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Prototypes for N scale passenger cars part 1

Prototypes for N scale passenger cars part 1: Wood, Troop and Heavyweight steel cars

Fred Klein 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005


What this article is about

I have made a stab at compiling what I know or can easily find out about N scale passenger car prototypes.  I have added many new discoveries and photographs during the last 2 years.  I am grateful to several on-line modelers for car identifications and information, and I have quoted them where appropriate.  I hope others will respond to me with corrections and additions to this information. 


This is a list of prototype railroad car types corresponding to commercially available N-scale passenger cars.  I try to match car types regardless of paint scheme.  I basically compared photographs with the models for similar appearance and window arrangement, but I do not count rivets or corrugations.  I have found prototypes for most models, but am still searching for all the roads that ran a particular type of car.  I give complete references the photographs I have found that match the models, though the books must be consulted for the original photographers.  The full names of the reference books are at the end of part 1 of the article.


A goal of most modelers is to model specific train prototypes from off-the-shelf cars, prototypical car sides or kits, and by kitbashing.  The simpler problem I address here is the reverse (but is very useful to our goal): to take commercially available cars and search for their prototypes.


I will add to this list as new facts are uncovered and are reported to me.   Information could include car types made for several different railroads, or cars later sold to other railroads.  Of course, many of the models available may look close enough to the prototype cars to be individually suitable for inclusion in consists.  N scalers do not have many finished model types to choose from and must either accept a model to “represent” a prototype, rely on custom painted kits, or bash cars together from parts.  Even prototypically accurate cars are often inaccurate for a given road in some detail, such as length of letterboards or presence of skirts.  Personally, I find that when I know how a car should look from photographs, the less I can tolerate the worst of the inaccurate models of it. 


Unfortunately, manufacturers are reluctant to supply specific roadnames of the prototypes for their cars because that might limit sales of the non-prototypical roadnames.  At present, the prototype trains that can be most closely modeled with a variety of stock passenger cars are the California Zephyr (Kato CZ complete Budd train, Con-cor Budd), Burlington Zephyrs (Kato corrugated), Union Pacific City and Overland trains (Kato smoothside), Great Northern’s Empire Builder (Con-cor smoothside), some Pennsy cars (Rivarossi smoothside), Amtrak superliners (Con-cor and Kato), and some C&O and B&O cars (old Rowa semi-corrugated cars).  Santa Fe cars come from several makers.  The Rivarossi heavyweight cars are mostly Santa Fe prototypes, though the Pullman sleeper and coach are common to many railroads.  Fortunately, it appears that the Kato and Con-cor corrugated Budd cars are all prototypical, but only the slumbercoach is an identical car common to both lines.  The coach, dome, and 10/6 sleeper cars are similar but not identical from the two manufacturers.  The various Zephyr trains are good trains to model because of the availability of these prototypical cars.  With Con-cor’s and Kato’s smoothside cars and some brass car sides, nearly all of the 1947-55 Empire Builder cars can be modeled reasonably closely, though thee are some anomalies.


Prototypes of modeled heavyweight cars appear to come from a variety of different railroads, but most, naturally, are Pullman Standard cars.  The differences between heavyweight cars of different roads are often more subtle and less visible, and it is a bit easier to letter a heavyweight car for different roads to make a realistic consist. 


Steve Sandifer’s web site is an excellent source comparing HO scale models and Santa Fe prototypes.  He even gives instructions on modifying the models.  This site is useful to N scalers because many N and HO models are similar, for example the Rivarossi heavyweights, and because of the prototype information for many cars.


Brass, acrylic and plastic car sides can model a great many more prototypical cars than are available fully molded.  Companies like M&R models ( with many sides available (, Brass Car Sides (, American Model Builders (, Wheels of Time (, Des Plaines Hobbies (, Eastern Seaboard Models (, East Wind Manufacturing (,  and JnJ trains (  More prototype cars are now available fully assembled from companies like Intermountain ( and Kato (  Most of these companies do an excellent job of listing the prototypes of their sides and models, and they do not need not to be repeated here.  I include a few of the prototypes for some of the less-well documented JnJ brass sides I have found.  Several prototypical resin cast car bodies become available from time to time from small producers, but are not listed here because availability and knowledge is so limited. 

