It spent many years as a gleaming showpiece of American railroad technology, then had a second life linking North-West communities in the early days of the iron ore boom.

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It spent many years as a gleaming showpiece of American railroad technology, then had a second life linking North-West communities in the early days of the iron ore boom.

Now it is starting a third life as the Silver Star Cafe as part of moves to inject new life into Port Hedland.

The Silver Star was originally a "dinner-parlour and observation car" which made its inaugural passenger trip between St Louis and Kansas City in April 1939.

In 1974, to celebrate the first 100 million tonnes of iron ore carried between Newman and Port Hedland by rail, US miner AMAX brought the Silver Star to the Pilbara.

The carriage was renamed the Sundowner and began taking workers, families and sporting teams in iron ore trains on the Newman-Port Hedland route before the towns were joined by bitumen.

Kaye Richardson, a Port Hedland resident since 1966, said the carriage was part of a unique North-West experience.

"You went through country you would not have otherwise seen," she said. "We loved it. We are all just really pleased to see the Silver Star have its life extended."

Through the efforts of BHP Billiton and cultural organisation FORM, the Silver Star has been restored and installed next to the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland.

The cafe will be officially opened today by Premier Colin Barnett.