Union Pacific Passenger Cars and Passenger Trains

Miscellaneous Notes

Index For This Page

This Page was updated on October 3, 2021.

(Return To UP Passenger Cars Index Page)

Notes about various subjects that don't belong or fit in other pages. (Listed alphbetically.)


From a history completed by John Weatherby, Union Pacific public relations, on August 23, 1978:

There have been two business cars with the name "Arden" on Union Pacific rails over the past 80 years. This name obviously has had considerable sentimental attachment to the Harriman family since before the turn of the century. "Arden" was the family or maiden name of a Mrs. Parrott, whose large country estate was purchased by Edward H. Harriman in 1885. Mr. Harriman either named or retained the name "Arden" for that estate.

Located in Orange County, New York, on the western side of the Hudson River, "Arden" was served by a station on the Erie Railroad that has been known as Harriman, New York, situated about six miles north of Tuxedo Park, N.Y.

In 1896 Mr. Harriman organized the Arden Farms Dairy on the estate and sold milk, not only to the residents of nearby towns such as Tuxedo Park, but also to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

In 1899 the private car ARDEN, No. 1900, was ordered new from Pullman and apparently delivered in 1900 to Edward H. Harriman. On May 31, 1908, about 15 months prior to the death of Mr. Harriman, the car became property of the Union Pacific Railroad retaining name and number. In the spring of 1909, the new Harriman family mansion ARDEN was completed on the estate. Shortly after Mr. Harriman's death, on September 9, 1909, the Executive Committee of the Union Pacific Railroad presented the business car ARDEN No. 1900 to Mrs. Harriman for use of the family, whose property it remained for over 20 years.

On August 22, 1929 the ARDEN No. 1900 was purchased by the Union Pacific from Mrs. Harriman and the name and number retired. The car then became UPRR Business Car No. 111, which was retired in June 1940.

Between the years 1929 and 1952, the UPRR all-steel Business Car No. 102 was, for the most part, assigned for the use of W. A. Harriman and other New York officers of the company.

In 1952 the name "ARDEN" was reinstated and assigned to a business car that had been rebuilt that year from Chair Car 5449. The #5449 was the last unit of the first lot in the 5400-5449 series. These cars were purchased from Pullman Car and Manufacturing Co. during the period from June to October, 1950. They were roomy, 44-seat leg-rest cars built of aluminum and steel -- the first of their type purchased by Union Pacific. All were received in the current Armour Yellow-red-gray color scheme, and were designed for use in streamliner service. The type of air conditioning on this first series was Frigidaire Electro Mechanical. They were equipped with radio cabinets and aerials, and had a wire and cable duct running along the top of the car roof. When #5449 was received from Pullman it went directly into UP's Omaha shops, without having seen passenger service. Remodeling the second "ARDEN" was completed in 1952 and assigned to Mr. E. R. Harriman.

Prior to January, 1976, the "ARDEN" had a steam heat system which required a boiler car for its steam supply. In January, 1976, the car was brought to Omaha shops for conversion to a self-contained hot water heating system. This makes use of a gas-fired water heater and a closed loop system with fin-type radiators for heat distribution. This new system requires no separate boiler car as a heat supply source.

Baker Hot-Water Heaters

UP Diners 383-392 were built in November 1923 as Pullman Lot 4719. These cars may have been equipped with either Baker hot-water heaters, or Baker-style hot-water heaters made by Fromweller, Gold and Pullman. Baker heaters heated the cars based on conduction, not convection. Usually, Baker heaters were applied to get independent heat, as in official cars or cars meant to be used on mixed trains, or to boost the heat in cars operated in very cold climates, which was likely the case for these UP diners.

The 1930s era UP Passenger Car Diagrams show heaters in Diners are for Class 83-D-4 built to General Design drawing CB-20525. The build dates range from 1921 to 1926. They involve many car numbers: UP 300-304, 367-397, and 4014-4018. The heater still shows in the Steward's End on the diagrams even after the 1932-1936 air conditioning additions. There was a noticeable vent stack on the roof above the heater at the car end (dining room). The new diagrams done in 1941 do not show a heater.