Wood cars

Roundhouse 30’ Overton cars

At present, the mid-late19th century Overton cars from Roundhouse are widely available, but I am no expert on this era and have very little reference material.  Photographs and drawings of cars from this era, that are detailed enough to be recognizable, are rare.  The best I can do now is to present photographs I have found that are approximations of the model cars.  I believe these 30’ cars was rare, especially toward the end of the 19th century.


Charlie Vlk provides a hot lead about these cars: “The "Overton" label applies to the shorty 30 foot cars previously released by MDC/Roundhouse.  These are the cars based on the Sierra Railroad's shorty cars (made famous especially by the combine which has been filmed in many, many movies including the Petticoat Junction TV series).”


Baggage.  What can I say – short baggage cars only have one door per side and ideally a window.


Roundhouse Overton baggage car decorated for Santa Fe.


A stubby baggage car converted in 1862 to a RPO.  The Hannibal and St. Joseph is now part of the Burlington.  The car is about 25’ long. (page 114 of Popular Mechanic’s picture history of American transportation, Edward L. Throm, Simon & Schuster, 1952).


Combine.  Not an air-conditioned streamliner but still better than a stagecoach.  Charlie Vlk identified the Overton cars as based on Sierra Railroad prototypes.


Roundhouse Overton combine car decorated for Santa Fe.


The coach to the left is Sierra Railroad’s shortie combine #5 built by W.L. Holman of San Francisco in 1902 for use on the Angels Branch.  The coach to the right is Sierra Railroad’s shortie coach #6, also built by W.L. Holman in 1902.  These two coaches are prototypes for two of the Overton cars.  Photo from the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park website.


Coach. Charlie Vlk identified the Overton cars as based on Sierra Railroad prototypes. 


Roundhouse 30’ Overton wood truss rod coach decorated for AT&SF.  The prototype for this car is the Sierra Railroad shortie coach #6 (photo above).


Parlor / sleeper car.  Can anyone find a drawing or photo of a prototype car?


Roundhouse 30’ Overton wood parlor / sleeper car decorated for AT&SF.


Roundhouse 50’ Overland cars

The Roundhouse Overland cars represent late 19th century and early 20th century wood truss-rod cars.  They are typical of the few photographs I have seen.  I am no expert on this era, but there seems to be little standardization of cars and many small car builders making cars individually for each railroad.  This makes exact prototype matching difficult.  The best I can do now is to present photographs I have found that are approximations of the model cars.  The model cars do not have the smokestacks typical of cars from this era, which need to be added to exhaust the wood stoves used to keep passengers warm.


Baggage-coach combine. 


Roundhouse Overland combine car decorated for Santa Fe.


This car dates from 1870.  It is similar to the Roundhouse model but has a different roof, door and number of windows.  I have lost my notes on its history and the source of the photo.


This is a standard gauge combine built by the Carter Bothers about 1882 for the Los Angeles County Railroad.  While the car has a more highly curved roof, the sides and body style are similar to the Roundhouse car. From page 78 of South Pacific Coast by Bruce MacGregor, Howell North Books, 1968.


Coach.  The UP coach is a very close match to the Roundhouse Overland coach, but the UP prototype has two more windows per side.


Roundhouse 50’ Overland coach decorated for Santa Fe.


UP wood truss-rod coach of the 1890’s.  Photo from page 11 of Patrick Dorin’s Coach Trains and Travel.  What could be a better “overland” car than one owned by the UP or CP?


A CP day coach of the early 1870s. A Pullman Standard builder’s photo. The car is on 4-wheel trucks, about 50’ long.  From page 126 of Mr. Pullman’s elegant palace car, Lucius Beebe, Doubleday, 1961.


Sleeping car.  I found two close matches to the Roundhouse sleeping car.  The window arrangement gives these cars away as Pullman cars, with a sleeping section and opposing seats for each window pair.


Roundhouse 50’ Overland “sleeping car” decorated for Santa Fe. 


A through-coach built by Pullman in the 1880s or early 90s for the Atlantic Coast Line.  It is 50’ long and has 4-wheel trucks.  Externally, it is the closest match to the Roundhouse “overland” sleeping car. From page 312 of Mr. Pullman’s elegant palace car, Lucius Beebe, Doubleday, 1961.


