UP Cars Sold To Mexico

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This page was last updated on November 26, 2011.

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A total of 39 former Union Pacific passenger cars have ended up on the railroads in Mexico. Many are sleeper cars, and others are coach cars.

Mexico's railroads, and sleeping car service in Mexico have gone through a lot of changes since the 1940s. The following brief narrative may help an understanding of Union Pacific's part in these changes.


February 29, 1948
The following comes from the February 29, 1948 issue of the Wyoming State Tribune newspaper:

U. P. Train Is Sold to Mexico -- The Union Pacific has sold an old streamlined, diesel powered train to the Mexican government. The train was the original City of Los Angeles and has been subbing for the Cities of Denver on the Denver-Chicago runs while they were being shopped. (Wyoming State Tribune, February 29, 1948, courtesy of Jim Ehernberger, January 27, 2011)

October 1986
The following comes from the January 1987 issue of Pacific Rail News:

"In October [1986] a group of 20 Union Pacific passenger cars was placed in storage, including coaches, sleepers, boiler-dorms, lounges, diners, the dome coach and instruction cars. While this may reflect a cost-cutting measure on the UP, it remains to be seen if this will affect the availability of equipment for specials such as Old Timers or Junior Old Timers conventions next spring, or Rocky Mountain Railroad Club excursion planned to operate out of Denver next May." (Pacific Rail News, Issue 278, January 1987, page 32)

January 19, 1987
On January 19, 1987, Union Pacific sold 25 retired passenger cars to Mexico. A delegation from NdeM visited Omaha in early January 1987 to inspect the passenger cars that were for sale. The cars had been stored at Fox Park since November 1986, and included two boiler-dorm cars, a buffet, a diner-lounge, five coaches, a lounge, a dome coach, a baggage-recreation car and three sleepers. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 281, April 1987, page 37)

The list of cars sold:

February 1987
The following comes from the February 1987 issue of CTC Board magazine:

Passenger Fleet Cut In Half ... In a surprising move, UP sold nearly one-half of its passenger car fleet on January 19 to the Nacionales de Mexico. This sale leaves UP with 38 passenger cars, of which 12 are business cars and several are company service cars. It also greatly reduces the ability of UP to offer the extensive excursion train service that they have done in the past. N de M has been looking to purchase a large quantity of used passenger equipment for some time, but it was not thought that they had the ability to pay the current market rate for excellent equipment such as UP rostered. N de M had also looked at the Alaska Railroad's cars last fall but was apparently unable to offer acceptable terms.

March 1987
UP ran a business special to Mexico in March 1987. The consist was UP GP40X 93, and cars Cabarton, 205, and MP 8. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 283, June 1987, page 24)

June 26, 1987
UP delivered 21 passenger cars to NdeM at Laredo, Texas on June 26, 1987. The special train left Omaha on June 23. Included were business cars 110 and 111, along with two MP boxcars of spare parts. The special train (SCBLD) was led by UP C30-7 2413, with business car 112 at the rear end, with officials of both railroads on board. (Pacific Rail News, August 1987, page 6; October 1987, pages 31, 32)

Included were UP business cars 100, 111, and 112. Planned but not actually sold were boiler-dorm cars 300 and 301, and business cars 108 and 125. UP 125 was an ex GM&O car, and sits on blocks at Omaha shops. (Pacific RailNews, October 1987, page 32)

Twenty-one (21) UP passenger cars sold to NdeM during 1987: MP 20, MP 11 "Eagle", UP 110, 111, 112, 203, 204, 211, 1601 "Sun Cape", 1607 "Sun Point", 1609 "Sun Ridge", 4000, 5000, 5472, 5474, 5475, 5484, 5486, 5716, 6206, 7006. (Pacific RailNews, June 1988, page 38)

(Four cars, UP Business Car 108, Business Car 125, and Boiler-Dormitory cars 300 and 301 were either removed by UP from the group to be sold, or rejected by NdeM for unknown reasons)

Sleeping Car Service in Mexico

Through sleeping car services to the U.S. had been discontinued by 1960. Mexico City to Laredo runs were diesel power cars.

By 1966, Pullman employed a work force of 788 and operated a fleet of 335 Mexican owned or leased sleeping cars and 63 dining and parlor cars in the nation.

St. Louis-Mexico City sleeping car service was reinstated with the Texas Eagle (MP) from St. Louis to San Antonio, Texas, and the Aztec Eagle (MP/NdeM) San Antonio-Mexico City. (Richard Parks' Railways of Mexico)

December 31, 1968
Pullman ceased operations in Mexico. Pullman had started operations in Mexico in 1884, providing service between El Paso and Mexico City. The service was successful, except during the Mexican Revolution between 1914 and 1920, lasting until all Pullman operations ceased at the end of 1968.

(View the timeline of Pullman history at Pullman-Museum.org)

The following summary of MP and NdeM operations between Laredo and Mexico City comes from the Trains forum, dated March 2, 2010:

NdeM indeed operated the train between Nuevo Laredo and Mexico City, with Missouri Pacific operating between San Antonio and Laredo. Depending on the specific year being discussed, through Pullman cars, coaches and occasionally dining cars were operated from San Antonio to Mexico City without change. In the 1950s, the through Pullman and coach operated from San Antonio as the Aztec Eagle. Prior to the Texas Eagle's inauguration in August 1948, similar equipment originated in St. Louis and operated through as part of the Sunshine Special.

Through St. Louis-Mexico City Pullman service was resumed in the early 1960s and continued until the Pullman Company (in USA) discontinued operations on December 31, 1968 - that date being the date of the last trans-border Pullman crossing. At this time, NdeM Pullman cars routinely operated to St. Louis and MP Pullman cars routinely operated to Mexico City. Through coach service had been reduced to a San Antonio-Nuevo Laredo coach by this time, and this service was discontinued with last car crossing bridge on January 15, 1969.

The bridge itself was operated by Texas-Mexican Railway, and passenger cars were exchanged by being shoved out on bridge by MP crews, with a NdeM locomotive then coming from the Mexico side to pull the cars into Mexico to continue their journey. Customs inspections were conducted during this transfer process.

It was not until after January 15, 1969 that passengers were forced to make their own arrangements to get from Laredo (MP) station to Nuevo Laredo (NdeM) station via the highway bridge.

November 1970
"Pullman also developed a major presence in Mexico beginning in the 1880s. Its earliest recorded contract there was in 1884 with the Mexican Railroad. By the end of the decade, Pullman's Palace Cars were in regular service between the United States and Mexico. The last scheduled deluxe Pullman operation in Mexico was the tri-monthly, all-vestibule Montezuma Special inaugurated in late 1889 between New Orleans and Mexico City. Pullman initially operated and maintained its sleeping- and dining-car services in Mexico as districts of its U.S. operations. with employees used interchangeably between the two countries. By an action of the Mexican government in 1934, the movement of employees across the border was ended. Dining-car operations were taken over by the government-run railway in 1961, but Pullman continued as the sleeping-car concessionaire in Mexico until November 1970, nearly two years longer than in the United States." (Travel by Pullman: a century of service, by Joe Welsh, Bill Howes, MBI Publishing Company, 2004; "Pullman passenger service in Mexico ended in late 1970." The Cars of Pullman, by Joe Welsh, Bill Howes, Kevin J Holland, Voyageur Press, 2010)

November 13, 1970
The Pullman Co. of Mexico closed all operations on November 13, 1970. Operations were transferred to "Agencia de Carros Dormitorios" (ACD) and the Pullman name at the ends of the letter boards was replaced with "Dormitorio". (Jim Peters, email to the MexList discussion group, message no. 12250, dated January 24, 2008)

Servicio de Coches Dormitorios y Conexos (SCD) was created by the Mexican government to operate sleeper, diner, and lounge passenger service, and take ownership of passenger cars previously owned and operated by the state-owned railroads. (John M. Fiscella, email to the MexList discussion group, message no. 13795, dated May 26, 2009)

October 30, 1974
Operation and ownership of sleeper, diner, and lounge passenger cars in Mexico was transferred to "Servicio de Coches Dormitorio y Conexos, S. A. de C. V." (SCD). This is when the name "Nacionales de México" on the letter boards was replaced with "Mexico" and car numbers were assigned. (Jim Peters, email to the MexList discussion group, message no. 12250, dated January 24, 2008)

January 17, 1977
The government of Mexico announced in its Official Journal newspaper that it would merge the operations and management of the five state-controlled railroads into a single system, to be known as National Railways of Mexico (Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, or FNM), to be administered by the General Directorate of National Railways of Mexico.

The 1977 merger included the national sleeping car service, known as Servicio de Coches Dormitorios y Conexos (SCD), which managed and operated all of the sleeping cars on all five railroad companies, as well as the first- and second-class passenger service.

SCD essentially replaced Pullman de Mexico, and took over operations of non-Pullman sleepers too. It also operated dining cars and lounges which had not been operated by Pullman. (Mike Palmieri, email dated November 9, 2011)

November 7, 1986
The government of Mexico announced in its Official Journal newspaper that the four state-owned railroad companies (Pacifico, ChP, Sureste and SBC) were to be sold, along with SCD (Servicio de Coches Dormitorios)

August 27, 1987
The merger of the five Mexican railroads took effect, with FNM taking over formal operations. This may also be the date that SCD was abolished.

The full name for SCD was Servicio de Coches Dormitorio y Conexos, S. A. de C. V.

The government of Mexico, due to heavy debt and devalued Peso, passed a constitutional amendment that permitted the privatization of the nation's railway system and made plans for the piecemeal auctions of three main lines and several short lines. (Wikipedia)

June 24, 1997
Operations began for Grupo Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana S.A. de C.V. (TFM) (Wikipedia)

TFM -- TFM (Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana) was the former Ferrocarril del Noreste, S.A. de C.V. (FNE, or Northeast Railway), which consisted of 19 percent of the nation's trackage but 38 percent of its traffic (of which 70 percent was international traffic).

