Silver Iris Restoration

When the Railroad Was King
BY Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer
Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

It’s the holiday season, when Christmas trees suddenly sprout from living room floors, many with model trains circling colorfully wrapped boxes of presents – some perhaps containing a new train set or a coveted railcar.

Whether it’s a Lionel or a Lego, Bachmann or Bowser, kids and adults still love trains.

The folks at Albuquerque’s Wheels Museum are particularly fond of Budd trains this holiday season, after being given a completely restored, 85-foot-long private railcar made in 1952 by the Budd metal manufacturing company of Philadelphia. More

History

Built by the Budd Company in 1952 for the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy’s “American Royal Zephyr.”; it was one of five in the “flower” series which ran on the American Royal zephyr overnight between Chicago and Kansas City. The car was built as a 6 roomette, 4 bedroom, 6 section sleeper, and later operated on Amtrak (with the sections used as crew dormitory space) until 1980. From 1980 through 1984, the car was used by the Association of American Railroads at the FRA/AAR test facility in Pueblo, Colorado. The car is completely self-contained with a galley, showers, and dining/lounge area. Has been in private car service since 1984.

Restoration

The rail car restoration is being done for the Wheels Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Mr. Kurt Olsen. The museum plans to join the Silver Iris and a 1937 Acoma First Class Lounge Car. Upon completion, the train will run excursions between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.