Another car matching the external appearance of the Roundhouse model.  This is the Pullman hunting car “Rover”.  Pullman purchased this car from the Union Palace Car Co in 1889 to lease to individuals for hunting expeditions.  It appears to be 50’ long, has dual windows with an upper section, has 6-wheel trucks, and could date from the late 1870s or early 80s.  This style window seems more common to cars built in the late 1890s when full or partial end vestibules were becoming common, cars were typically 60’ or more long and had 6-wheel trucks.  From page 178 of Mr. Pullman’s elegant palace car, Lucius Beebe, Doubleday, 1961.


Parlor car.  I did not find any photos of “parlor cars”, but a few pictures of similar business cars.  In terms of the photographic record, all the goodies seem to have gone to the executives rather than the traveling public.  This sounds like the current situation with massive grabs an perks by corporate executives stealing from stockholders. 


Roundhouse 50’ Overland “parlor car” decorated for Santa Fe.


Roundhouse 50’ Overland “parlor car” decorated for Santa Fe, opposite side.


Business car built by Pullman in the 1890s for the Cleveland, Lorain and Wheeling.  Revenue cars of the period often had full or partly enclosed vestibules, but platforms on business cars were kept open for observation, often at both ends.  Although this car is 60’ long and has 6-wheel trucks, it and its windows closely resemble the appearance of the Roundhouse “overland” parlor car.  The irregular window arrangement of the Roundhouse “parlor” car is more typical of some sleepers and business cars than of parlor cars. From page 374 of Mr. Pullman’s elegant palace car, Lucius Beebe, Doubleday, 1961.

Heavyweight steel cars

Bachmann “shortie” heavyweight cars

Like the Arnold corrugated cars, these 65’ cars are made to travel on tight curves on a layout.  They are great cars for kitbashing and have good trucks.  I have put 65’ RPO brass sides on these cars.  The windows seem to be paired, and have wider posts between pairs, as if the windows are for certain coaches or Pullman sections.  The windows are tall and narrow as if they were squashed along with the car. 


Claus Schlund identified prototypes for these cars.  He found the line-art drawings in Walthers Passenger Car Plans (revised Second Edition, Wm. K. Walthers, 1973).   This book has drawings of hundreds of cars stating that they are prototypes, and is designed as a guide for kit-bashers to use Walthers kits and parts to make new cars.  Both the coach and the combine seem like very good matches to the CNW drawings.  I would still like to gather more information on these cars.  If you have a photograph or book, please send a scan to me.  They look like 1920s era steel riveted cars.


John W. Perkowski reports “the Bachman heavyweight 60 foot combine is similar to UP combines 2700 and 2749, shown in Schmitz (Schmitz, Lou, Editor.  UP Color Guide to freight and Passenger Equipment, Volume 2.  Edison, NJ:  Morning Sun Books, 1996).  Differences include 1) the Bachmann model has a monitor roof, while the UP car has a Harriman roof and 2) the Bachmann model has a vestibule only at the passenger end, while the prototype has vestibules at passenger and baggage ends.  James Donaldson adds “The Bachmann's could be used for Harriman cars by replacing the roofs. RMC has run several articles on those.”  Jerry LaBoda is not convinced there are Harriman prototypes.  Photographs are needed.


Charlie Vlk reports “The Rapido Old Timers are also fading into memory.....they are about the same prototype as the Bachmann Old Timers (which are notable for having correct 5 foot wheelbase wood beam trucks)....while the Rapidos have standard European passenger car trucks.”


Combine.  The prototype is a 60’ utility combine of Chicago & Northwestern series 7427-7439.


The scan is from page 25 of Walthers Passenger Car Plans.  The drawing indicates a riveted side and a fishbelly center sill (not truss rods as it may appear in the scan).


Bachmann 65’ steel combine decorated for Santa Fe.


Coach.  The prototype is a 60’ utility coach of Chicago & Northwestern series 3211-3257, also a Soo Line 900 series smoking car. 


The coaches in this photo sent by Claus Schlund (from Dubin's Some Classic Trains) appear to be the Bachmann model prototype.


The scan is from page 27 of Walthers Passenger Car Plans.


Bachmann 65’ steel coach decorated for Santa Fe.


Observation.  The observation car appears to be just a coach modified with an observation deck instead of a vestibule.


Bachmann 65’ steel observation decorated for Great Northern in Empire Builder colors. EB colors were still decades in the future when cars of this type were built.


Bachmann 71’ gas-electric “Doodlebug”

The model is similar to the gas-electric cars produced by Electro-Motive Corp. in the mid to late 1920’s (for example see photo of CGW M-300 on page 348 of Dubin’s Some Classic Trains, or the rebuilt M-109 of Santa Fe).  Marty McGuirk (Model Railroader, August 1998, page 24) states “…the N scale model is not a model of a specific prototype, but with its boxy construction and flat nose resembles many of the more than 400 cars built in the 1920s and ‘30s by Electro-Motive Corp.  No two doodlebugs were exactly alike.  In fact, EMC didn’t even build the bodies, as it contracted out the coachwork to firms such as Pullman or St. Louis Car Co.”


Model Power 85’ (formerly Lima)


Combine RPO-Baggage-Coach.  Claus Schlund reports, “This car is a PRR class MPB70/MPB70a combine.  Unlike the coach, the supplied 3CP1 trucks are correct for this car.  Roof diamond pattern is not quite correct – should be no diamonds above baggage area.  PRR owned 30 MPB70 cars and a further 30 MPB70a cars - they were indistinguishable externally.”  The Model Railroader article of August 1963 page 36 supplies drawings of both the Model Power combine and coach, and may have inspired these models.


Model Power heavyweight combine decorated (incorrectly) as a Santa Fe RPO. 


The Pennsylvania MPB70/MPB70a combine (coach-baggage-RPO).  Drawing from page 36 of Model Railroader, August 1963.


Coach.  This is clearly the PRR P70 steel coach built by American Car & Foundry starting about 1914.  An earlier version was built in the Altoona shops about 1907.  The P70 was a common car used on the Pennsylvania.  The model matches the photo on page 392 of Some Classic Trains almost exactly, including roof and boxes under the car.  Apparently this car was a bit lighter because 4 wheel trucks were generally used.  Variations have been constructed over the years.  Most other coaches had identical-width supports between windows, but this car has alternating narrow and medium width supports.


Claus Schlund reports, “This car is a model of an early-production PRR class P70 coach, used by the following roads: PRR, Pennsylvania Lines, Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, LIRR. PRR and its subsidiaries owned thousands (really!).  The car shell and roof represents a pre-air conditioning era car, thus is correct as is for the 1908-1930's era, possibly as late as 1945.  Shell is quite correct, roof is correct, trucks are NOT correct (the supplied trucks are six-wheeled PRR class 3CP1 design, and should be one of PRR's distinctive four-wheel designs).  A company called NHD makes/made a round roof to convert the roof outline to that of an upgraded air-conditioned car, thus making this car useful to modelers of the 1950-1970 era. Detailed drawings [and photographs] of the prototype are found in MR [Model Railroader magazine] 1963 Aug page 36.  I have found the Lima version to have slightly finer detail.”  Photos in the MR article show both the pre-air-conditioning photo below and a later air-conditioned version.


Model Power heavyweight coach decorated for a Santa Fe club coach.


The P70 coach built by American Car and Foundry in 1914 for the Pennsylvania.  From page 392 of Some Classic Trains by Arthur Dubin.


Observation.  This is an all-lounge or parlor car because of the regular window spacing along the whole car.  In addition to the lavatory windows at the end, it has 20 windows in the seating section with alternate narrow and medium width supports between windows.  The car is identical to the Model Power coach except for the substitution of an open platform at the end instead of a vestibule (note the improbable lavatory window at the observation end; compare with the coach picture above).  The car could be based on an existing mold rather than a prototype.  An approximate prototype match is the Pullman parlor-observation of the late 1920’s used on the Rock Island’s Golden State (Some Classic Trains page 214).  Claus Schlund reports, “This car is probably fictitious, but it strongly resembles parlor-observation cars on the LIRR.”


Model Power heavyweight lounge-observation car, undecorated.  The roof is not the one sold with this car.


A Pullman sun-parlor-lounge car on the Golden State (Rock Island – Southern Pacific), built about 1929.  Photo from page 214 of Some Classic Trains.