A smoke jack does not necessarily indicate a Baker heater; but an expansion tank on the clerestory, together with a smoke jack, near the end of a car, does. The expansion tank had to be at the highest point in the plumbing of the system. On lightweight cars, the expansion tank was under the roof. On cars with arch roofs, the tank sat on the side of the roof. The problem comes from researching a specification that sometimes does not indicate what was actually built. Changes could be made between the time the specification was drawn up and the car actually built. In the case of a UP 383-390, the floor plan showed a heater. The comparable elevation showed a smoke jack but not an expansion tank. Photos did show a Baker heater expansion tank.

(Email exchange between John Fiscella and Dick Harley, dated January 2 and 3, 2017)

Before The Streamliners

November 15, 1908
A 12-section sleeper was to be added to the Los Angeles Limited to handle the additional traffic, effective November 15, 1908. (Emery County Progress, November 7, 1908)

February 1932
In a news item in the local Davis County Clipper newspaper, Union Pacific announced that the diners assigned to the Los Angeles Limited and the San Francisco Overland Limited would be equipped with air conditioning. (Davis County Clipper, February 26, 1932)

Business (Office) Cars

The following comes from an early 2005 verion of UPRR.com:

For managerial reasons, the railroads were divided into divisions, each of which were in charge of a superintendent. In order to oversee a division, it was necessary for the superintendent to travel by rail. In addition to the superintendents, many officers from the headquarters were also required to travel a great deal. Business cars; cars with living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, secretary's rooms and bedrooms, were assigned to these men. Often away from home for weeks at a time, these officials needed a self-contained area for living and working. The cars were numbered and usually car 100 was assigned to the president. If the president got a new car and numbered it 100, then the old 100 was renumbered and reassigned. When a superintendent changed jobs or moved up the ladder, he might choose to take his car with him. In some cases this meant that the car would be renumbered. That is what makes tracing the history of business cars so difficult, and why some of the car histories chronicle so many numbers. Even today, moving car names from one car to another poses a challenge for those who must keep the names straight.

Canada Discovery Train

The Discovery Train ran during two consecutive years; first in 1978 and again in 1979. In April 1983, Union Pacific purchased the 19 cars of the Canada "Discovery Train" and assigned temporary company service numbers A201 to A219 to all cars. Fifteen of the 19 cars were former cars of the 1975-1976 "American Freedom Train" which was sold to the Canadian government in 1977.

In July 1987, UP changed the temporary numbers to permanent numbers in the 900000 series numbers. In 1990 the Union Pacific sold all but the two power cars (UPP 205 and UPP 206) to scrap dealers.

(Read more about the Canada Discovery Train)

Communicating Signals

From D&RGW Rules and Regulations, 1938


Note -- The signals prescribed are Illustrated by "o" for short sounds; "—" for longer sounds. Each exhaust of the air whistle should be clear and distinct.

(a) o o When standing: start.
(b) o o When running: stop at once.
(c) o o o When standing: back.
(d) o o o When running: stop at next passenger station.
(e) o o o o When standing: apply or release air brakes.
(f) o o o o When running: reduce speed.
(g) o o o o o When standing: recall flagman.
(h) o o o o o When running: increase speed.
(i) o o o o o o Increase train heat.
(j) — o Shut off train heat.
(k) — When running: brakes sticking; look back for hand signals.

From "Standard Railroad Signals", published in 1922 by the Railroad Educational Association:

Communicating Signals.

Each locomotive used in passenger train service is equipped with a small air whistle in the cab to enable the conductor to communicate signals to the engineer regarding desired movements of the train, and its operation.

These signals, as authorized, are described as follows:

TWO When the train is standing: START.
TWO When train is running: STOP AT ONCE.
THREE When train is standing: BACK.
THREE When train is running: STOP AT NEXT STATION.
FOUR When train is standing: APPLY or RELEASE AIR BRAKE.
FOUR When train is running: REDUCE SPEED.
FIVE When train is standing: CALL IN FLAGMAN.
FIVE When train is running: INCREASE SPEED.

