sink.
Frame and sink.
- All of the sinks in the bedrooms and roomettes have been made operational.
The chilled water system was brought to an operational status with all of the
cold water taps having been fixed.
- Started cleaning the roomettes when interior was removed to storage to
make room for interior repairs.
All of the hat and coat hooks, Dixie cup dispensers, section hammock hardware,
sink foot pedals and other interior metal items have been removed to be
polished or maybe chrome plated.
- All of the stainless kick panels have had slots cut in them and stainless
grillwork has been welded into the slots.
- All of the floor plates have had clips welded to them and about half have
- Door moldings have been fabricated and are being mounted in the vestibule
- The frame for the galley sink was built and installed.
- A 120VAC to 64VDC power supply was built to provide power to the power
It was decided not to change out 64VDC circuits.
- Welded up the end sheets on the vestibule and cut window openings.
- Two locomotive headlight bezels mounted on the vestibule end above the
end sheet windows.
This will provide for the red end marker lights and clear track lights as
each bezel allows for two light bulbs.
Work done in 1997
- Replaced ugly and beat up vinyl wainscoting in the halls with sheet
- Repaired the power door pneumatic door engines. Replaced the piston cups,
leaking gaskets and the time delay capacitors. Also, cleaned the strainers.
- Replaced the two prong shaver outlets with grounded outlets.
- Completed the installation of new door moldings in the vestibule door
- The old air conditioning compressor permanently bites the dust, rear
bearing seized up, resulting in its replacement with a new semi-hermetic
compressor. Of course, this required the construction of a new mounting frame
and replumbing of the Freon lines.
- The linen locker was changed to house a small refrigerator and a small
- Mounted the first water heater under the car in its insulated steel box.
This water heater will provide hot water for the galley.
Work done in 1998
- Mounted the second water heater. This water heater will provide hot water
for the shower.
Lifting in the water
heater with the Dodge "forklift".
- Installed the refrigerator in the galley. We custom built this refrigerator
to fit in the space available.
View of the
refrigerator from the hall.
- Rewired the 'B' end sliding door and rebuilt the edge detector.
- Plumbed the toilets, using 3 inch PVC pipe, to a central location where
the waste holding tank will be installed.
View above the
space where the holding tank will go.
After installation the pipes were insulated and covered with a rock resistant
- Constructed a 250 Gallon waste holding tank.
the tank frame.
- Constructed a bench in the shower. Decided to tile the shower, instead
of using stainless. Poured concrete shower pan.
Work done in 1999
- Installed concrete wall board in the shower to allow a base for the tile.
- Rewired the 'A' end sliding door and rebuilt the edge detector.
- Isolated the "Night", vestibule and passageway lights onto a single circuit
that can be run off of an Inverter/Charger to provide emergency lighting.
- Began the HEP installation with the mounting of the HEP junction box and
construction of the cleat mounting hardware.
HEP Junction Box.
- Remounted all of the toilets and rebuilt the plumbing with new vacuum
breakers and gaskets.
- Replaced the 3/4 inch signal air line with a 1 inch main reservoir air
- Mounted the Comm/MU boxes, HEP connector plates and Comm/MU junction
- Installed the 1 inch Train Line Complete (TLC) conduit.
- Pulled the 1/0 Exane wire from the HEP junction box up to the electrical
Work done in 2000
- Installed the 2 inch and 1 1/2 inch conduits between the Comm/MU junction
boxes. This was fairly involved as the conduit had to be run over and around
various obstructions, truck bolsters, toilet lines, etc.
- Installed new steps in the vestibule. I had new steps made using the old
steps as patterns.
- Wired in the 480v panel and main breaker to the 1/0 wire from the HEP
- Cut a 500 gallon fuel tank, off of a mechanical reefer, in half and
mounted the reconstructed 250 gallon tank under the car. The tank is mounted
inside the old battery box for added collision protection.
Fuel tank prior to
- Mounted the Comm and MU connectors on the 'A' end of the car.
- Built and mounted a generator carrier, with slide-outs, under the car. The
generator, a 53 KW 480 VAC alternator powered by a 4-53 Detroit, was rebuilt and
fits into the carrier. This allows for stand alone operation of the car.
Generator being mounted under the car.
- Began painting roomettes to experiment with color schemes.
- Ran the 4/0 wire between the HEP junction box and the 'A' end of the car.
- Ran the 4/0 wire between the HEP junction box and the 'B' end of the car.
- Jacked up the car and pulled the trucks out for the beginning of the 40
year rebuild. The trucks are being rebuilt in a local shop.
During this time the car will be sitting on freight car trucks.
View of the 'A' end
truck being removed.
Work done in 2001
- A control panel to provide remote start and stop of the generator has been
installed in the electrical locker. It also has gauges for voltage,
current and frequency monitoring.
