American Car and Foundry Works
Santa Fe Railroad 1955-1971
Lightweight Baggage Car
Bought by FWRHS:
Matt Lee & Andrew Hershman
Built by the American Car and Foundry works in 1955 for the Santa Fe Railroad, the lightweight baggage car likely saw service on many premier long-distance trains such as the El Capitan and the Super Chief. It became part of Amtrak's Heritage equipment collection and was renumbered 3671 with Amtrak's take over of long-distance passenger travel in 1971. It remained with Amtrak in service until sold to the FWRHS with three other Amtrak Heritage baggage cars in 2019. The car has undergone at least two rebuilds through its 67 years but has always been a baggage car. Today, our rebuild is the first time it will see service with a new purpose.
The project formally began on Saturday, January 8th. After a short rundown of the mission, Matt Lee and Andrew Hershman started tearing up the floor revealing the first big step in the transformation. Removing a layer of steel and two layers of 3/4" plywood proved difficult but was all pulled up by February 19th. After exposing the floor structure and interior substructure, extra work would be necessary to mitigate the effects of 67 years of railroad service. The floor pans that seal the floor from the running gear are all loose, with many holes to be covered. In addition, the channel ribs that the floor attaches to are loose, and the mild steel center sill frame was unattached from rust jacking. The doors were also raised and pinched from rust jacking in the thresholds. We will replace the corrosion with new steel for the aprons and possibly replace the floor ribs for a better-finished floor surface. Battling the floor in the cold has proven to be a struggle, but we think we are sailing better waters ahead with that behind us and spring approaching.
When finished, the car will serve as an open-air car platform where riders can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of riding behind 765, 358, or eventually 543 on any number of excursions. An open, uncluttered floor plan promotes easy access throughout the car. In addition, special events can be held with the ability to serve guests from the onboard counter and bar arrangement. We would also like to be able to provide wheelchair access as well with a lift at one of the doors.
To make this a reality to get to this finish line before we leave town this summer, please get in touch and join us on the rebuild!
Work thus far