Union Pacific Numbered Lightweight Cars
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This page was last updated on May 29, 2014.
(incomplete; research continues)
Between 1937 and 1964, Union Pacific received a fleet of 758 lightweight passenger cars, built using lightweight steels or a combination of aluminum and steel.
UP's earliest cars lightweight cars were all-aluminum and were delivered as part of the early Streamliner trains. Those cars are not included here.
Although not included in the totals for UP's lightweight cars, the cars assigned to the Streamliners were all-aluminum and were articulated with either all or some of the other cars in each train set. There were several cars that were separate and did not share a common set of trucks with either the previous car in the consist, or with the following car. These separate cars each had a set of trucks at each end, and were also stand-alone cars. The 1st and 2nd trains were fully articulated as a single train set. The 3rd and 4th trains were mostly articulated, but had separate Auxiliary Baggage Dormitory cars between the motive power and the articulated cars that followed.
The 5th and 6th trains, both assigned to City of Denver service, entered service in June 1936. These two train sets had a mix of stand-alone baggage and mail cars and articulated pairs of sleeper cars.
The 3rd train had a unique locomotive design that matched the tubular, tapered sides of earlier 1st and 2nd trains, along with the cars of the 3rd Train itself. The 4th, 5th and 6th trains had separate locomotives with straight sides, which were designed specially by Pullman for dedicated Streamliner service. The 3rd Train entered service in May 1936 as the City of Los Angeles. The 4th, 5th and 6th trains entered service in June 1936 as the City of San Francisco and as two City of Denver trains.
Additional cars came in December 1937 as part of the 7th Streamliner train set. This train was placed in service as the new City of Los Angeles and was made up of 14 cars, 10 of which were articulated in pairs, and four (LA-101, LA-701 "Little Nugget", LA-901 "Sun Valley", and "Rose Bowl") were stand-alone, non-articulated cars. No photos have yet shown that these cars were ever used in any train other than the 7th train.
The 8th Streamliner train set went into service as the new City of San Francisco in January 1938, with a total of 14 new cars, eight of which were articulated in pairs, and six (SF-101, SF-401 "Market Street", SF-701 "Embarcadero", SF-901 "Nob Hill", "Telegraph Hill", and "Portsmouth Square") were stand-alone, non-articulated cars. No photos have yet shown that these cars were ever used in any train other than the 8th train.
1937 Challenger Cars
Ordered in November 1936, the first stand-alone lightweight cars on UP were a total of 50 cars delivered in July, August and September 1937, and included 10 articulated Dormitory-Kitchen-Diner cars in the 5100-series, 12 non-articulated Chair cars in the 5200-series, and 28 non-articulated Chair cars in the 5300-series. All were assigned to The Challenger, operated by UP, C&NW and SP between Chicago and San Francisco, and by UP and C&NW between Chicago and Los Angeles.
In the pre-World War II-era, new lightweight Chair cars were delivered in 1941, and new lightweight Sleepers were delivered in 1942.
Deliveries began again in 1946 after World War II, and continued in 1949 after daily service began for the fleet of "City" trains.
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