Saturday, February 24, 2018

My Pullman projects, Part 4

At the end of the preceding post in this series, Part 3, I mentioned that I wanted to include in my Pullman fleet, a car or two owned by other railroads than the Southern Pacific. From 1949 onward, most railroads owned a certain number of Pullman heavyweight cars, chosen to meet their needs at the time, and SP was no exception. Most of the Pullmans SP chose to purchase were ones that had previously been built for service on SP trains, so they already were suitable for SP needs. They also purchased a number of cars that had not been built for SP service, and those received modifications by Pullman, at SP’s request, to suit SP needs. The same was true of several other railroads.
     One of them was Northern Pacific, with which SP enjoyed a friendly relationship at Portland. Another was Great Northern, not a railroad with which SP was particularly friendly, but one whose passenger services dovetailed with some SP trains at Portland. An example is shown below, from the 1946 Equipment Circular 14, detailing consists of all SP passenger trains at the time. (You can click to enlarge the image if you wish.)

Circled here are the joint SP-GN provision of cars for particular service, a baggage car in the upper entry, a 10-1-2 sleeper in the lower entry. There were similar arrangements on certain trains with the NP.
     Note that altogether this train, the Oregonian, carried five sleepers, two 16-section tourist sleepers, two 10-1-2 sleepers, and a 12-1. Although it is the 10-1-2 that is shown as joint SP-GN service, I decided to model a GN 12-1 for simplicity. I simply repainted and decaled a stock Rivarossi 12-1 model for Great Northern, which, not being air-conditioned, is likely a stand-in at best.
     I decided that if the car was a stand-in anyway, I would not worry about a correct name chosen from actual GN names for its 12-1 Pullman cars, but would choose a name that appealed to me. In fact, using a correct name might even be worse, since the model would not match the prototype with that name. So I chose to name the car Columbia Glacier. The GN fleet did include a whole series of “Glacier” named cars, though this particular glacier is not among them (it happens to be an actual glacier in northern Washington state). I felt the name at least had a GN feel to it. Here is my model.

     I might mention that although the information in Equipment Circular 14 is really excellent and quite complete, it does apply to 1946. At that time, trains were substantially more heavily patronized than in subsequent years, and moreover as streamlined lightweight cars arrived in the late 1940s and early 1950s, more and more heavyweight Pullmans were taken out of service in favor of the new equipment. It would be easy to exaggerate the use of heavyweight sleepers with these 1946 data.
     Beyond the GN car, I would still like to do an NP heavyweight sleeper, though I have not yet done so. As it happens, the joint sleeper movements of SP with NP, as shown in Equipment Circular 14,  were considerably more extensive than the GN example just cited, including the West Coast train, between Portland and Los Angeles. Often there was also a joint baggage car in the trains, just as in the GN example above. The NP sleeper was almost always a 10-1-2, operated to and from Seattle or, in one case, Spokane. Accordingly, it would be nice to eventually add a 10-1-2 model, lettered for NP, to my fleet.
     The complication with such an NP Pullman car is that NP apparently repainted all the Pullmans it purchased in 1949 into their handsome “Pine Tree” scheme of two-tone green with yellow separation stripes. Here’s a rendition of it from a Branchline-produced 10-1-1 car (the almost-black color on the sides is actually dark green):

The image is from the Walthers. com site. Atlas now sells these models.
     It’s a great color scheme but not one I am eager to reproduce myself on a heavyweight sleeper. That’s because I am not an NP modeler, and thus don’t have paint, decals, etc. on hand, nor I am really familiar with the NP prototypes. I may look for a used 10-1-2 model already painted. Or I might just choose to acquire one of the Branchline (now Atlas) 10-1-1 models, like the one shown above, even though what I really want is a 10-1-2. As with many things having to do with my layout, I would rather have a train with prototypical appearance by including an NP car, than necessarily have the NP car exhibit the exact NP floor plan that ought to be there.
Tony Thompson


  1. Tony, While I applaud your desire to include passenger traffic from the Portland connections, your 1953 modeling date becomes problematical. By then, the post-war streamliners had taken full force--the Shasta Daylight by day and the Cascade by night. Add to that the Klamath for mail. The Cascade had a regularly assigned pair of sleepers for service from Seattle through to Oakland, protected by a pair of NP 10-6 streamlined cars plus the SP's 10-6s. With a mid-50's shift of the Seattle to Portland Pool Trains, the UP ended up needing to protect the service--the Pacific Beach.
    The key is the great divide at Oakland. No longer was there a scheduled train through from Portland to, say, Los Angeles. That leaves with the "other moves"--still a substantial passenger business. "Other moves" could include quite a number of arrangements including tour groups (the National Park Tours were popular), event groups (e.g. Shriners' Specials), and even troop trains (MAIN). My point is that by 1953, we had lost the regular scheduling of through passenger cars beyond the "great divide" at Oakland.
    I wonder what further light our friend Don Munger (SP passenger car expert and author) can shed?

    Bill Decker, McMinnville, OR

  2. No argument, Bill, and I'm sure you noticed my emphasis on the differences between that 1946 document and my modeling year of 1953. I have no intent or interest in depicting regular service involving GN or NP cars on the Coast Route. But there is a fascinating (to me) photo by Robert McNeel of a heavyweight NP sleeper at Los Angeles in 1952. That conjures up several possibilities. But what I expect to be doing is only depicting deadhead sleepers moving back north in the mail train or, as you say, in a special movement such as an event group, not regular service.
    Tony Thompson

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.