Chapter Coach Silver Larch

Silver Larch at Newburg 9-29-02.  Photo by Rick Sprung

Chapter Coach Silver Larch pauses at Newburg, MO, during the Frisco 1522's final run - Sept 29, 2002. Photo by Rick Sprung.

The Chapter purchased two coaches during an Amtrak auction of surplus equipment. Silver Maple and Silver Larch had started their lives in 1948 as Sectional Sleepers on the California Zephyr, running between Chicago and Oakland on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Denver & Rio Grande Western and Western Pacific Railroads. Both of these cars were 'owned' by the CB&Q, which later converted them to coaches when demand for Sectional Sleepers waned. The cars became part of the Amtrak fleet when it took over inter-city rail travel and were some of the last coaches withdrawn from their "Heritage' fleet as new equipment was brought in.

Noted Private Car Expert John Kuehl from Chicago has generously shared some photos that he took of Silver Larch when it was in early Amtrak service. Note that the car still had its skirting through the 70s - unfortunately Amtrak removed the skirts for convenient access under the car.

 

Silver Larch in early Amtrak Service
All photos taken in the Chicago area.

Click on each photo to enlarge.

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November 16, 1972
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March 22, 1975
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May 28, 1978
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June 7, 1989

When the Chapter acquired Silver Larch and Silver Maple, they were in rough condition. Years of constant Amtrak service had taken their toll on the cars and much work was needed on them. More information and photos can be found on the Silver Larch Overhaul Page.

The Silver Larch was released for service in early 2002 and made its first revenue run on the Frisco 1522's spring break in run to Hannibal and return. It has since operated in several other excursion trains and is available for charter. Please contact the chapter if you are interested in chartering the Silver Larch for your excursion.

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Silver Larch's first trip on the Frisco 1522's break-in run, March, 2002. Photo by George Rees

 

John Kuehl has also shared some photos of Silver Larch in Chicago after it's overhaul. In the July 2003 photo, Silver Larch's California Zephyr letterboard above the windows was actually still blank as in the photo above - the lettering in the photo was added using Photoshop. In the October 2003 photo, the California Zephyr lettering was on the car but obviously not correctly applied. Shortly after that trip, the lettering was correctly reapplied. Click each photo to enlarge.

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July 9, 2003
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October 5, 2003

Our Trip Director Rick Sprung has shared with us some closeup photos of Silver Larch. In the first photo, the car is in the consist of Amtrak's California Zephyr in the Chicago Coach Yard on it's way to California to participate in the recreation of the original California Zephyr. Note fellow CZ sleeping car Silver Quail behind it. In the second photo, Silver Larch is resting on the siding at Ste Genevieve, MO, on a Chapter excursion in November of 2003. Click each photo to enlarge and be patient - these are big files.


Chicago Amtrak Yard
April 2004

Ste. Genevieve
November 2003

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