The "Jane Marie" started life as Rock Island 330 "Des Moines" on the Minneapolis to Houston Twin Star Rocket. It was built as a 68-seat long distance coach, to plan number 7522, on order number 6764. One of the interesting points about this car is that the plan called for this type of car to have two vestibules and four toilets. This type plan was referred to as a Jim Crow car, although this car was not equipped with the divider. I have been told that the car saw service on most of the Rocket trains and later on the Golden State. The car suffered from "Pullman disease" and in 1962 was sent to the Rock Island shop in Chicago for refitting. It emerged with a sheet stainless steel exterior, new upholstery and no name. The 330 continued to run in general service and was used on the Southern 4501 trip out of Chicago in 1973. The car was still on the roster when the Rock Island ceased operations. From 1979 on, its travels become sketchy. In 1981 the car was at 51st St. in Chicago. In 1987 it was in Oklahoma City and in 1988 it was in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
In a R.I.T.S. newsletter in late 1988 there was a short note about some Rock Island passenger cars on a siding that were destined for S.W. Rail. I called and asked what the story was on the cars. To make it short, they were headed for scrap and all S.W. wanted was the trucks for sale to the Mexican Railroad. I offered to purchase one of the cars and my offer was accepted. Unfortunately, both the 347 and 349 had major problems that made them unable to be restored to service. This led to my purchase of the 330. It was still in Guthrie and had some problems. The local chapter of the N.R.H.S. helped me find someone to resolve the issues. On February 14, 1989, the Santa Fe picked up the car and started it westward. It arrived in Phoenix on February 27, 1989, and the Southern Pacific delivered it to the Arizona Railway Museum siding on March 1, 1989.
We spent two years dismantling the interior of the car and replacing bad steel. During 10 years of un-attended storage most of the windows had been broken, seats were shredded and serious corrosion had started. By February of 1991 the exterior looked really good, and with all the bad steel replaced, we had walls and a floor installed. This is when we took our first trip. Phoenix was re-dedicating Union Station and wanted to have some vintage rail equipment as well as the current Amtrak passenger cars on hand. The museum chose to send the Jane Marie and Santa Fe coach 2870. We had over 11,000 people go through the car in two days. It was configured with some folding chairs and a 27-inch television showing railroad videos. We tried to wear out the green frog Rock Island tape, as the car is shown on the tape. The next two years were spent putting in the interior and rebuilding the trucks to Amtrak 40-year standards. Once this was accomplished and blessed by Amtrak we journeyed to Sacramento in October of 1993 for the private car owners convention. In 1994 we added the head end power gear and are now 100% compliant with Amtrak requirements. We have taken the car to Alberta and British Columbia, to most of the western United States and crossed the Mississippi in 1996 on a trip to New Orleans.
The Jane Marie is a throw-back to the true family private car, and is configured with a large lounge, 2 master bedrooms, a dining room seating eight, and full service galley. With two toilets with holding tanks, a shower, entertainment center, and 35kw diesel generator, the car is fully self contained. I did not change the exterior configuration of the car, so when you see it in a consist, it looks like it did when in service for the Rock Island. It still proudly carries the Rock Island name on the letter board. Almost all of the furnishings are authentic railroad, and many are from Rock Island cars that were scrapped. The china and silver are authentic Rock Island. The curtains in the kitchen and bathroom are from the fabric used in coaches with the Rock Island logo. It has taken many years of collecting and I am sure many of those reading this sold me something Rock Island that has found a place on the car.
I am always looking for photographs of the car. I have no photos of it with the fluting, and very few in-service shots. I also like to get photos of the Jane Marie in its current state. Very seldom is the car on the road without me on board, so I do not get many opportunities to take photos. If you see me on the road, stop by and identify yourself as a R.I.T.S. member and I will gladly give you a tour.
Text and Photographs supplied by Bart Barton, owner of JANE MARIE.
Scanning and page composition by Brian Schmidt.