Heavyweight obs. cars

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Did the ACL or the SAL use heavyweight observation cars, other than for "business" cars? If so what was the number series? Thanks!

-- Jim Roquemore (roque@camden.net), February 27, 2001


OK-I had an opportunity to crack my books at home and this is what I dug out on Heavyweight Observation Cars owned by the ACL, SAL and FEC. And, yes, There will be anarticle on these in Lines South, after I take care of a backlog of articles on which I am working.

The period covered is 1916 or so onwards, and does not include wooden cars, nor the various Pullman owned cars operated on the lines prior to 1948.

Seaboard had ordered two heavyweight diner-observation cars from Pullman under Lot 4416 Plan 2943. These cars were delivered in December 1916 (Builder's photo is dated December 12, 1916) and were numbered 1020 and 1021. Both cars were air conditioned by Pullman in 1934. These cars were still on the SAL roster in 1943, however, by 1954, only the 1021 remained. At that time, it was described as a "Parlor-Diner". The cars seated 44 patrons and were 83' 3" long. The 1021 was the most photographed of the two cars, as I have seen several photos of it. I have not seen any photos of the 1020. Anyone out there?

The Seaboard purchased a third car- Western Maryland # 405 in 1926. This car, numbered 1050 by the Seaboard, was constructed by Pullman in 1917 as a Cafe-Parlor. It too was air-conditioned by the SAL(I am not sure by whom however) and it was stil on the SAL roster in 1954. This car most probably did not have an observation section, as I have not seen any listings of it described as having such a section. I have not seen any photos of this car-any one out there have any?

After the Pullman breakup the majority of the Pullman fleet was sold to the railroads and then leased back to Pullman for continued operation. The Seaboard purchased 4 10 section observation lounge cars. These cars were all rebuilt by Pullman in the early 1930's to "solarium" type cars, by which the original open platform was significantly reduced and only a small vestige remained. Starting in 1947-48, the cars were painted into a faux simulated stainless steel fluting scheme, to match the Seaboard's lightweight cars. Original assignments included service on the Silver Star.

The cars were: Columbia Basin(1271) Pullman 11/14 Plan 2521A Lot 4292 Built as the "San Diego" rebuilding and renaming date unknown. Sold to SAL 12/1948. Columbia Bluffs(1272) Pullman 10/14 Plan 2521A Lot 4292 Built as the "Grand Canyon", rebuilt and renamed by Pullman 4/31. Sold to SAL 12/48. Columbia Bridge(1270) Pullman 12/15 Plan 2521A Lot 4353 Built as the "Chevalier", rebuilt and renamed by Pullman 1/34. Sold to SAL 12/48 Columbia Lake(1273) Pullman 12/11 Plan 2521 Lot 3944 Built as the "Masada", rebuilt and renamed by Pullman 12/33. sold to SAL 12/48.

The ACL had four heavyweight observation cars, all purchased from Pullman in 1948. these cars were among the last heavyweight cars built by Pullman.

Oregon Club Washington Club

Pullman March 1930 Plan 3989A Lot 6349 8 section Buffet Lounge Sun Room

Grosse Point renamed from "Magic City" 3/39 Palmer Woods renamed from "University City" 4/39

Pullman April 1930 Plan 4005 Lot 6340 8 Single Bedrooms Lounge Observation

As a side note, the above two cars were built for a "Meteor"-but it was the Frisco Meteor and not the Seaboard's, which we all know went into service in Feb 1939. The FEC had purchased two heavyweight cars from Pullman in 1948

Mountain Queen Mountain Side

These cars were built as Pullman Plan 2521C Lot 4690 July 1923 and had 10 sections observation room. FEC proposed to rebuild these cars as coach lounge observations, with 32 coach seats and 12 observation section lounge seats, plus one writing desk chair. This work was not carried out.

As for the disposal of these cars, can anyone help? I know that one of the ACL cars was saved, but need help on the others. Photos would be useful for a future article.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), March 01, 2001.

As Larry Goolsby correctly points out, the only railroad owned heavyweight observation cars were a trio of SAL owned Diner-Parlor observations in the 1020 series. These cars did not last too long after the war, but some were air conditioned in 1934. I can go home and research the exact numbers, etc. Photos of these cars are also to be found in Al Langley's Seaboard Album and Dave Randall's Selected Heavyweight Cars, which has photos of at least one of these cars at the Pullman plant in 1934 being air conditioned. The last book also has photos of SAL diners, coaches and combines, along with photos of Pullmans used on the Orange Blossom Special. There are also photos of carsfrom the C&O which eventually ended up on the SAL, as well as photos of what eventually became the ACL "Augusta". Well worth it-get it now before the book goes out of print.

An interesting foot note- FEC apparently was planning to convert at least two of its heavyweight, ex Pullman sleeper-lounges in to coach- observation lounges. In a package of FEC diagrams I received from Ted Strickland is a floorplan showing these cars. To my knowledge, the work was never performed.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), February 28, 2001.

Jim, If you mean any cars, whether owned by the RR or not, then both lines carried many trains in the 1940s and before with Pullman-owned heavyweight observation cars. Examples on the ACL were the Florida Special, Dixieland, and many others; on the SAL, the Orange Blossom Special and others. If you mean only cars that were owned by either ACL or Seaboard, the only examples I know of are a couple of cars owned by SAL, diner-parlor-observation cars - photos of one of them, No. 1021, are in the Society's new Orange Blossom Special book, p. 14. Larry Goolsby

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), February 27, 2001.

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