Any of these signals are to be answered by the engineer with Signal G (two short blasts); except the signals to back—stop at next station—or call in flagman—either of which must be answered by the proper signal in each case; Signal H (three short blasts) to back or stop at next station, and either Signal D (four long blasts of at least two seconds each) for flagman to return from West or South, or Signal E (five long blasts of at least two seconds each) for flagman to return from East of North, according to the Rules.

Dome Cars, First Use

On Christmas Day (1954) the dome coaches started service on the "Challenger". The first dome car (#7000) made its debut a few days before as the rider car on mail trains #5 and #6." That test run on the mail train was the first revenue running of a dome on the UP; how many mail trains had dome service? (from Camerail Club's The Mixed Train, Issue 2020-5)

Dome Lounge Observation Cars

Greg Jeanes wrote on December 10, 2019:

'Car Names Numbers and Consists' by Wayner 1972 shows that the the Dome Lounge Observation cars (DLO) were only in CoStL consists. But 'The Streamliners' by Ranks and Kratville have that initially the DLOs were assigned to the Challenger and in Zimmerman's book the Domeliners there is a picture of a DLO with a Challenger sign on the rear of the train, unfortunately not dated.

UP timetable consists show only the April 24, 1955 edition that the DLOs were attached to the Challenger. June 20, 1955 timetable has DLO in CoStL consist. (DLO shown only  in CoLA and CoP consist in January 9, 1955 revised timetable which seems to have been printed/issued 3-1-55. DLOs not shown in the original January timetable)

End of train location vs. Mid-train location: UP timetable dated September 23, 1956 state that CoLA, CoP and CoStL consists have DLO. The next timetable I have January 16, 1957 shows these city trains with Dome-Lounge cars. Contrary to this, 'Overland Route Passenger Trains 1947-1971' by Strauss shows Dome Lounges missing from CoLA/Challenger consist May 2-4, 1956  and in August 2-4, 1956 CoLA and CoP were mid-train.

What is correct? Also how long were the domes out of service being modified? Some sources seem to be for several and up to six months yet the scope of the modifications appear to be minor and therefore would not require this amount of time out of service.

Equipment Ownership

At some time between the July 1911 issue of ORER, and the August 1915 issue, OSL and OWRR&N cars were changed to being lettered "Union Pacific" with either "O.S.L." or "O.W.R.R.&N." initials to indicate ownership. This likely reflects the system-wide renumbering of all passenger cars that took place beginning in early 1915. More research is needed to confirm this.

Fish Racks

What were fish racks, and how were they used?

The December 1893 issue of Railroad Car Journal, available from Google Books, included this in a description of a newly completed Canadian Pacific baggage car: "The baggage car, equipped with six-wheel trucks, has four side doors close together near the centre; this gives room for long "fish-racks" in the floor at each end; these are well designed for taking care of drainage."

The fish racks were located in a dammed area in baggage and express cars, and the racks were removable. The dammed area was lined with galvanized steel with a drain to the track. Almost any item being shipped could be stacked on them when dry. If the item being shipped was wet, such as iced merchandise like milk cans and sealed boxes of fish or shell fish, ice was placed around these items to keep them cooled. The melting ice water drained to the track and the rest of the car stayed dry. Some cars had fish racks at both ends of the car, others only at one end of the car. The railroads supplied the car and most likely Railway Express was actually the shipping company. (Jeff Cauthen, email dated March 26, 2014)