- Mounted the HEP connectors on the 'A' end of the car and crimped on the
- Installed a 1000W Inverter/Charger on the emergency lighting circuits. The
system works with two 220 Amp Hour deep cycle batteries in parallel.
View of the
electrical locker with the inverter and generator controls. Compare this
with the picture taken in 1991.
- All the 4/0 and 1/0 wiring is complete. The 'B' end HEP connectors have
been installed with 1/0 from the generator. Also, contactors to switch
between HEP and the generator has been installed.
- Conversion of the brake system from D-22 to 26-C has been completed with
the removal of the D-22 pipe bracket and equalizing reservoir. The 26-C pipe
bracket and reservoirs has been installed.
- Train line complete (TLC) wiring has been installed and connected.
- Trucks are being reassembled.
View of the
truck being reassembled.
Work done in 2002
- The rebuilt truck have been reinstalled under the car.
View of the
truck being reinstalled.
View of the
truck after installation.
- Marker lights installed on the 'A' end of the car.
View of the
markers turned on.
- Welded on the trim around the vestiblule ('B' end) and on the 'A' end.
View of the
View of the
- Hired some temporary workers to sand and apply primer to the roof. Now for
the roof paint.
View of the
roof getting a coat of primer.
View of the
- Pulled the wire for the COMM and MU lines.
- Painted the roof a Silver/Grey.
- Marker lights have been installed on the 'B' end as well as the
backup lights (or is it track lights when they are near the roof).
- The COMM/MU circuits have been wired in both junction boxes to the
recepticles on the ends of the car. This finishes the HEP installation.
- Began replacement of the wainscoting in the sections with a Formica that
will match the new interior.
- Began getting the toilets working in the Bedrooms. Also, investigating the
installation of Headhunters in the hard to get to areas.
- The trucks have been leveled and the side bearing clearances set.
- New wainscoting installed in the sections, we're using Formica that is
color coordinated with the upholstery to be used.
- Began work on the tube diaphragms.
- Began sanding the exterior and painting with a primer.
- Wainscoting installed in the Bedrooms and Roomettes.
- All of the interior upholstery is now out of the car and has been taken
to be reupholstered.
- Finished tube diaphragms got the car ready to move.
- Moved the car to the Burnham Car shop in Denver for the big push to
finish the mechanical work and to get the exterior painted.
View of the
car on the transfer table.
View of the
car inside the shop bay.
Another view of
the car inside the shop bay.
Work done in 2003
- Newly upholstered Bedroom chairs, Roomettes and Section interior have
been received and await installation, after painting.
- Car height and leveling adjustments has been completed.
- Exterior body sanding completed and body filler applied to smooth over
weld seams and other imperfections.
- All sewer lines converted to use the new Headhunter toilets and have been
connected to the waste holding tank.
- All windows removed and new Emergency inserts have been ordered.
- Interior sanding has begun to prepare for interior paint.
- Decelostat control valve and piping have been installed.
- Car has been covered with the first primer coat.
- All sewer lines have freeze protection, using self regulating heat tape,
and are insulated.
- The under side of the car, including the trucks have been painted black.
View of the
car on the transfer table with the underside painted black.
View of the
'A' end truck painted black.
- Decelostats installed.
- Applied several layers of filling sand. A sprayable filler that is used
to fill in surface imperfections. After each application you sand the surface
smooth and clean with isopropyl alcohol.
- The painting of the exterior. We tried to match the L&N color from a
piece of the car that we shined up for the purpose.
View of the
car in Blue.
View of the
'A' end of the car.
- Tile installation in the shower has been completed.
- New carpet has been installed.
- New windows with Emergency inserts has been installed.
- Lettering and stripes have been applied to the car.
View of the
the car with lettering and stripes.
- All toilets have been installed.
- Mattresses have been delivered and installed.
- Car moved to Denver Union Station (DUS) for its first trip to the 2003
View of the
vestibule end of the car at DUS.
Work done in 2004
- Galley has been finished in stainless with a new stainless microwave.
- Common restroom/shower has stainless wainscoting installed and has been
- Halls have been painted.
- Roomettes and Bedrooms have been painted.
- Section lowers and Galley hall have been painted.
- Bedroom and Roomette wall fans have been replaced.
Work done in 2005
- Built and installed a server's station in Section 11. This station has a
bar sink, microwave, Bunn coffee maker and with ample storage in facing
The section can be converted back into a sleeping section in a couple of hours.
- The Galley microwave was replaced with a half pan convection/warming oven.
- Section upper interiors have been painted.
- AM/FM/XM entertainment system with CD changer has been installed.
This page is maintained by David Pitts.
with comments and corrections.
Last modified 2012/03/19.
All pages and photos contained here are
copyright © 1994-2023 by Colorado Zephyrs, Inc.
All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.