The Silver Maple was ordered by the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad in February of 1947 as one of a series of six cars. These cars were built by the Budd Company of Red Lion, Pennsylvania. The cars were Budd built cars but were built to Pullman plan number 9507. There were six cars in lot number 9639-019. Two cars were built for the Burlington, two were built for the Denver Rio Grande & Western, and two were built for the Western Pacific. This lot of cars was originally built as 16 section sleeping cars for use on the California Zephyr.
The Silver Maple was assigned the car number of 400 as well as its name when it was built. This was somewhat unusual in that current practice at the time was that a car either had a name or a number but rarely both. This car ran mostly on the California Zephyr as a sleeping car but was rebuilt into a 48 seat coach by the CB&Q in 1963. At this time the CB&Q also assigned the car the new number of 4742 and dropped the Silver Maple name.
The 4742 was transferred to Amtrak in 1971. At that time the car was again renumbered as Amtrak number 4805. Amtrak based the car out of its former Burlington Northern 14th Street Coach Yard in Chicago. The car saw service on many trains during its service with Amtrak. Some of these trains were; Amtrak trains 302 & 303, the Abraham Lincoln and The Prairie State, Trains 7 & 8 The Empire Builder, and Trains 5 & 6, the San Francisco Zephyr.
During the mid 1980s Amtrak began converting its heritage cars from conventional battery and DC voltage electrical systems to h.e.p. (head end power) systems. It was at this time that the 4805 was again renumbered to 4741 and the name Silver Maple reapplied to the car. The car was declared surplus by Amtrak in the 1990’s and sold. Today the car is used on our excursion train at the museum.
Car History By: Jeff Murphree