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Home > Archives > Carman-trimmer installing new seats, 1980.

Carman-trimmer installing new seats, 1980.

Black and white photograph from the August 1980 issue of Amtrak NEWS.

Carman-trimmer installing new seats, 1980.

On April 1, 1975, Amtrak purchased the Beech Grove, Ind., shops from the Penn Central Transportation Company. The need for a major repair facility that could accommodate all types of existing equipment—and the Amfleet and Superliner cars on order—was acute, and Amtrak immediately embarked on a five year, $22 million improvement plan to modernize the facility. In the late 1970s, Amtrak began a program to convert older cars purchased from the predecessor railroads from steam-power to electric head-end power (HEP).

Although cars undergoing conversion were fumigated and completely stripped on the interior and exterior, "special features that individualize certain cars...[were] retained to remind passengers of the cars' rich heritage." In this image, carman-trimmer David Patton completes one of the last tasks in the conversion process as he installs newly-upholstered seats in a coach. In a nod to the car's Santa Fe Railway lineage, wall panels featuring Mimbreño-style birds were put back in place.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak.