Thursday, December 31, 2020

Modeling Foreign Sleepers on the SP

With the end of 2020, let's turn the 'Way-Back' Machine to December 31, 1948, 72 years ago tonight.

Happy New Years... Hello 1949!

World War II has been over for 3 years.  Most of the 'boys' are home now, the economy is booming, modern diesel rail locomotives are arriving every month, displacing the venerable steam engine.  Nearly everyone in the USA is going to spend tonight celebrating the old year leaving and the new year of 1949 arriving.

Last year's excursion lead by SP 4444 as Second 2 ran east out of Los Angeles to Araz Jct and back via the SD&AE to Los Angeles. December 27-28, 1947 - James Salkeld collection

The Korean War was still a year and a half away.  However, in the passenger car construction landscape of North America, a huge war had raged in the courts since 1945.  The battle lines were drawn between the defending Pullman Car Company and the other major car builders (such as American Car & Foundry) in the United States using the anti-trust laws to claim that the Pullman Car Company had a monopoly on both the construction of sleeping cars, the ownership, and even the operations of such cars which were leased to the railroads.  Even the car type even named "Pullman" showed the market dominance which the Pullman Car Company enjoyed!

December 31, 1948 that all changed.  Peace was established... Pullman had lost, AC&F was victorious and the railroads of the United States would be changed.  Literally overnight the Pullman Car Company sold its entire fleet of passenger cars they owned and operated to the railroads by court order.  As dawn rose on the first day of 1949, a new Pullman company took over the operation of most of Pullman's fleet of cars.  This new company was owned by the railroads, not Pullman Car Company.  This silent coupe was to go unnoticed by the vast majority of the traveling public for years to come.  American Car & Foundry, the Budd Company, along with several other car builders would now be free to compete for the railroad's business in passenger car market.  Southern Pacific's new 1950 Sunset Limited would be wholly built by Budd with their patented stainless-steel body construction method. AC&F would fight for some contracts as well for additional contracts as well.

Pullman History

Second 60, a "Doctor's Special" heads east out of Caliente with an number of nicer "Pullman Pool" extra cars. LMRC operating session, circa 1952.

Let's rewind a bit and see what lead to this change.  From the early years, the Pullman Company specially painted their cars for the various railroad's signature flagship trains and their special schemes.  However, 1945 an anti-trust court case was started, the ruling of which was put into practice on Jan 1, 1949.   This ruling was that the Pullman Company could either continue building railroad cars, or it could continue operating the sleeping (and parlor car) services to the railroads.  The Pullman Company chose to continue building railroad cars (both freight and passenger types) and the car operations department would be sold off to the railroads which it served in the proportions of the cars assigned in 1945.  A new Pullman Pool company would be formed by the railroads which now purchased the fleet of cars which the Pullman Company had to unload due to the ruling.  This new Pool would be set up to operate the fleet of cars.  The employees of the Pullman Company associated with the operational aspects were also transferred to the new Pool company.  The traveling public on January 1, 1949 was none the wiser to the change in ownership of the equipment they were riding and the employer of the crews that were serving them on the trains across America.

Pullman Co. "Coronado", a 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

Over the next year, many of the railroad replaced the "PULLMAN" paintwork on the letterboards of the passenger cars with their own railroad names.  Often "PULLMAN" was painted just inboard of the vestibule doors to show what service the car was in.  A few railroads chose to not repaint the letterboards of the cars (Union Pacific, for example), which eventually caused some issues with the Pool for cars that were owned by the railroads.  Many railroads chose to enter a program in which their fleet of newly purchased second hand sleeping cars were leased back to the Pullman "Pool" to operate.  In many cases this included their whole roster. 

Southern Pacific's streamlined 'lightweight' Pullman cars assigned to the "Lark" were some of the first cars repainted with "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" letterboards.

In the book Pullman Panorama Vol.1, the car rosters are shown with the note "Sold to (Railroad Name Here), LTP" next to the car names and 12/48, denoting the month the car was sold to that railroad, and then returned into the Pullman Pool noted with the "LTP" (Lease to Pullman).

As the Pullman fleet was split to the railroads, the actual number of cars were far in excess of the railroads' actual needs, the Pullman 'Pool' at the time of the breakup reaching nearly 9,000 cars!  This was due to the Pullman Company owning a fleet which included extra cars which were provided during shopping of regular cars, wreck damaged cars, seasonal traffic rushes, extra charter trips, military movements, etc.  The new railroad-owned Pullman Pool of 1949 was expected to provide the same flexibility and coverage in service.  With most of the railroads leasing their excess cars back, this generally was able to be provided.  It was a much more colorful affair as the various railroads were painting their premier cars into their own schemes.  Even until the early 1960s some heavyweight sleepers still were wearing their 1949 "Pullman" green or two-tone gray schemes in Governemtal storage, until the day they went to the scrapper.

Many photos of SP HW Pullmans after about 1956 were actually taken of the cars in the government's strategic storage yards around the country which were supposed to be available and able to be put back into service to move the US Military in case of national emergency or rapid deployment.  Interestingly, 1966, the year that the government released the cars from storage, and most went to scrap between 1961 and 1966... was about the same time that the C-141 Starlifter heavy transport aircraft entered the USAF Airlift Command's fleet, first built in 1963.  Why have a fleet of stored Pullman sleepers around when you can use the new airplanes that the military just bought and the civilian airliners (Boeing 707 from 1957) instead?

On with the Models!

A couple of quick notes on the photos of the models, many of these cars are waiting for replacement window shades at this time.  Jeff Cauthen and several others have pointed out that I really should have proper darker gray window shades, that Pullman didn't use 'buff' or 'white' window shades on their HW cars.  Fair point, I've been looking into getting either paint sample cards for the weirder foreign roads that did use complimenting colors with their schemes or construction paper of suitable colors for the Pullman standard shades.  Also note that many of these models don't even have shades yet, which will be installed before the cars re-enter service.  I'm sure I'll post some updates when I get around to installing the new shades!

SP's Fleet

Pullman Company "Lake Cary" 10-1-2 Pullman green lease scheme - Walthers model

The SP was the third largest owner of Pullman sleeping cars in the country in 1949.  The 'streamlined' Pullmans were quickly repainted to show "SOUTHERN PACIFIC" on their letterboards to match the SP's other equipment repainted after June 1946.  These early repaints included lightweight cars assigned to the Lark, City of San FranciscoOverland, Cascade, and Golden State.  The heavyweight cars assigned to regular service on SP's trains, such as the Owl, Beaver, Californian, Argonaut, Coaster/Starlight, West Coast also had the cars repainted into SP Dark Olive Green and their letterboards fairly quickly repainted to Southern Pacific.  

SP "Juana" an example of a 12-1 repainted for Southern Pacific after January 1, 1949. - Walthers model

I custom repainted the "Juana" from a Walthers model, with Star Brand SP/UP Dark Olive Green and ThinFilm-160 SP HW delux lettering decals.  I have a total of three 12-1s and a couple other HWs to do this repaint and decal on to finish up the sleeper section of my 1947-1953 era Owl, Nos 57/58.  PC "Coronado" shown in the section above, is typical of a 12-1 in Pullman Green and Gold-leaf lettering before the repainting after January 1949.

SP 9162, one of the SP's 6-6-4s painted for Overland and CoSF service. - Walthers model with SP red decals.

Some SP cars assigned to the Overland pool (CoSF and Overland) were painted in the "UP Armour Yellow" scheme for that service.  This included a number of streamlined sleepers and several SP heavyweight sleepers as well.

Pullman Lease Cars on the SP

My Pullman modeling over the years has grown from some Rivarossi HW 12-1s in the 1990s to include some of the new Walthers plastic HW Pullmans around 2003 when they were released.  I could only afford three at the time from the local hobby shop, as I was a college student.

By the late 1990s, I was kitbashing some of the Rivarossi HW cars into other window arrangements with New England Rail Services' conversion parts.  I was well on my way to making a 10-1-1 and a 6-3.  The 6-3 was a rather painfun conversion with replacing all the windows down large portions of the carsides.  I was determined that I wouldn't get another 12-1 with my limited budget.  I should instead aim for other floorplans.  The three following cars were those that I picked up way back around 2003.

One of the club members, who had a number of references in the early 2000s, which was a rare thing before the SPHTS published their five volumes of SP Passenger Car books, looked up suitable car names for these first three Walthers cars.

Pullman Pool/Company "Glen Arch" (6-3)

Room-side of Pullman Company (Pool) "Glen Arch" in lease paint. - Walthers model

The top of the luxury heavyweight 1920s Pullman cars were the 6 Compartment, 3 Drawing Room cars (6-3).  These were all private room cars and were chartered for trips by the highest paying clients.  The 'aisle-side' as it was known had no rooms, but only single windows and a safety bar (need to install that!).  The room-side of the car was often switched at the originating station on regular runs to face whatever scenic interest there were along the way, the river, pretty views, etc.

Aisle-side of PC "Glen Arch" in lease paint. - Walthers model

My model of "Glen Arch" is representing one of the 6-3s that were not repainted immediately by SP when it was purchased in the 'breakup' of the Pullman Company in 1948, and continued to operate in Pullman Lease service off of SP rails for a number of years.  I chose the "Glen Arch" name, because this car did operate regularly on the SP's heavyweight Lark in the 1930s before the train was streamlined in 1941.

Pullman Pool/Company "Lake Cary" (10-1-2)

Pullman Company "Lake Cary" 10-1-2 Pullman green lease scheme - Walthers model

The name "Lake Cary" was chosen as it was a car that we believed in 2003 to have not been repainted to SP letterboard when it was photographed late in its life, which suggests that it never was repainted into the SP Dark Olive Green scheme, so the Walthers model would work from the 1940s all the way through the 1950s.  As the Tehachapi Pass didn't really have a regular assignment for a 10-1-2 on the Southern Pacific, my model of "Lake Cary" has usually bounced around in the extra pool and MAIN train service.

Pullman Pool/Company "William Osler" (14-Section)

Pullman Company "William Osler" 14-Section - Walthers model

The name "William Osler" was chosen as it was a car that lasted into 1966 (as I recall), which was owned by SP, but not repainted into the SP Dark Olive Green, and continued to wear the PULLMAN letterboard into government storage after 1956.

Operationally, if I want to model one of the earlier SP "Owl" (Nos.57/58) consists around 1947, often a 14-Section car was shown in the consist.  If I want to model one of the later uses of the 14-Section car, not in Tourist service, then it will probably be seen in lower fare charter trips, MAIN trains, or protection service as a dormitory car, etc. 

At first I thought the name was really odd, but at least it's memorable.  It's been fun working up the train consists for operations at LMRC over the years and reading off the train consists before the sessions, and having the other person receiving the dictation recognize the car names as they were read off.  It shows both that the cars that have a history of service at the club and it is very cool when a member of the operations crew doesn't need to be told what car type it is.  "William Osler... That's a 14-Section car... next?"

This ends the first group of three Walthers Pullman cars I picked up in 2003.

Pullman Pool/Company Rock Ridge (8-1-2)

Walther's standard Pullman green scheme named into the Rock Island's 'Rock' series. - Walthers model 

A few years ago Walthers released another run of their Pullman green and western two-tone gray cars.  These work well for the pre-1948 Pullman owned scheme cars, and the Pullman Pool cars for post-1948 scheme which didn't get repainted into the various railroads standard schemes.

Pullman Pool/Company Coronado (12-1)

PC "Coronado" 12-1 - Walthers model

I also realized that I'd missed out on getting a 12-1 Pullman in the early 2000s when I picked up the models that became the "Lake Cary" (10-1-2), "Glen Arch" (6-3), and "William Osler" (14-Section) cars in Pullman lettering.  The "Rock Ridge" and "Coronado" (12-1) now completes my "collection" of Pullman lease cars to represent that pool.

Not that we need to model one of every car accommodation type, but it's nice to be able to have some options when I wanted to put together the a demo consist for my blog on the SP's Shasta with a Pullman 10-1-2 for example and my regular Tehachapi Division modeling doesn't call for an SP train with a 10-1-2, well the "Lake Cary" fills the bill.

Pulman Tourist Cars

One of my interests as my Walthers fleet of Pullmans expanded was in the area of modeling MAIN trains, military movements (both troops and cargo).  Many of my older Rivarossi models were getting a bit long of tooth, and I decided it was about time to repaint them into a scheme that wouldn't operate with my 'nicer' cars.  I elected to repaint them into Pullman Lease scheme (green) and instead of car names, I would use the Pullman Panorama Vol 1 data and the Micro Scale UP Tourist Car decal sets to make five 13-Section Tourist Cars.

Tourist-sleepers date back to at least the 1920s, when low-fare sleeper space was sold in all-section cars.  

PC "William Osler" a 14-Section sleeper which was leased back to Pullman by SP. - Walthers model

In the 1930s, these cars were further separated from the regular "Pool" by replacing their names with simply a "Tourist number".  Pullman didn't seem to have hard and fast rules about which numbers the Tourist cars were assigned when they lost their names, but it seems the 3100-series and some 3200-series were 14-section cars.

The newer Tourist cars I've built using the Walthers 14-Section Pullman cars have turned out well being decalled as Tourist Cars, including the conversion of at least one to a 16-Section Tourist Car.

PC Tourist 1148, 2340. etc (13-Section)

PC TC 1148, Rivarossi model with Rivarossi trucks still.

My reworked Rivarossi 12-1s became 13-section Tourist Sleepers without any additional exterior modifications.  The prototypes had their Drawing Room annexes closed off/locked, converting the cars into effectively 13-Section cars, which is what they were reclassified as.

PC TC 2340, Rivarossi model with 2000-era IHC HW trucks.

These older models of mine haven't been upgraded in my most recent round of mechanical upgrades.  Many still have Rivarossi, IHC, etc trucks and American Limited diaphragms.

PC Tourist 3132 (14-Section)

Pullman Company Tourist Car 3132 assigned and lettered for "The Challenger" SP/UP/CNW 'Overland route' train. - Walthers model

One of my favorite cars that I refinished is this ex-Santa Fe Walthers 14-Section sleeper.  It has been repainted and decalled to represent one of the hundreds of section-sleepers, both 14 and 16-section cars.

TC 3132 was assigned to the SP/UP "The Challenger" service as a tourist car, thus it received the train logo name painted on the center of the carside and the Tourist reporting marks over the trucks.  I modeled this car from a photo in the SPHTS SP Passenger Car Vol.2 Pullman & Dormitory Cars book.  

This car is often assigned to MAIN military service, State/National Guard training movements, low-fare charter groups (Boy Scouts, college ski trips, college trips, etc) or protection dormitory service on trains like the Owl or West Coast when their regular dormitory cars are not available.  I have converted two more of these Walthers 14-Section cars to TC service, but with less colorful paint schemes with the simple "TOURIST" and number below centered on the carside.

PC TC 4242 (16-Section)

Pullman Pool "TOURIST 4242" - Kitbashed Walthers HW Pullman

Here's one of my kitbashed Walthers 16-Section Tourist cars from a 14-Section car, like the TC 3132 above.  The TC 4242 was recorded as part of the consist of the Owl in 1947 when it derailed at Lerdo, California.  During that time two 16-Section TC's were running in the Owl regularly with military personnel returning from overseas.  The other TC in the consist that was the 4246, as sister Plan 2412T & 2412 U sleeper.  These cars had doubled aisle windows, seen at the right end of the above photo.

I plan to finish the last two 16-Section models I have at some point.  These 16-section cars make great cars for low-fare charters, MAIN trains, and regular assignments for modeling consists in the 1945-1948 era, and the Korean War.

Foreign Cars on the SP

Despite the size of the SP's fleet, foreign cars always were running somewhere on the SP system.  No matter if this was because of a regular operational agreement, such as the Overland route with the UP-inspired scheme or the Golden State Limited running with Rock Island equipment.  Sometimes the foreign Pullman Pooled cars were carrying smaller charter groups, extra passenger traveling seasonally, or replacing regular SP cars, the foreign cars were there.  Let's look at a few which I've picked up over the years.

The days of Pullman's dark green sleeping cars interchanging across the country, with specialized schemes for the premier trains of certain railroads were over.  The railroads were now free to repaint the Pullman cars into their colorful standard schemes, and those cars in lease service with the Pullman Pool, were now able to freely roam the rails of North American where ever the ticket sales took them.

PRR Arona (12-1)

PRR "Arona" an extremely common HW 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

One of the two largest Pullman sleeper car owners after 1949, the PRR owned hundreds of the 12-1 arrangement sleepers.  These budget floorplan cars allowed 24 passengers in upper or lower berths and up to three passengers, often families or businessmen wanting more private space to spread out in during the trips in the single 'drawing room'.  The 'drawing room' came complete with couch, bed and chair, plus its own toilet annex!

Unfortunately, I was ever only able to snag one of these Walthers models, as they've been in high demand.  I finally picked the Arona up off Ebay.  As with most of my passenger car models, I choose a name which is not commonly available on the supplied decal sheet.

NYC Dover (12-1)

NYC "Dover" another extremely common HW 12-1 sleeper - Walthers model

Not being able to get any other PRR cars, I settled for getting the competition's 12-1.  NYC was the other largest owner of Pullman sleeping cars in 1949, the SP was the third largest!  This is a Walthers model, which has had the name decal applied.  I still need to put in the gray window shades and do some finishing work on the car.

Both of these NYC cars are painted in the NYC and Pullmans "Eastern Two-Tone Gray" scheme, which has the light and dark shades of gray reversed from the "Western Two-Tone Gray" scheme, which the SP, UP, and ATSF used starting around 1941.

NYC Park Rapid (14-Section)

NYC "Park Rapid" (14-Section) - Walthers model

The NYC placed most of their 14-section cars of this group into the "Park" series.  This model is often operated on charter group trips or in MAIN military movements as the whole car is upper and lower section berthing.  The only HW car floorplan with tighter space in the two bathrooms/dressing rooms at the ends of the car are the 16-section sleepers.

UP Lake Crystal (10-1-2)

The Union Pacific used a version of the Pullmans' Western Two-Tone Gray since 1947 as their standard scheme, and on certain secondary trains after 1942.  In March 1952, a new scheme, based on the 1937 City-series of trains Armour Yellow and Harbor Mist Gray would begin being applied to the UP's fleet of passenger cars.

UP "Lake Crystal" (10-1-2) wearing the standard UP Armour Yellow scheme of 1952. - Walthers model

The UP "Lake Crystal" is a 10 section, 1 drawing room, 2 compartment sleeper.  The UP had a number of these cars, and were a very common arrangement of rooms allowing three rates.  The 10-1-2s often were placed in the "Lake"-series to help ticket agents recognize what floor plan the cars had.  I did look up a list of Named UP HW Sleepers on-line of the UP's yellow-painted 10-1-2 Pullmans to choose the name for my "Lake Crystal."

UtahRails UP Paint Schemes webpage also has some interesting reading.

The SP had the largest number of 10-1-2s of the railroads after the breakup of the Pullman Company operations, but it is fair to represent these cars from other railroads as well.  The UP being one of the Overland Route partners,, and also a direct interchange railroad at Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California assured UP cars could be found almost anywhere on the SP system.

