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Steam & Excursion > Riding aboard the Silver Fleet


Date: 03/31/20 20:14
Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: burlingtonjohn

It is said all good things must come to an end and three years ago today, it did for me. My trip aboard Silver Lariat, Silver Rapids and Silver Solarium came to an end as Amtrak #6 backed into Chicago Union Station.  I was most likely the last person to leave Silver Rapids, as I just didn’t want to go. 
 
This was the most epic railfan trip I’ve ever been on, bar none. I’ve ridden trains all around the world. Had cab rides in some of today’s better known steam locomotives. Make regular trips to the Colorado Narrow Gauge.  Even got to sit at the control of a BN GP35 and later an Oakway SD60 (both times under the watchful eyes of the engineer, of course).  Ridden cross country on Amtrak. All good. But to ride in the dome of an honest by-God CB&Q Budd Dome on Burlington Rails was always a dream of mine (your mileage may vary of course).  The service was out of this world. Our Chief Steward William set the bar high and regularly exceeded it. The food was great. Everything was worth writing home about.
 
I walked down the platform and stopped.  A common saying amongst car lovers is that if you park your car and walk away without looking back, you are driving the wrong car. I’d seen Silver Solarium countless times and had always said “someday”.  I looked back.  An Amtrak red cap asked if I needed assistance.  Nope, I just wanted a little more time. Truth be told, I didn’t want to leave.  I didn’t want it to be over.  Riding back to Quincy that night in a Horizon coach just wasn’t the same. Still isn’t.
 
Even though the cars have since been sold to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic, there will never be another trip like this, at least for me.

Regards,
Burlington John
 




Date: 03/31/20 20:37
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: DTrainshooter

I know how you feel...they were the best !



Date: 03/31/20 21:00
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: xcsrm

The "Silver LADY" and without a doubt the word "Lady" says it all.  She was the FINEST !  Too bad we let her slip away.  Human nature is extremely hard to understand, and again we've all made a big mistake letting THAT lady go.



Date: 03/31/20 21:19
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: SilverView

John will recall that he and I had the privilege of riding those premium California Zephyr cars together from Los Angeles to Oakland. Though the ride along the Pacific Coast was not part of the Original CZ, it was quite a treat to be in a CALIFORNIA Zephyr car along that magnificent scenic line. I echo how wonderful the service was provided by the staff, especially by William. John's photo reminds me of my days working for the Burlington Route from 1965-1969, which I have mentioned a few times on this site. Each workday I would reconfirm coach passengers' reservation slips before they boarded the CZ. Five minutes before CZ's departure I would stand near the observation car and catch those last minute passengers rushing to make the train. There would be a few fleeting moments for me to admire the long, silver, shimmering, stainless steel Budd cars. Then, silently, the CZ would begin to move and float down the Chicago Union Station track to begin it's scenic journey via Denver, through the Colorado Rockies and Feather River Canyon to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Those were brief seconds of unbridled pride that I was a part of one of the best passenger train railroads, The Burlington Route. I should also recognize the Rio Grande and Western Pacific for their part in collaborating to make the CZ experience possible. Thanks John for rekindling those treasured moments with your photo.
Silver View Mike



Date: 03/31/20 21:51
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: MojaveBill

Sure beat all the look-a-like crap these days, especially those Amfleet tubes...

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 04/01/20 11:36
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: Cumbresfan

John,

I rode with them during the 2009 trip of SP 4449 from Portland to Minneapolis. Originally I was a day rider but things got complex when we had to leave Havre early before any taxi service was available. I spent the rest of the trip in one of the rooms in the Silver Rapids. East of Havre, their cars were mostly empty and I went to the dome on the Solarium to do some work on my portable computer. For most of that time, I was completely alone up there as we traveled across the prairie. When we arrived Minneapolis I thanked them for the trip and said I was going to catch Amtrak to Chicago. They said they were going there and I was welcome to remain with them at no charge. Bert and Al are the best and they and their crew gave wonderful memories to the many who traveled with them.

https://www.4449.com/excursions/09trainfest/index.html



Date: 04/01/20 17:15
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: jeffgeldner

Wonderful trip and memories! I rode in the opposite direction from the Twin Cities to Portland with a roomette in Silver Rapids, enjoying meals in Sliver Lariat, drinks as well as the dome in Sliver Solarium as well as ex-PRR Colonial Crafts. And, of course, not to forget riding in the open vestibule. I like to reflect on travel adventures of the past- but do hope for our future.

Jeff Geldner
​Sequoia National Park (in "normal" times) presently (hopefully temporarily) relocated to Carlsbad, CA



Date: 04/02/20 20:01
Re: Riding aboard the Silver Fleet
Author: Abqfoamer

Rode those Budd Beauties with Cumbres Fan a few years ago,  LAUPT to Porland behind the Starlight. Wonderful trip. Terrific food, service. Best railtrip of my life, even though I slept on a coach seat in the bar car !      



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/02/20 20:04 by Abqfoamer.



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