ATSF Business Car 89 "William Barstow Strong"
Santa Fe built this "track inspection" car to show off the railroad to potential customers and dignitaries.
In addition to special business trains, the "theatre car" was often tacked onto the end of hotshot intermodal
trains to showcase Santa Fe's efficient movement of priority freight across the system.
This brass model was made in Korea by Samhongsa and imported by Stewart Locomotive Works.
Stewart also made the cast resin theatre-style seating insert. The entire car came nickel-plated simulating
the stainless steel, so I airbrushed the underframe and trucks a flat silver to better match the prototype.
To get operational lights, I replaced the stock trucks with Walthers passsenger car trucks designed to pick up power from the
rails, and installed a simple DCC decoder. I then drilled out the four low-mounted track lights and installed white micro-LEDs.
The upper warning light received a red LED which is controlled separately from the track lights. All lights have MV Lenses.
I also built a false floor to hide the wiring and attach the theatre seat casting. For the tinted window "glass" on the car sides,
I printed a translucent gray onto clear acetate sheet, cut it out and glued it into the window openings. The big rear window, which
wasn't tinted on the prototype as far as I know, has a piece of clear styrene. Finally, I added several seated passenger figures, as
well as standing figures for a black-uniformed car attendant, a brown-suited Santa Fe executive, and a rabid railfan photographer!
Below: The prototype car circa 1991. Photo by Wil Hata.