Eagle Scout candidate Austin Long coordinated a group of volunteers to clean the exterior and revamp the interior of the California Zephyr Silver Horizon at the Maricopa Amtrak station.
The project was put together as Long’s Eagle Scout project, and he coordinated the volunteers and materials needed to complete the cleaning effort. Long brought in dozens of volunteers to help clean the Zephyr’s exterior, fix the interior, and clean it all up so it’s ready for tours when the weather cools down.
“The California Zephyr Silver Horizon is a train that ran from Los Angeles to Chicago around the late 1900s,” Long said. “It’s pretty cool. I got to learn about its history during this project. We’re power washing the outside and working on the inside.”
According to Maricopa Historical Society President Brent Murphree, Austin Long was “very well organized” with his crew during the Zephyr cleanup. The Historical Society assisted with the cleanup by helping the other volunteers clean and fix the interior.
“We’ll be fixing the frame, replacing some screws and cleaning it because it’s really dirty,” Long said. “We’re power washing the outside because the train was in a movie call ‘Pearl Harbor’ and the move makers painted it. It doesn’t look very good, so we’re going to have that paint removed.”
One major issue for the Zephyr is that it typically doesn’t get cleaned or fixed in the summer since it is so hot. According to Murphree, the platform is “like a microwave” and they just can’t bring visitors through because the train car is scorching. So the cleanup was very helpful since this is the time they get the car ready for future tours.
Long’s project helped take years of wear and tear off of the Zephyr. The train car won’t be back on the tracks any time soon, but the face lift will help the tourist attraction educate visitors on its deep history for years to come.
See Ryan Atwood’s video of the event: