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Western Pacific




Western Pacific was a "pool" participant in the "California Zephyr" along with Burlington and the Rio Grande. When the train was inaugurated in 1948, 30 domes were delivered by Budd, with DRG&W owning 6, Burlington 13, and WP 11.


WP 811 "Silver Dollar" coach - 3/48, AUT 460 (6/70), Ken Nichols/Anbel Corp, J Williams/Starlight Limited Inc San Antonio TX (1983) "Starlight Limited" (800137) stripped & gutted for conversion to P.V. use - sat untouched, to Illinois Transit Assembly (1999). To Les Kasten 2002. sold 11/04 - car remaining at ITAC.


WP 812 "Silver Feather" coach - 3/48, AUT 461 (6/70), Don Gage Jamestown NY (12/81), Jim Stephenson Bellare TX (1985) "Feather River" (not applied) - Texas Southern, Transcisco (1990), Washington Central WCRC 151 (1993), Pacific Starlight Dinner Train 151 "Moonglow" (800175) (5/97). Operation shut down and car listed for sale late 2002. Sold to Ontario Northland 2/2004 as ONT 901 and moved east on rear of 'Canadian' 4/04 with entire dinner train consist. Sold 12/10 to Jon Clark.


WP 813 "Silver Palace" coach - 5/48, AUT 462 (6/70), Ed Braun Bakersville NC (12/81), Al Becker (1983), Kasten Railcar (1984), Merle Haggard (1985), repossessed by Kasten (1986), Frank Dowd Jr (1987), Vista Rail Inc/Gary Matthews (800273) (1988), Branson Scenic (lease-93/94), White River Scenic "Calico Rock" (lease-97/98), RailCruise America (lease), Wisconsin Central (10/98), Algoma Central Saul Ste. Marie "Spirit of Superior".


WP 814 "Silver Sage" coach - 5/48, AUT 463 (6/70), R Buhro Walbridge OH (12/81), Ed Braun, R J Corman - used as office for "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train".


WP 815 "Silver Schooner" coach - 2/48, AUT 470 (6/70), parted out 1981-82, scrapped Sanford FL 1983.


WP 816 "Silver Scout" coach - 3/48, AUT 471 (6/70), Wilson Engineering Cleburne TX (12/81) - car remains in full Auto Train colors.


WP 817 "Silver Thistle" coach - 3/48, AUT 464 (6/70), James E Strates Shows, Kasten Railcar (1984), Ralph Orlandella Sacramento CA (1984) - car was purchased in the interest of garnering interest in a 40th anniversary "CZ" run which would have taken place during 1989. After these plans fell through the car was sold during 1987 to VIA Rail as 522 - stored inactive in Montreal. Sold to Mike Gresham and moved to ITAC 12/06-1/07.


WP 831 "Silver Chalet" dorm-buffet-lounge - 11/48, BN 252(2) - - - Note: BN 252(1) "Silver Roundup" was stored in WP Oakland CA yard after the last run of the CZ on March 21/22 1970. The car was found in flames in April, was a writeoff from being gutted, and was stashed in a corner of the yard while the WP and CB&Q worked out a deal. That "deal" turned out to be WP handing over their example of the same car "Silver Chalet". The car was turned over to the BN, as the "Q" had become BN on 3/03/70. BN assigned number 804, which like almost all other assigned BN numbers, was never applied, and BN actually renumbered the car as 252(2), but retained the "Chalet" name. (The hulk of "Q" "Silver Roundup" was resold and scrapped following the insurance and transfer of titles for the above swap.) - - -, became Amtrak 9812, Al Beckert (1983), Kasten Railcar (1985), David Rushenberg (1985), Northern Railcar (1987), Quad Graphics Inc. (800274) (1987). The (PV) Silver Chalet has been heavily modified with a platform by Quad Graphics (see photos). Car suffered $130,000 damage 4/03 from a fire caused by a smoldering cushion next to a baseboard heater, but will be restored.

(From the son of Dave Rushenberg.)

Seeing the pictures posted brought back a lot of memories from the summer of '86. My dad and another owner and I took all the dome windows out, re-gasketed them, cleaned out all the window channels and put the windows back in. We also replaced a bunch of leaky/broken side windows. In addition we refurbished the interior of the dome with new pedestal seats, cocktail tables, carpet and paint. For a couple of rank amateurs we did a pretty good job. It was not original, nor was it intended to be, but it was a great place to ride! We worked our tails off to get it ready for the AAPRCO convention in Milwaukee. The Chalet was the last car on the Empire Builder when it went in the ditch in Fall River, WI on the way to Milwaukee. Needless to say, the convention wasn't as much fun as it could have been, though the Chalet wasn't damaged too badly (a few chairs broke out of their bases, a stereo that went airborne).


WP 832 "Silver Hostel" dorm-buffet-lounge - 11/48, 8/21/72 to "R&V Trailer Sales" Blackfoot ID as the "Train Stop" restaurant, 1975 to D&RGW as 832 (not applied) and moved to Denver as a parts supply for the existing RGZ cars (the car's skirts went to the "Silver Sky" after that car was damaged). 10/13/88 to SP 832 (ANSCO owned - number not applied), 1994 to Dave Varilek/Empire Builder Private Rail Cars/Vista-Dome Adventures Hooper NE as a "shell", resold (unchanged) to Kasten/Illinois Transit Assembly, 1999 car sold to the Feather River RR Society Museum Portola CA - moved to museum 11/99.


WP 881 "Silver Crescent" sleeper-observation - 10/45, 3/72 to William Harmsen/Liquid Crystal Sugar Inc/Jolly Rancher Candies Wheatridge CO, donated 3//81 to the Gold Coast Railway Museum Miami FL (800293), Illinois Transit Assembly for repair - returned to museum in 1998.


WP 882 "Silver Planet" sleeper-observation - 10/45, 2/72 to Willis Kyle - car used in excursion service on his Oregon Pacific & Eastern RY Cottage Grove ID (OPE 882), 1975 to Los Angeles County CA LA108 "San Fernando". The private rooms were converted to card-playing rooms, and car was painted as "Amtrak" (this was mandated at the time by Amtrak for any PV cars moved by Amtrak - car was never owned by Amtrak). Red tape prevented this car and it's train from making a first run on the LA-San Diego line until 2/78, and then the operation lasted only six months and the train set was stored in LA. 1987 car sold to "Copper Canyon Tours Co." as CCTX 108 "San Fernando" and later "Chihuahua" for use on the Ch al Pacifico Ry "Copper Canyon" train. When that business failed, the Ch-P received the equipment in partial payment of operating costs and continued to use it. The car next passed to the Ferrocarril del Pacífico and the sleeping rooms were reinstalled at the Empalme shops. The FCP used it as a business car at Guadalajara before it became NdeM 108.
This car was then purchased, along with ten other passenger cars, two locomotives, and ten cabooses, by a group in San Luis Potosí MX. The private cars were moved the premises of Silver Creek International in that city. The dome obs underwent extensive restoration, is called Silver Creek 100 "San Luis" and was chartered for regular private train use in Mexico for a year beginning 8/2001. Car reported to offer a late night "nightclub" with NUDE MODELS! (talk about a dome with a VIEW!)


Please e-mail us any additional info or corrections.

Additional info: Roy Wullich, PTJ












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