Rivarossi 85’ (also sold by Con-cor and formerly by Atlas)

The Rivarossi heavyweight cars generally represent Santa Fe cars: the coach and especially the Pullman sleeper have good examples on many other railroads, but the other cars in the set are mostly unique to the Santa Fe.  In fact, the combine and the baggage car represent the second and third conversions of the same car, and there is evidence of the original car in the model that reveals an interesting story.  Dr. Brad Shearer reports “…the heavyweights made by Rivarossi represent SF prototypes, as they all have a channel on the side sills which is representative [and distinctive] of the SF cars.”  Interestingly, the coach and Pullman cars do not have the lower recessed sill and thus are not specifically Santa Fe prototypes.


Full baggage-express, 85’.  A baggage car this long is not common among railroads generally.  Russell Straw reports “The Rivarossi heavyweight baggage car is an exact model of the ATSF 1849.  This car was converted by ATSF from their Baggage-Buffet-Library car the "San Vincente" #1348 in 1943.”  Dr. Bradley Scherer also kindly alerted me to the prototype for this car, which is “one-of-a-kind”.  Note that Rivarossi also models the rebuilt "San Vincente" as a combine car originally built in 1923 and later remodeled (see below). 


The Rivarossi baggage car is lettered exactly the same as the prototype, whose photo appears on page 96 of Ellington and Shine’s Head end cars, Santa Fe railway passenger car reference series volume 1.  Note the model is complete right down to the blocked vestibule door at the end.  Santa Fe also had some 70’ baggage cars #1820-1829 built by Pullman in 1927 to their own specifications with un-equal width doors like the model.  See the drawing in Microscale’s decal sheet #383.  Santa Fe also converted most of their 78’ 1913 Pullman coaches into baggage cars in 1948 and 1952, but these had two of the wider 8’ doors.  Another similar baggage car with un-equal width doors is a rebuilt Great Northern truss-rod passenger car, which like the model has a blocked vestibule door at the end indicating its former passenger car status.  Jerry Laboda reports that the N&W baggage car series 1272-1276 is similar to the Rivarossi car, but the N&W car is a 64’ PS car of 1929.  A photo is on page 10 of The N&W Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment.  Jerry also points out that Central of Georgia had many baggage cars with unequal width doors and similar rivet detail.


Rivarossi baggage car decorated for Santa Fe #1849.  Note the blocked vestibule door with handrails at the right end.


Santa Fe baggage car #1849 rebuilt in 1943 from a baggage-buffet-library car, from page 96 of Head end cars, Santa Fe railway passenger car reference series volume 1.


Great Northern baggage-express car was rebuilt from a passenger car (note the blocked vestibule door).  Photo from page 149 of Great Northern pictorial Vol. 4 by Strauss.


Combine baggage-coach.  This style car is rare and apparently is unique to the Santa Fe.  Baggage-lounge cars generally had the lounge occupying ¾ or ½ of the car instead of ¼ of the car as in the model.  Russell Straw and Brad Shearer identified this car. 


The car is the second version of the buffet-library-baggage car “San Vicente” #1348, originally built for Santa Fe by Pullman in March 1923.  The original builders photo of this car in 1923 appears below with the 5 large lounge windows (page 240 of Some Classic Trains).  The San Vicente was remodeled in 1937 to a baggage car with a small lounge and bar (interior photo on page 240 of Some Classic Trains; exterior drawing below from Microscale decal sheet #383).  The Rivarossi model is of this 1937 remodeled car.  The model clearly shows the four raised steel plates used to cover the windows of the former lounge-bar-library area, and thus helps tell the story of a car with three versions, two of which are modeled. 


The model is also of the Santa Fe “rider” (coach-baggage-express) cars #2602-08 rebuilt in 1937 from the buffet-library cars for use on the Fast Mail Express and other trains.  Photos of 2606 (former San Onofre) and 2604 (former San Ysidro) are on page 144 of Head end cars, Santa Fe railway passenger car reference series volume 1.  See photos on page 50 of Frailey’s A quarter century of Santa Fe consists and page 21 of Stagner’s ATSF color guide to freight and passenger equipment.  Three similar cars were rebuilt in 1949 for the same Santa Fe train.  It was probably at this time that the upper portion of the windows were blocked.


Rivarossi-Atlas “rider” combine decorated by Atlas for Santa Fe #2602 as a baggage-RPO.  I do not believe the prototype cars were ever equipped as RPOs, but they could easily have been used for mail storage and been rented by the post office.  The lettering does match the page 21 photo in ATSF color guide to freight and passenger equipment, except for the prototype’s single car number centered and in place of the USM-RPO lettering.


Santa Fe “rider” (coach-baggage-express) car number 2602 rebuilt in 1937.  Photo from page 50 of A quarter century of Santa Fe consists.  Note the steel plates that replaced the windows in the original car.


Original Santa Fe buffet-library-baggage car “San Vicente” built by Pullman in 1923 (Pullman Standard builders photo from Some Classic Trains page 240).


Remodeled Santa Fe buffet-baggage car “San Vicente” originally built by Pullman in 1923 and remodeled to enclose a shorter lounge about 1937 (drawing from Microscale decal sheet #383).  Apparently the library was removed in 1937 and the “library” lettering may not be correct.


Coach.  This car is very similar to the Pullman Standard 84-seat chair car of 1924 built for the Alton Limited (Some Classic Trains page 154).  This prototype has one more window than the model.  The Southern Pacific coach from American Car & Foundry (1929) is also similar but has 2 more windows than the model (photo on page 96 of The best of Mainline Modeler’s passenger cars vol. 1).  The Rivarossi model may also be a variation of AC&F’s P70 coach as used on the Pennsylvania (see Model Power coach above).  Most other coaches had identical-width supports between windows, but this car has alternating narrow and medium width supports typical of many parlor cars.  A variation of this car is the 4-wheel-truck coach with a Harriman roof built by Pullman in 1923 for the Western Pacific (Some Classic Trains page 284).


Claus Schlund reports “This car seems strongly to resemble C&O and B&O coaches I have seen.  In addition, the car is correct for several plans of Pullman parlor cars – evidence indicates these saw service on the N&NH&H, and it is unclear if they were used elsewhere. Finally, by blocking out one window on each side you can convert the car to an accurate plan 4011-a coach-parlor combination car - used of the PRR.”


John Perkowski reports “The Rivarossi heavyweight coach, if converted from a monitor to a Harriman roof, is essentially identical to UP chair cars 402-421 (Pullman, 1922).  This car can also be used as a lounge car (UP cars 1580-1588).  Schmitz again is the documenting source.”


Rivarossi heavyweight coach decorated for the Gulf Mobile and Ohio in the Alton paint scheme.  The model car has one less window than the prototype car below, and the prototype doors have double windows.


The Pullman Standard 84-seat chair car of 1924 built for the Alton Limited (Some Classic Trains page 154).


Diner.  This is a Santa Fe Pullman diner of the mid-late 1920s and was used on trains such as the California Limited.  Russell Straw reports “The diners, numbers 1400-1411, were built by Pullman in 1927.  Almost identical cars were built later in 1929-30 and numbered 1412-1418…  The Rivarossi model is one of the cars built for ATSF in 1930 (numbers 1456-1463).  The only photo I have located so far is of the earlier cars. The [earlier cars] had 4 kitchen windows instead of three like the model.”  The photo is of Santa Fe car #1406 built in 1927 (page 29 of Frailey’s A quarter century of Santa Fe consists).  A drawing of the nearly identical car #1414 comes with Microscale decal sheet #383.  The model has a generally similar configuration of windows (for dining and kitchen areas) and door to prototypes for many railroads, but the appearance of individual window frames vary from road to road. 


Steve Sandifer’s web page reports that the cars 1456-1463 were built by Pullman in 1922 to Plan 3391, Lot 4637.  The third photo below is from that site and matches the Rivarossi model.  The site states “To make your Rivarossi car match [the later reworked version of this car], you will need to remove the louvered vents on the sides at the dining room end and totally rework the roof and undercarriage to match your air conditioned or original version. The kitchen windows on the model have vertical dividers, which should be removed. At some time around 1950 the upper portion of the large windows was plated over, as in the Whittaker photo.”


Rivarossi diner decorated for Santa Fe car #1418.  The prototype for this model was apparently car #1418 built by Pullman in 1930 with three kitchen windows.


Santa Fe diner #1406 built by Pullman in 1927 (page 29 of Frailey’s A quarter century of Santa Fe consists).  This car has four kitchen windows which became three on the 1930 (1922?) cars.


Santa Fe diner #1458 built by Pullman in 1922 (1930?).  It has been rebuilt including side and window modifications and air conditioning.  Note that the 3 kitchen windows match the model.  1458 is at San Diego, W. C. Whittaker Photo, Richard Hendrickson collection.


Photo of a later (1050s) version of the car with air conditioning and plated over upper window sections.  1457 is at San Diego, J. Dobyne photo, Richard Hendrickson collection.


Pullman sleeper.  This is clearly the 12-section /1-drawing room sleeper built in the thousands by Pullman in the early 1920s.  Dubin’s books Some Classic Trains and More Classic Trains have many photographs of variations of this car for roads like PRR, B&O, CB&Q, CP, GN, Southern, NP, C&NW, UP and MILW.  The 6 pairs of windows in the center of the car is the giveaway that this is a 12-section car.  A detailed article about this car, how to convert the Rivarossi plan 3410-B car into the more common plan 3410 and 3410-A cars, and a list of all the roads running them with the variations in air conditioning types begins on page 37 of the Railway prototype cyclopedia vol. 1, and continues in vol. 2.  A detailed article by Thomas Hoff on this car with drawings and photographs is on pages 10-21 of The best of Mainline Modeler’s Passenger Cars (volume 1; book 4) (Phoenix publishing, 1991).


Claus Schlund reports “This is a model of a Pullman 12 section-1 drawing-room sleeper. I'm doing this from memory now, so don't bet the firm on this, but I believe it was a plan 2410a car.  This car would also be adaptable by enlarging one or two windows to be a plan 2410 car as well.  Since this was Pullman's single biggest car class (something like half the fleet was 12-1 cars in the 1920's) we are fortunate indeed that this car was chosen, since it is the only plastic heavyweight sleeper around!  The roof is for a non-air-conditioned car - add your own duct covers for an air-conditioned one.”


Steve Sandifer reports, regarding the Santa Fe “This is the a 12-1 Pullman sleeping car. Even though 12-1's were the most common configuration sleeping cars in the Pullman stable (totaling 3957), this Plan 3410-B only fit 80 cars and they were rare on the Santa Fe. When Pullman sold the cars in 1948, none of this plan went to ATSF. 12-1s worked regularly on the ATSF, but the 8-1-2 and 10-2 were more common.  The St. Croix was a 12-1 built in 1923, Plan 3410, Lot 4724. In 1948 it went to the New York Central.”


Tom Madden reports [from Steve Sandifer’s web site]: "In 1935 the Santa Fe installed SE A/C in 40 assorted 12-1 Pullmans at the Topeka Shops. They were all assigned to the Santa Fe, not to Pool service. Thirty-one of them were converted to 14-section Tourist cars (9 in 1937 and 22 in 1940) and eventually painted TTG for the Scout. T.C. 3110 (ex-McDowell) was wrecked on the Santa Fe in 1945, but the nine remaining named 12-1's were still operating in 1950, quite possibly still assigned to the Santa Fe even though they were owned by Pullman. They were 3410's East Byars, East Cairo, McCallum, McClosky, McConaughy, McConnico, McKell and McWade, and 3410A Red Pheasant.  If you are modeling the 1935-55 period, you could add SE air and rename this car to one of the 9 listed above.”


John Perkowski reports “[The] Rivarossi Pullman is identical to UP Cars Multnomah and Edgewood”.


Rivarossi 12-1 PS sleeper decorated for Pullman’s Glen Forge.


Heavyweight 12 section /1 drawing-room sleeper “Pepin” built and operated by Pullman on the Burlington.  Photo from Dubin’s Some Classic Trains page 273.


Observation lounge.  Russell Straw reports: “The Cafe-Lounge cars were built by PS in 1930 [for Santa Fe] and numbered 1513-1514.”  This is confirmed by the drawing with Microscale decal sheet #383.  The correct lettering for the 1930’s is “Café Observation”.  The car’s roof indicates it had air conditioning, and is not correct for the 1930’s.  The car is divided into observation (rear) and lounge (center) sections.  The tall windows near the front of the car may be for a smoking room or a ladies room.  The open rear platform indicates that it was not used on a northern road like GN or in Canada, because those roads generally had enclosed solariums for year-round use.


Rivarossi observation-lounge decorated for Santa Fe “Silver Springs”.


Santa Fe Café-Lounge #1513 (Pullman 1930) painted in the later two-tone gray scheme, from page 155 of A quarter century of Santa Fe consists.  One of the lounge windows was plugged at the time the photo was taken.


Rivarossi observation-lounge, opposite side.


Drawing of Santa Fe Café-Observation #1514 (Pullman 1930) from Microscale decal sheet #383.  This is the correct appearance of the car in the 1930’s.

Troop cars


Troop sleeper.  To ease the passenger car shortage for troop movement during World War II, the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation contracted with Pullman to build 2,400 troop sleepers and with ACF to build 440 troop kitchen cars.  Model Railroader magazine encouragingly provided an article, photographs and drawings of these troop cars (Dec. 2001 [troop sleeper, page 88] and Feb. 2002 [troop kitchen car, page 80]).  Microtrains issued faithful models of these two cars in 2003.  The models are prototypical, as you would expect from the manufacturer and the 21st century demands of the N scale marketplace.


Microtrains troop sleeper model.


Pullman-built troop sleeper of 1943 (photo from Model Railroader magazine, Kalmbach publications, Dec. 2001, page 89).


Troop kitchen car


Microtrains troop kitchen car model.


Microtrains troop kitchen car model, opposite side.


Troop kitchen car built by ACF 1943 (photo from Model Railroader magazine, Kalmbach publications, Feb. 2002, page 81).

Books referred to on these web pages

Anonymous, The best of Mainline Modeler’s passenger cars vol. 1, Phoenix Publishing, 1991.

Armitage, Merle, The Railroads of America, Duell, Sloan and Pearce-Little, Brown, 1952.

Dorin, Patrick, Amtrak Trains and Travel, Superior Publishing, 1979.

Dorin, Patrick, Coach Trains and Travel, Superior Publishing, 1975.

Dorin, Patrick, The Domeliners, a pictorial history of the penthouse trains, Superior Publishing, 1973.

Dubin, Arthur, Some Classic Trains, Kalmbach, 1964.

Dubin, Arthur, More Classic Trains, Kalmbach, 1974.

Ellington, Frank L. and Joe W. Shine, Head end cars, Santa Fe railway passenger car reference series volume 1, Santa Fe railway historical and modeling society, 1999.

Frailey, Fred, A quarter century of Santa Fe consists, RPC Publications, 1974.

Hickhox, David, GN color guide to freight and passenger equipment, Morning Sun, 1995.

Hickhox, David, Chesapeake and Ohio color guide to freight and passenger equipment, Morning Sun, 1998.

Millard, James K., Chesapeake & Ohio Streamliners, Second to None: volume 1, the Cars, Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society, 1994.

Model Railroader magazine, Troop Sleepers, Kalmbach publications, Dec. 2001, page 88.

Model Railroader magazine, Troop Kitchen Cars, Kalmbach publications, Feb. 2002, page 80.

Randall, David, From Zephyr to Amtrak, Prototype Publications, 1972.

Randall, W. David and W. G. Anderson, The Official Pullman Standard Library vol. 8: Rock Island, Railway Production Classics, 1990.

Randall, W. David and W. G. Anderson, The Official Pullman Standard Library, vol.  9, Chicago and North Western, Railway Production Classics, 1990.

Randall, W. David, The Passenger Car Library vol. 1 – CB&Q, RPC Publications, 1999.

Ranks, Harold, and William Kratville, The Union Pacific Streamliners, Kratville Publications, 1974.

Ryan and J. W. Shine, Southern Pacific passenger trains volume 1: Night trains of the coast route, Four Ways West, 1986.

Schafer, Mike, Classic American Streamliners, Motorbooks International, 1997.

Schmitz, Lou, UP color guide to freight and passenger equipment volume 2, Morning Sun, 1996.

Spoor, Michael, CBQ color guide to freight and passenger equipment, Morning Sun, 1995.

Stagner, Lloyd, and Yanosey, UP color guide to freight and passenger equipment, Morning Sun, 1993.

Stagner, Lloyd, ATSF color guide to freight and passenger equipment, Morning Sun, 1995.

Strauss, John, Great Northern Pictorial volume 3, Four Ways West, 1993.

Strauss, John, Great Northern Pictorial volume 4, Four Ways West, 1994.

Wyder, Patrick, and Edwin Hawkins, Railway prototype cyclopedia vol. 1, RPCYC Publications, 1997.

Zimmerman, Karl, The story of the California Zephyr, Quadrant Press, 1972.

Zimmerman, Karl, Domeliners, Yesterday’s Trains of Tomorrow, Kalmbach, 1998. Facebook Page