In 1950 and 1954, the Southern Pacific received orders of 44-seat chair cars, known as "leg-rest coaches" for their comfortable seats with plenty of legroom, from Budd for their Daylight passenger service. These cars a similar window pattern to the many 44-seat coaches owned by the Union Pacific and other railroads, with large restroom lounges at either end of the car.
As part of Amtrak's Heritage program, 23 of these coaches were rebuilt with head-end power. They normally served on long-distance trains along with similar coaches from the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe before being displaced by newer Amfleet II coaches. Since they were no longer needed, most were rebuilt into 1700-series express baggage cars and are still distinguishable by their large step traps and the placement of their roof vents. One car, named Golden Sand, survives as a luxury charter coach, having been refurbished by a private agency.
As with my previous model of an ex-UP chair car, I began this project with a corrugated-side coach from Rivarossi. A Walthers model could be used, but with this type of conversion I prefer to work with a solid one-piece body shell. The important difference from my older model, however, was that for this car I used custom laser-cut acrylic window strips to model the proper configuration. By masking the scribed windows prior to assembling and painting the cars, I would end up with flush and realisic window glazing upon completion. Therefore, most of the major work on this project was centered around removing the molded window strip and filing the cut edges for a tight fit with the new window panel. Other changes included filing off the roof vents and replacing them with parts from Train Station Products to model the distinctive SP arrangement, and also superdetailing the car with wire grab irons and other parts to add realism. Finally, I built a new floor from styrene before adding Walthers underbody components and trucks. The car has a simple interior made using seat castings from Precision Scale Company.
My current painting technique for stainless steel passenger cars is to first airbrush them with a smooth coat of Floquil Old Silver. An initial application of primer may be necessary to ensure even coverage if sanding or filing work has been done on the car. Next, I applied the decals, which are a combination of Microscale and custom-printed lettering. After carefully trimming the stripes to fit between the windows, I oversprayed the car with Microscale's Micro Satin to seal the decals and leave the car with a slight metallic shine. I painted the underbody black and gave it a light coat of dirt and grime for weathering. After all this was done, I finally peeled the masking from the windows and my latest Heritage car was ready to be added to the fleet!
Click photos to enlarge
|Left side view of the car.||7/21/05|
|Right side view of the car.||7/21/05|
|Blind end of the car, showing its distinctive round porthole window.||7/21/05|
|Vestibule end of the car, with the interior bulkhead visible inside.||7/21/05|
|The simple coach interior for the car.||7/21/05|
|Underbody view, showing added parts and trucks.||7/21/05|
|Side view of the car amongst two other types of Heritage coaches.||9/20/05|
|Another view of the car at Red Rocks on the NEB&W club layout.||9/20/05|