"Most baggage cars had fish racks from beginning to that last baggage cars made in the 1960's. They are a shallow sheet metal pan installed on the surface of the floor or in some cases recessed into the floor with open wood panels inside to protect the pan. The pan has drains to direct any water that may drip off of cargo outside and on the ground without rotting the car floor or soaking the luggage next to it. They got the name because they were used to carry iced fish to market and the name stuck. They were used to carry anything cold, iced, wet or that might leak en route. The panels allowed a rack to carry both wet and dry goods with out problems. The surface mount pans had a wedge shaped curb to support the edge and reduce the tripping hazard. In cars with the recessed pans you most likely wouldn't realize it was there unless you knew it." (Paul Dalleska, Narrow Gauge Forum, March 15, 2011)

"From the 1949 Car Builders Cyclopedia; Fish Rack -- see Floor Rack; Floor Rack -- A rack built for use on the floors of some types of express and baggage cars and in refrigerator cars to provide for certain classes of lading where leakage due to melting ice occurs. A floor rack is usually constructed of strips of wood cleated together or separated by filler blocks and bolted together, the complete rack being laid on the floor proper. This rack allows circulation of air and supports the lading above the drainage or any water which may accumulate. The size of the rack depends upon convenience in handling and in some cases hinges are used to permit folding up against the side of the car." (Ken Martin, Narrow Gauge Forum, March 20, 2011)

"Fish racks had a close lattice type construction. They were designed to hold iced fish, etc, with the raised rack permitting drainage. Basically used for perishable express shipments." (Mike Lehman, email to Soo Line Yahoo Group, dated March 24, 2012)

How Long Is A Passenger Car?

Union Pacific itself is not consistent. Looking at Union Pacific equipment diagrams, and at various issues of the Official Railway Equipment Register, and the Official Register of Passenger Train Equipment, they changed their minds on what length to call a car. End sill to end sill, over buffers, over pulling face of the couplers? All three have been used.

"Over buffers" is over the diaphragms, but diaphragms tend to vary in depth. Some cars had diaphragms, and some cars did not.

"Over ends sills" is the measurement from one end of the car's frame, and its covering sheet metal, to the other end. In the days of wooden cars, this measurement did not include end platforms, which were seen as extensions to the car.

"Over coupler pulling faces" is the measurement between the inside face of one coupler, to the inside face of the coupler at the other end. This measurement is important to the operations department to allow calculation of total train length.

As just one example, UP's 300 series Dining Cars were heavyweight cars built in 1920 through 1929; changed to 3600 series (36 seats) in 1940-1942, with some cars changed again to the 4600 series (46 seats) in 1946-1949. In all of the various issues and revisions of the railroad's diagram sheets, they were shown with 82'-5" over coupler pulling face and 82'-11-1/2" over buffers. In the earlier diagram books, these cars are shown as "C.S. 83' Dining Car" and as "Class 83'-D-4". They are shown in the 1929 Official Railway Equipment Register as either "83 feet" or as "72 feet & over", and in the 1937 ORER, they are shown as "70 feet & over". In UP's Equipment Record, the length shown for these cars is 79'-2"; on the diagram sheets this dimension is closest to the "Over End Sills" dimension which was 79'-6-1/2", meaning that this shorter dimension is likely an inside length dimension.

This roster includes all three measurements (Over Buffers; End Sills; and Over Coupler Pulling Face), depending on which measurement is given in whatever source is available.

Mail By Rail

From the Golden Gate Railroad Museum's web site:

The City of San Francisco, Train 101-102, began service between Chicago and Oakland Pier on June 14, 1936 making five round trips a month, on a swift under 40 hours schedule. It was among the first diesel streamliners in an era of custom built aluminum and stainless steel trains. The train was a joint operation of the Southern Pacific (Oakland - Ogden), Union Pacific (Ogden - Omaha) and Chicago and Northwestern (Omaha- Chicago). The train was so successful a larger train replaced it in 1938. In 1941 a second train was added and frequency was increased to 10 round trips a month. After the war, railroads ordered thousands of new cars to replace older equipment worn out by the huge transportation burden placed on the railroads during the war. Many orders for new streamlined passenger equipment included a matching RPO with regulation interior appointments. Enough equipment arrived by 1948 for the train to run daily. RPO cars were added in 1950 and ran until October 13, 1967. (UP 5901 RPO at GGRM; broken link <https://www.ggrm.org/collection/UP5901>)

The following comes from "Union Pacific Streamliners" by Kratville and Ranks, page 518:

After January 27, 1967 Railway Post Office cars were no longer operated between Ogden and Los Angeles. Thus ending a service that began in 1905 on the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad and continued with the M-10002 in 1936. The Southern Pacific shut down its portion of the Streamliner RPO operations on October 11, 1967 when the last RPO car left Oakland pier on the COSF.

