former southern sleepers : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

morristown and erie took possession of 3 ex royal line sleepers.

one is still painted as southern 2301 "royal court" one is painted as royal lines "royal knight"

third is an observation sleeper which i recall may have said "albany and west point"

can anyone confirm the history on these 3 car?

i will post photos for this sites surviving equpment on my morristown and erie page.


-- jeffrey a lubchansky (, October 12, 2003


Jeff, It looks as if you might have three of eight cars built for the Southern and others by Pullman Standard in 1949. These were 5- double bedroom, buffet lounge observation cars finished in fluted stainless steel originally. In the mid to late 1950's, several of these observation cars were returned to Pullman Standard, and they were rebuilt into 11-double bedroom cars. According to the Pullman Standard Library Volume 7, Sou 2301 "Royal Court" was originally just such an observation car. "Royal Knight" was not a name given to any of the original cars, so it may have just been assigned after the rebuild.

The original roads ordering these cars included: Southern, Florida East Coast, Louisville & Nashville, New York Central, and Western Railway of Alabama. The latter was one of two roads that comprised the West Point Route. The other road was the Atlanta and West Point. Again according to PS Vol. 7, WofA ordered one of the observation cars, A&WP did not order any. These cars were part of a pool of cars that were used to streamline the Southern's "Crescent" and "New Royal Palm". The "Crescent" was a New York-Atlanta-Montgonery-New Orleans train, while the "New Royal Palm" was a Cincinnati-Atlanta- Jacksonville-Miami train.

I hope this is in some way helpful. Best of luck

-- Rayn Brown (, October 13, 2003.

thanks for your response. i'm making progress.

the one observation car that made it to the morristown and erie has the "west point route" on the upper sideboard. the lower sideboard is missing on both sides. the car is fully covered by a tarp. must have a leaky roof.

the 2301 has been untouched externally since it was southern. it is no longer an observation sleeper. would anyone know of a photo before the tail end was clipped?

the royal knight is painted in the colorful "royal lines" paint scheme and in fact is know smooth sided. i will contact the m&e to see if they have the history.

the photos can be viewed at

thanks for the help.

-- jeffrey a lubchansky (, October 13, 2003.

Jeff: By way of a follow up, these cars were known as "Lookout Lounge Observations" because of their unique floor. The floor in the observation area at the rear of the car was 3 steps above the floor at the car sill. There were five over-sized windows on each side of the observation lounge, the last two of which wrapped toward the center door, which had a normal-sized window. The oversized windows allowed for the raised floor and provided a greater view from inside the car.

If you can locate any of the following, there are some excellent pictures of these cars.

"Pullman-Standard Library, Vol. 7 Southeast" by David Randall, pages 80,85,86,87.

"New York Central's Lightweight Passenger Cars, Trains and Travel" by Geoffrey Doughty, page 100.

"Classic American Streamliners" by Mike Schafer and Joe Welsh, pages 107 and 113.

-- Ray Brown (, October 17, 2003.

Two more quick items: The floor was 2 steps and not 3 above the floor at the sill, and the name board for the West Point Route car most likely read "Royal Palace"

Ray Brown

-- Ray Brown (, October 17, 2003.

"the name board for the West Point Route car most likely read 'Royal Palace'"

Actually, before the car was retired by the Western Railway of Alabama it was renamed "Charles A. Wickersham." Unless it was changed by the previous owner (no report of such so far) it should still have this name.

-- Jerry M. LaBoda (, October 17, 2003.

I should have noticed this right off but I didn't... if you look at "Royal Knight's" step well you will see that the car has been modified with the skirting sculted to match the steps. Only one railroad ever did this with their lightweight equipment... the Norfolk and Western!

The car is ex-NS 451 "Hollins College," exx-N&W 451 "Hollins College," exxx-N&W "Western Star," nee-WABASH "Western Star," built by AC&F for Wabash as a part of a Union Pacific order delivered in late-1949/early-1950.

If anyone has a copy of the Norfolk and Western Color Guide you will find a photo of the car on page 32 in N&W tuscan red, with the same side and nearly the same angle being shown.

-- Jerry M. LaBoda (, October 17, 2003.

This post applies to all the above in no specific order. The Royal Palace has had 1 name board re-installed "ROYAL PALACE" The other 2 name boards were re-letered to "THE WEST POINT ROUTE". BTW The adhesive on thr RR name boards had actually etched the stainless so that an acurate font replacement could be obtained.

The Royal Knight was renamed by Royal Rail from Hollins College. It was used in all services by the NS until they sold it to Royal. It was used in the steam program as a V.I.P. car and crew car depending on need.

The car was originally named "Western Sunset" not Western Star. The orig. elec. docs. survive in the electrical closet.

If anyone has any questions, please contact me at


-- wes weis (, January 06, 2004.

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