Chicago brothers who helped build historic Pullman rail car visit it decades later
CHICAGO - This weekend, the community of Pullman on Chicago's South Side will celebrate the city's rail car history.
But two brothers, closely tied to that history, got a jump on revisiting memories.
At Union Station Thursday morning, Al and Ray Quiroz walked along the rails to see the final passenger car made at the Pullman Standard factory on the South Side. It was a reunion of sorts between a rail car and two brothers who helped make it.
The car is now an Amtrak Superliner, but inside the Quiroz brothers greeted it like an old friend they haven't seen for 40 years, recognizing doors, windows and more that they helped build.
The last time the brothers saw the rail car was in 1981. They'd been working at the Pullman factory since 1959.
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The brothers, now in their 80s, say working on rail cars and living in Pullman has been a large pride of their lives.
"I loved going to work. I enjoyed all the people that were there," said Ray Quiroz.
"I worked at Pullman Standard and the best of my life was working with Pullman, and still living in Pullman to this day," said Al Quiroz.
They'll celebrate all that this weekend at Pullman Railroad Days at the site which is now the Pullman National Monument. The two-day celebration will honor the factory that churned out thousands of rail cars and impacted many facets of life.
While building this final Pullman car and others like it, the brothers left their mark, such as drilling a penny into walls.
"I said to myself, this is a good luck penny for this car," said Al Quiroz.
They also placed a plaque inside, commemorating the final car.
"On this plaque, we had written on the back of it in paper, 'He who removes this plaque without proper authorization shall be damned the rest of his life,'" said Ray Quiroz.
That plaque is gone, so perhaps someone out there is damned, but the Quiroz brothers feel quite blessed to have been along for this historic ride.