Named and Numbered

(This article was first published in the UtahRails.net blog on May 29, 2014)

From the earliest days, railroad passenger cars, including those on Union Pacific, were named or numbered, sometimes both. Usually the names were officers of the railroad, or local town leaders. In 1895, the New York Times had an item about how George Pullman's daughter was responsible for naming Pullman's sleeper cars.

On Union Pacific, most of the named cars were Pullman sleeper cars, but there were a few officer and business cars that were also named. Beginning in 1934, Union Pacific operated a series of named and numbered passenger cars, all of which were assigned to its Streamliner passenger trains.

From February 1934 through August 1941, Union Pacific received what it called the 1st through 10th trains. These were dedicated lightweight passenger train sets, and included numerous named Pullman sleeper cars. Known collectively as The Streamliners, the earliest train sets included motive power (locomotives) that were permanently part of each train set. These were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th trains. The 1st and 2nd trains were fully articulated as a single train set. The 3rd and 4th trains were mostly articulated, but had separate locomotives and separate Auxiliary Baggage Dormitory cars between the motive power and the articulated cars that followed.

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 both the 3rd and 4th trains themselves. 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.

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. All of the cars assigned to the 5th and 6th trains had straight sides, looking very similar to later lightweight passenger cars.

The 7th and 8th trains had specially designed, non-standard locomotives, known as Model E2, which only operated as part of The Streamliners. The 7th Streamliner train set was placed in service in December 1937 as the new City of Los Angeles and was made up of 14 cars, 10 of which were articulated in pairs, and four were stand-alone, non-articulated cars. 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 were stand-alone, non-articulated cars.

The 9th and 10th trains went into service in July and August 1941 as additional train sets for City of Los Angeles and City of San Francisco service, allowing the 2nd and 3rd trains from 1934-1935 to be either reassigned or retired completely. Each of the new-in-1941 trains was made up of newly delivered E6 standard locomotives and new cars delivered in 1941. The exception for each additional train was a single set of two articulated sleepers from the 7th and 8th trains that had been delivered in 1937.

I have just completed a series of web pages that I hope adds to the body of knowledge for the histories of each of these named and numbered lightweight cars assigned to UP's 1st through 10th trains. Included are specific dates from UP's Equipment Record ledger book for the various remodeling changes that took place, as well as specific dates that each car was renumbered or renamed, or removed from service and retired. I have also tried to combine information from sources such as the landmark Union Pacific Streamliners book from 1974, and from two of David Randall's works: Streamliner cars, Volume 1, Pullman, published in 1981, and The Official Pullman-Standard Library, Volumes 13 and 14, published in 1993.

(Read more about Union Pacific's Named Streamliner Lightweight Cars)

(Read more about Union Pacific's Numbered Streamliner Lightweight Cars)

Observation Cars After 1947

The following was posted by Michael Grenstedt to the old Streamliner email discussion group on OneList.com:

In 1947 the City of Portland, the City of Los Angeles and the City of San Francisco streamliners became daily trains. This was accomplished by shuffling about existing equipment mostly from the Challenger and the Overland Limited. The only problem was there were only four non-articulated observation cars, two already on the City of Los Angeles and two on the City of San Francisco.

As a minimum of 12 consists were needed for the daily service, eight streamlined former women's coaches from service on the Challenger were remodeled into first class lounge cars complete with barber shops and showers and numbered UP 1516 through 1523 in early 1947. Four or five were assigned to the City of Portland with the others going to the extra-fare City of Los Angeles.

I have seen photographs of #1523 which shows a false smooth end having been fitted to the car with a red tail light surrounded by a built-in illuminated drumhead reading City of Los Angeles. I have also seen a photo of one of these cars featuring a false smooth end and a built-in I also believe that the City of San Francisco lost its two observation cars to the City of Los Angeles sometime in 1950, and that observation car California Republic was taken from the Pullman pool and painted UP yellow for service on the City of Los Angeles. If anyone can supply an exact dates or send me to a reference source that could supply them I would appreciate it.

Also any information about other observation cars that served on the post-war City streamliners before the coming of the domes in 1955 would be appreciated. I know that a New York Central observation car Royal Crest was operated on the City of Los Angeles in 1951 and was wrecked when hit from behind by the City of SF during a December blizzard. Samuel Vaughan Merrick was also operated on the City of Los Angeles sometime after that, but again I'm not quite sure when. In addition another observation car from the Pennsylvania RR containing a double bedroom and 2 master rooms was used on the City of Los Angeles in '54 and early '55 but at this time I am unaware of the car's name. (Michael Grenstedt, email dated December 3, 1999)

The cars involved were UP 5204, 5205, 5207, 5208, 5210 (five cars); rebuilt to blunt-end Club Lounge in February, April and May 1947 and renumbered to UP 1522, 1516, 1518, 1523, 1519. Also in 1947, UP 5206 and 5211 were rebuilt to Club Lounge, but without blunt ends, and renumbered to UP 1517 and 1520. UP 5203 had been rebuilt to Club Lounge in July 1946, and renumbered to UP 1521.

(A recently discovered photo of UP 1517 shows that it had a blunt end, along with a City of Portland lighted train name and Mars-brand signal light.)

Pullman Operations on UP

On September 14, 2004, David Seidel wrote the following about Pullman service on UP:

Pullman cars in pre WW2 era is a bit confusing. Many cars were "built" for certain passenger service, then moved on to other operations (sometimes in a very short time and others for a longer period). Example: Say a group of cars were ordered and built for the ATSF "Kansas Chief". However, the train didn't prove out and were then used on the B&O "Virginia Special" [both fake names, just to show an example]. In the case of the UP, cars were built for UP operations, but later moved to other operations on other railroads; the same is true that cars built for service on other railroads later came to the UP trains.

Another example are cars that were assigned to UP operations on a seasonal basis, i.e. a group of cars assigned to the "National Park Special", and other tour trains, in the summertime for tour operations, then used in NYC-Florida trains in the winter.

Pullman Line Numbers and UP Loading Numbers

How did Pullman's line numbers compare to Union Pacific's loading numbers?

Pullman line numbers were used in a number of Pullman records, and described routes that cars traveled over multiple railroads. Line numbers changed over time. The Pullman document "Descriptive List of Cars" for 1915, compared to Don Sarno's list gives accurate list of Pullman line numbers. (Robert Wayner, telephone conversation, December 1, 2012)

The Don Sarno list was a 1991 reprint of an original in the collection of Arthur Dubin. Its full title: Pullman Company SCHEDULE OF LINES, July 15, 1915. Published by B&J Publications (Don Sarno), St Louis, Missouri. This book lists ALL lines in North America (Canada, México, USA).

The forward in the Sarno reprint noted that the Pullman Company "Schedule of Lines" document was published from about 1914-1920, in both regional and nationwide formats. The Pullman document correlated the Pullman line numbers with specific train numbers, a correlation that was usually, but not always, possible if an Official Guide or public timetable is also used. The Schedule of Lines also provided information when cars were deadheaded for part of their run, when they were open for occupancy early or late, and other operational details.

Union Pacific added a new series of line numbers when The Challenger (Trains 107-108) was re-established in 1957. On the second page of the internal communication about the train, there is a column heading "Ldg. No." an abbreviation for "Loading Number" which was Union Pacific's equivalent of Pullman's "Line Number."

(Read the Union Pacific internal Mailgram from November 1957, re-establishing The Challenger; PDF; 2 pages; 900KB)

The following was posted by John S. Horvath to the Passenger Car List on Yahoogroups:

A "line number" was a number assigned by Pullman for internal accounting purposes to a given Pullman-operated sleeper or parlor routing between two points on a particular train. A line number could thus cover more than one railroad. In some cases it covered more than one car. In general, line numbers would not appear in PTTs (there may have been exceptions) but only in correspondence within Pullman or between Pullman and railroads.

A "loading number" was a railroad-created alphanumeric designation used for reservation and ticketing purposes. Each car with reserved accommodations (coach or parlor seat, sleeping space) on each train had a unique loading number that was displayed in a car window close to the vestibule. That loading number would also appear on a passenger's ticket so they knew which car to board. Loading numbers sometimes incorporated the train number (one sees this in the UP examples) but not always. Usually the loading number was different depending on which direction a train was going (again, the UP examples show this) but some railroads used the same line number for both directions of a train. Some railroads showed loading numbers in public timetables, others did not." (John S. Horvath, email dated February 17, 2014)

John Fiscella adds that there was also an additional number, call it a "listing number" or a similar name, assigned after 1961 in Descriptive Lists, which permanently remained with a car, heavyweight or lightweight, even if the car was completely rebuilt to a different configuration. (John Fiscella, email dated February 17, 2014)

David Seidel wrote the following on October 10, 2008:

Sleeping Car "Line" Numbers -- For reservations and ticketing, the Pullman/railroads used a system of "line numbers" (also known as "loading numbers") for the sleepers used for service. Up until about 1946 the system used was a letter/number system that was used by Pullman from its early days of its operations. The new system used the train number and car of that train system. Special charters, thru and local service was a mix of a letters/number system. An example of a "line" would be to provide sleeper accommodations of compartments, bedrooms and drawing rooms between Chicago and Portland. This "line" would use a 2 drawing room - 4 compartment - 4 bedroom type car with a line number of "1054" (C&NW/UP train 105 and car 4). The "line" number would be based as to the original location/train of that sleeper. Sleepers that would be interchanged to other trains would carry the original number until the competition of its journey. At first only the sleepers were given "line" or "loading" numbers; however, in time the coaches were also given a number system due to the newer reservations systems the railroad were adapting.

An example of a train with these "line" numbers C&NW/UP "City of Los Angeles", train 103, westbound at Omaha (Nebraska) on October 11, 1955:

Type Line
UP 5647 baggage    
UP SF-104 baggage/dorm    
C&NW 3442 coach line 1039  
C&NW 3448 coach line 1038  
UP 6206 lounge    
UP 4812 diner    
Palos Verdes 4-4-2 sleeper line 1037  
Hunters Point 4-4-2 sleeper line 1036  
American Plains 6-6-4 sleeper line 1035 1
Stoney Rapids 10-6 sleeper line PA-5 2
Imperial Bird 4-4-2 sleeper line 5910 3
American Fortress 6-6-4 sleeper line 2032 4
UP 9000 dome observation lounge    


  1. "American Plains"; Also on this consist the regular scheduled 6 sect-6 rmette-4 d bedrm, "line 1035" was substituted by a 10 rmette-6 d bedrm car. In the 1960s the system reflected the changes of traffic and combination of trains.
  2. "Stoney Rapids"; This sleeper was the New York - Los Angeles thru sleeper and via the PRR and carried this special thru service "line" number on PRR's "Broadway Limited".
  3. "Imperial Bird"; This sleeper was the New York - Los Angeles thru sleeper and via the NYC and carried its NYC train number #59 "The Chicagoan". (note) This "line" was to interchange with C&NW/UP "Los Angeles Limited"; however, on this date it missed connections in Chicago and was added to the "City of Los Angeles".
  4. "American Fortress"; This sleeper was the Minneapolis - Los Angeles thru sleeper and via the C&NW and carried its C&NW train #203 "The North American". (note) Car added at Omaha.