February 19, 1998
Operations began for Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V. (FerroMex) (Wikipedia)

FerroMex -- In 1997, Grupo Ferroviario Mexicano (FerroMex) was established by a consortium of three companies to purchase a 50-year operating concession of government-owned Ferrocarril Pacifico del Norte, S.A. de C.V., for $527 million. The consortium included Grupo Mexico and the U.S. company Union Pacific Corporation, with Grupo Mexico taking 74 percent. The FerroMex rail network of roughly 4,000 miles connected Mexico City with Ciudad Juarez (El Paso, Texas) and Mexicali (El Centro, California) on the U.S. border and included a passenger run for tourists through the Copper Canyon.

December 18, 1998
Operations began for Ferrocarril del Sureste S.A. de C.V. (FerroSur) (Wikipedia)

(The November 2003 issue of Trains magazine has an excellent article about Mexico's new railroads.)

Car Number Cross Reference

UP Car Number to Mexico Car Number

UP Car
Car Type
KCSM "Monterey" UP 8009 Dome Diner (AC&F, 1955)
SCD 365 "Club Atoyac" UP 6206 "Portneuf River" Lounge (AC&F, 1949)
FNM 366 "Expresso Del Mar"
(later FNM 371 "El Yaqui")
UP 7006 Dome Chair (AC&F 1955)
SCD 379 "Club Sonora" UP 6102 Dormitory Club (AC&F, 1949)
SCD 629 "Navarra" MILW 33 "Pacific Bridge" Sleeper (Budd, 1949)
SCD 630 "Aragon" MILW 35 "Pacific Guard" Sleeper (Budd, 1949)
SCD 631 "Galicia" MILW 34 "Pacific Cruiser" Sleeper (Budd, 1949)
SCD 632 "Versalles" MILW 36 "Pacific Harbor" Sleeper (Budd, 1949)
NdeM 701 "Monte Blanco" UP 1212 "National View" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
NdeM 702 "Monte Sinai" UP 1211 "National Shores" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 713 "Peten" UP 1301 "Ocean Sands" Sleeper (AC&F, 1953)
SCD 714 "Palenque" UP 1304 "Ocean Scene" Sleeper (AC&F, 1953)
SCD 715 "Cholula" UP 1305 "Ocean Sunset" Sleeper (AC&F, 1953)
SCD 724 "Toledo" UP 1507 "Placid Sea" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 731 "Aranjuez" UP 1509 "Placid Valley" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 732 "Mallorca" UP 1503 "Placid Haven" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 733 "Segovia" UP 1505 "Placid Meadow" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 734 "Cordoba" UP 1706 "Star Vale" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 735 "Cadiz" UP 1707 "Star View" Sleeper (Pullman-Standard, 1956)
SCD 736 "Iztaccihatl" UP 1601 "Sun Cape" Sleeper (AC&F, 1949)
SCD 737 "Popocatepetc" UP 1607 "Sun Point" Sleeper (AC&F, 1949)
SCD 738 "Paricutin" UP 1609 "Sun Ridge" Sleeper (AC&F, 1949)
NdeM 2281 UP 5716 Baggage (AC&F, 1957)
SCD 3592 "Monte Alban"
(later KSCM "Ciudad de Mexico")
UP 110 Business Car (Pullman, 1926; UP, 1944)
SCD 3593 "Agualeguas" UP 111 Business Car (Pullman, 1926; UP, 1943)
SCD 3676 "Durango" UP 4809 Diner (AC&F, 1949)
SCD 3680 "Zitacuaro" UP 4814 Diner (AC&F, 1949)
SCD 3673 "Nuevo Leon" UP 5000 Lunch Counter Cafe Lounge (AC&F, 1949)
NdeM 4207 UP 5472 Chair (AC&F, 1954)
NdeM 4208 UP 5474 Chair (AC&F, 1954)
NdeM 4209 UP 5475 Chair (AC&F, 1954)
NdeM 4210 UP 5482 Chair (AC&F, 1954)
NdeM 4211 UP 5484 Chair (AC&F, 1954)
FXE 149015 UP 7011 Dome Chair (Pullman-Standard, 1958)
  MP 11 Sleeper (Budd, 1940; MP, 1971)
  MP 20 Instruction Car (Budd, 1948; MP, 1970)
  UP 112 Business Car (Pullman, 1926; UP, 1944)
  UP 203 Instruction Car, ex UP Coach 5341 (Pullman-Standard, 1941)
  UP 204 Instruction Car, ex UP Coach 5335 (Pullman-Standard, 1941)
  UP 211 Instruction Car, ex UP Diner 4807 (AC&F, 1949)
  UP 4000 Cafeteria Lounge (AC&F 1955)

More Information

Pullman in Mexico -- Information on Tom Madden's Pullman site