UP American Scene (6-6-4)

UP "American Scene" (6-6-4) a common car in transcontinental service. - Walthers model

The UP's LW cars are well represented by this UP 6-6-4 sleeper.  Like the HW 10-1-2s the 6-6-4 floorplan cars allowed a good mix of accommodations for passengers paying various rates.  The six high windows of this plan are for the upper beds in the sleeping sections (upper and lower bunks).  UP placed their 6-6-4s in the "American"-series of names.

L&N Lake Conway (10-1-2)

L&N "Lake Conway" (10-1-2) sleeper - Walthers model

Like the UP "Lake Crystal", the "Lake Conway" is an 10-1-2 sleeper in the 'Lake' series.

I decided about 2013 to snag several other foreign railroad cars to round out my heavily west-coast flavored fleet of sleepers.  The "Lake Conway" and "Henry M. Rice" (a 14-section car) were two that I chose.  There was a photo of the "Lake Conway" on the rear of a UP passenger train in the UPHS's magazine UP Streamliner several years ago, so I know that this car at least did get out west.

B&O Centabella (8-1-2)

B&O "Centabella" - Walthers model

Closing out this list in style is the B&O's "Centabella".  Cars in the "Cent" series were 8-1-2 arrangement, the floorplan were basically that of the 10-1-2, but with larger bathroom/dressing room space for the cost of two of the Sections.  There were also a number of cars in the "Rock" series, built for the Rock Island's trains which included 8-1-2 arrangement, among others.

The 8-1-2s generally were used for higher-end charter trips and for officer accommodations when in MAIN train movements.  The B&O put a number of their sleepers through "Betterment" programs where the roofs were faired-in to match the contours of lightweight streamlined cars.  The underframes were also at least partly hidden by skirting which covered the underbody equipment and faired over the stepwells.  The Walthers model, doesn't lend itself too easily to those types of upgrades, so I hope the "Centabella" was one of the cars that didn't receive these upgrades to the highest levels of B&O service.

In Closing

Only a few railroads decided to withdraw their cars from the Pullman Pool, D&RGW was one.  Sadly there were a huge number of very sharp looking D&RGW (Silver and yellow with the black stripes) Walthers models at almost any hobby shop during the 2010's which weren't moving.  However, I did my research before I bought any of them... armed with the knowledge that the DRGW cars didn't interchange to the west coast allowed me to keep from buying any of them.

Soo Line "Beaufort" 12-1 Pullman - Walthers model

I did pick up a Soo Line 12-1, the Beaufort, in the deep maroon/wine red scheme... oddly the Walthers model came with the name already applied.  This should be a warning to anyone buying cars for this type of interchange service.  When I pulled out the Pullman Panorama book, after much searching through the thousands of 12-1s.  Soo Line only bought one 12-1 in 1949... the Beaufort!

So I'm not really sure how often the Beaufort went off-line from the Soo.  Perhaps it was a protection car, and it was given over to the LTP pool, or it could have been a regularly assigned car that basically never went off the Soo.  This is one of those points where to do it 100%, you almost have to learn about the passenger operations of every railroad to understand which cars were regularly assigned and which cars were 'free roaming' in the Pullman Pool after 1949.  Even that list of available pool cars changed quickly as new cars were built, services changed, and older cars became extra and placed into the pool fleet.

The rear end of an eastward charter train at Bakersfield

Hopefully this has been an instructional and inspiring post on modeling 'foreign' passenger cars that can spice up your passenger train consists!  I plan to do some finish work with window shades and safety handrails inside many of the Walthers Pullman cars shown here.

Jason Hill

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  1. This is most informative, Have you ever considered kitbashing a 8-5 sleeper?

    1. I have a brass-car-sides kit for an 8-5, so not planning to kitbash one. Someday I'll get around to building it up. But for now my Jawbone Branch project means that I don't really need any more passenger cars for the time being.


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