Rio Grande Business Car #101
Built in 1910 by the Pullman Company as coach #895, ordered by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad for service on the Western Pacific Railroad. The car was never a delivered to the Western Pacific and immediately went into service on the Rio Grande. In 1928 the Rio Grande started a modernization program and rebuilt #895 into a business car at their Burnham Shops. The car continued in service until 1964 when Bruce, the porter who cared for the car for 20 years, applied a heavy past wax to the wood, carefully labeled each key, ironed the linen, boarded up the windows and retired. The next month, #101 was sold into private ownership and began a new career in private charter service. The formation of Amtrak in 1971, made running a private car more difficult and the car went into storage. In 1983 the current owner purchased #101, he began a lengthy and detailed restoration and the results are simply breathtaking.
#101 has a traditional business car floor plan, as you walk into the car from the platform end you enter the observation lounge. Paneled in Gum Wood and upholstered in period fabrics, you feel like you are stepping back in time. The observation lounge will seat six passengers in the original lounge seats and sofa, the sofa converts into an upper and lower berth. A hall from the the lounge takes you past the the secretaries room, equipped with a fold down lower berth, corner writing desk, folding sink and closet. The next room down the hall is the general restroom with toilet, sink and tiled shower. A little further down the hall and you come to stateroom "B" with a stationary double bed, dresser, closet and connecting toilet/shower. The master room is next would have been assigned to the highest ranking official on the car. With a lengthwise double bed, dresser and closet the master room was the most luxurious room on #101. Just past the master room through a swinging door is the formal dining room furnished with the original table, chairs, china buffet. Following the service hall from the dining room you will pass by the crew room with a traditional upper & lower berth and a folding wash basin. An interesting note about the crew room, when the car was rebuilt, the Burnham shop forces salvaged parts from much older cars. The upper berth has inlay work that would have been common in early 1900 era cars and the lower berth has arm rests from the same era. The original kitchen in the car has been removed and a full width kitchen has replaced it. The new kitchen has every amenity of home including a dishwasher, commercial refrigerator with ice maker, gas/electric range with convection oven, microwave and tons of storage and food prep space.
No detail was overlooked during the restoration process! Each room was taken down to the steel beams, all rusted steel was replaced and the car was insulated with spray foam insulation in the roof and sides. All floors were repaired and even electric heat tape was installed in the floor of the bedrooms to ensure a warm place for your feet in the morning. The electrical system is both a 12v & 36v DC and 110v/220v & 480v (3 phase) AC systems, all lighting, fans, etc operate off a set of 32v batteries under the car which are charged by a solid state charging system powered from either the generator or commercial power. There are also auxiliary 220v and 110v inverter systems on the car for misc lighting, outlets, etc. Additional mechanical details include: 25 KW Diesel generator, electric & hot water (from generator) floor heat, CS couplers, great body and roof, rebuilt draft gear pockets, oil bearings (APEE bearing adapters included with car), cast pedestal trucks from an Army hospital car (spare set of trucks goes with car), comp shoes, good wheels, water pump water system, hot water heater under car, fresh water tanks (belly & overhead), 140 gal fuel tank, commercial air conditioning system, gray water processing tank (custom built) and D-22 air brake valves.