Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Silver Star Pictured, December 27, 1971

For some reason I decided on December 27, 1971 to photograph each of the passenger cars on Amtrak's Train 81, The Silver Star, at Broad Street Station, Richmond, VA.  Amtrak was just seven months old and had only old, hand-me-down rolling stock and diesels to work with.

Broad Street is Richmond's main east west arterial and the Station is west of the business district.  During my train watching at Broad Steeet Station (1968 - 1972) all trains ran west to east through the Station and it served only the Seaboard Coastline (SCL) and the Richmond, Fredricksburg, and Potomac (RF&P) passenger trains running through town between Washington, DC and the south.  The SCL (ex-ACL and ex-SAL) and the RF&P tracks met west of the station and from that junction all trains, northbound and southbound, headed east to the station, entered the station's loop tracks, made their station stop pointing east, then looped back west to the RF&P/SCL junction.

The lead diesel that day was SCL E8A 589 assisted by a SCL B-unit and an RF&P A-unit followed by two baggage cars and nine passenger cars.  The first three pictures are of the train arriving via the station's loop. 

In this first picture the rear cars of the train (behind the leafless trees) are moving east but the diesels have entered the loop and are momentarily heading south. 

In the third picture the lead diesel is heading east again into the station proper.  Essentially the train made a sharp "S" curve.

Here the train has made its station stop and has looped back heading west toward the RF&P/SCL junction.

And here are the passenger cars.

RF&P 855 Coach, SCL West Palm Beach Sleeper, and SCL Cumberland County Sleeper

 SCL 5415 Coach, SCL 5912 Dinner, and SP 2363 Coach

UP 5475 Coach, PC 1533 Coach, and PC 1510 Coach

Yes I'm glad I took the time to photograph each passenger car.  Hope you enjoyed looking.

Marty Bernard


  1. Broad Street Station was the perfect location to get perpendicular to the cars while they were moving at slow speed with good sun. Why didn't I take more? I lived 15 miles away for four years while teaching at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

  2. Interesting: the SP coach in UP colors. Fine photos!