Four California Zephyrs cars, the Silver Rapids, Silver Lariat, Silver Solarium, and Silver Peak were sold to the Cuyahoga Scenic Valley train. They have been a favorite catch in New Mexico and we will miss them. Here are several clips of them passing through Seattle on the Snow Train, in Bernalillo, NM, and finally their last run in Lamy, New Mexico.
The railroad shared details about its new cars:
• Silver Lariat was built in 1948 by the Budd Co. for the Burlington Route as a dome coach for service on the California Zephyr. A large dining and lounge area seats 42 passengers (36 at tables) and is equipped with a full bar with a freezer capable of storing 200 pounds of ice. From this room, passengers can access the vista dome above, which provides panoramic views and seating for an additional 24 passengers at tables. A unique feature of this train car is The Pony Express, a restored original mural by Mary Louise Lawser that was commissioned by the Burlington Railroad when the car was built. Silver Lariat also features restrooms; a full commercial kitchen with two ranges and two half-size convection ovens; registered monogrammed china service; original white damask California Zephyr table linens; and a full sound system with CD, iPod, and PA.
• Silver Solarium was built in 1948 by the Budd Co. for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. It was one of the six dome-sleeper-observation cars specifically built for the California Zephyr. Ownership of the car was transferred to Amtrak in 1970 after more than 20 years of service between Chicago and San Francisco, and Amtrak retired the car in 1980. Silver Solarium was placed in storage for decades and fell into disrepair until Amtrak sold it to a private owner. Today, Silver Solarium has been fully renovated and has been operating as a private car, delighting passengers with stunning views from its vista dome and observation lounge. The car also features three double bedrooms with enclosed toilets, sinks, and showers that sleep up to 11 guests, a drawing room, and a stateroom. The observation lounge seats 11 in classic railroad lounge chairs upholstered in frieze fabric, and the vista dome car seats 24 in booth seating at tables. The Silver Solarium also features a full commercial kitchen with a range that includes a half-size convection oven, an original bar with a carved linoleum façade, and a sound system with CD and iPod.
• Silver Peak was built in 1940 by the Budd Co. for Burlington Route and assigned to the Denver‐Ft. Worth Texas Zephyr. Originally built as a coach-dormitory-baggage car, the coach area was used as the Jim Crow section of the train. When the Jim Crow laws were found to be unconstitutional, it was converted to a full baggage car. The car is equipped with a great deal of storage space; a workshop section that features an 8‐foot work bench with a drill press, bench grinder, band‐type cutoff saw, table saw, and a variety of power and hand tools; and a commercial refrigerator and chest freezer.
• Silver Rapids was built in 1948 by the Budd Co. and served as a transcontinental sleeper car that provided coast to coast transportation for almost 20 years. The car was removed from the California Zephyr service in the 1960s when most transcontinental sleepers were discontinued, and changed ownership from the Pennsylvania Railroad to Amtrak, which retired it in the early 1980s and sold the car to a private owner. After extensive restoration work that included interior and mechanical upgrades, Silver Rapids is now one of the most versatile sleeper cars in service. The car features eight one‐person roomettes, each with a small sofa, folding wash basin, a vanity and large mirror, and a bed that folds out of the wall. Further down the hall are six double bedrooms, each of which sleeps two (one in an upper berth and one in a lower berth), has its own enclosed restroom with folding sink and outlet, and is equipped with either a long sofa or a short sofa and folding chair for relaxing throughout the day. The six double bedrooms can also open up to form three suites that sleep up to four guests each. Other features include a general public toilet and large shower in the main area and a small galley style kitchen.