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Stylized photo of the Silver Horizon railcar taken by Jeannie Hoeh

Silver Horizon History – By Paul Shirk

“Silver Horizon” CB&Q 375 one of seven rear sleeper-observation cars used on the California Zephyr trains that ran between Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA later use as Amtrak 9250 on Texas Chief from Chicago to Texas and on the Sunset Limited from New Orleans LA to Los Angeles CA – through Phoenix AZ

1948    Silver Horizon built by The Budd Company 85 feet long, 158,900 pounds (almost 80 Tons), made from 18-8 stainless steel

1949    California Zephyr inaugural trip run between San Francisco and Chicago. Jointly run by three railroads; the CB&Q (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy) D&RGW (Denver & Rio Grande Western) and the Western Pacific. Ran this route for twenty one years

1970    Original California Zephyr route ceased operation

1970    to 1985 dates of eyewitness accounts and photographs

1974    Silver Horizon Amtrak 9250 on Texas Chief/ Lone Star from Chicago to San Antonio

1975 to 1978 Silver Horizon Amtrak 9250 on the Amtrak Sunset Limited from New Orleans LA to Los Angeles CA through Phoenix AZ

1985    Silver Horizon car retired by Amtrak

1986 to 1998 The Silver Horizon had several private owners

1999   Acquired by Pinal County AZ for use as the Maricopa AZ Amtrak ticket station Amtrak’s The Texas Eagle carried the car west for restoration

2001    Featured in the movie Pearl Harbor

2001   Dedication of The Silver Horizon as the Maricopa Plaza Amtrak ticket station

2003    Use as an Amtrak station ceased as a larger facility was needed

2011 to 2016 The Maricopa Historical Society held an “open house” several times each year through an agreement with Pinal County

2017   Pinal County transferred ownership to Maricopa Historical Society

2019   The Silver Horizon moved to property donated by John and Mary Lou Smith

The Maricopa Historical Society will create within the Silver Horizon a community focused center with historical displays, dioramas and a research library.

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