In the 1960s the system reflected the changes of traffic and combination of trains.

In the mid and late 1960s the combination of the "City of Everywhere" reflected this change the most. Chicago - Los Angles cars had "line" numbers of 103_/104_; however, the additional cars shown in service:

  • Chicago - Portland "City of Portland" cars carried "line" numbers 105_/106_ (cars cut off at Green River)
  • Chicago - Denver "City of Denver" cars carried 111_/112_ (cars cut off at North Platte)
  • Chicago - Oakland "City of San Francisco" cars carried 101_/102_ (cars cut off at Ogden)
  • St Louis - Los Angeles "City of St Louis" cars carried 9_/10_ (cars cut off at Cheyenne).

During the summer months added business reflected the former Streamlined "Challenger" service with Chicago - Los Angeles cars carried 107_/108_.

Short coaches were added between points such as: Kansas City - Denver, KC-1 & KC-2; Omaha - Los Angeles OM-1 & OM-2; Salt Lake City to Los Angeles LA-1 & LA-2 (One or more cars could be added with even numbers for eastbounds and odd numbers for westbounds) as a few examples.

The St Louis - Portland train "Portland Rose" cars carried numbers 17_/18_.

At times the coaches of the "City of Los Angeles" (trains 103 & 104) would be given a two digit "line" number: 3_ for westbound train 103 & 4_ for eastbound train 104.

It should also be noted that the type of cars and related "line" number didn't stay the same over the years. Due to changes of passenger traffic, equipment would be changed to reflect those changes. Examples: At times "line" 1044 would be a 6 sect-6 remette-4 bed rm car and other times it would be a 10 sect-6 bed rm car; "line" 1041 (or 41 at times when the two digit system was used) would be a coach and then at another time would be a dome coach.

Each "line" had a certain car type; however, if the regular car was unavailable, a different type of car could be used. This was always a major problem for the railroads. The ticket agents and Conductors would have to do what they could to accommodate the passenger. In most cases the car substituted would be an up graded type of car; only rarely was a lesser type of car used. In the case of a 6 section-6 rmette-4 bedrm car was replaced with a 10 rmette-6 bedrm car, the lucky passenger that bought a section would get a roomette. In a very rare case the lucky passenger could even get a bedroom.

Rebuilt vs. Remodeled

Passenger cars are "rebuilt" if the exterior features change, including the window and/or door arrangement, or features such as air conditioning was added.

Passenger cars are "remodeled" if interior walls change, or only the furniture is changed.

An example from folio diagram sheets: the 400-series arch-roof heavyweight Coach cars were shown as being "remodeled" by Pullman-Standard in 1936 when they were changed from coach seats to chair seats, and had smoking rooms added. 

Train Numbers on UP

On June 28, 2009, David Seidel wrote the following about the end of UP's using train numbers in locomotive number boards:

Was doing some research in old copies of the Camerail Club "The Mixed train" and ran across the following:

"Union Pacific discontinued the use of train number in locomotive indicators. The last train to use train numbers was train #28 that arrived in Omaha. From now on the locomotive number will be displayed and not the train number. The Union Pacific was one of the last railroads to still be using train numbers."

The date of this report was July 5, 1965. Train #28 departed North Platte just after midnight and arrived Omaha 7:00 am - the end of its run. Since the 5th was a Monday, I am guessing the change was effective at 12:01 am, Monday, July 5, 1965.

UP 2780-2786, Coaches

The following information applies to UP 2780-2786, below.

The following comes from Wayner's "The Complete Roster of Heavyweight Pullman Cars," published in 1985:

Five coach-sleepers owned by the Union Pacific Railroad operated on routes in the Pacific Northwest, with berths sold at tourist rates. All had previously been coach-dormitory cars, and before that, coaches. Cars 2781 and 2783 had 6 sections and 30 coach seats. Cars 2784, 2785 and 2786 each had 8 sections and 22 coach seats.

The following comes from Malcolm Laughlin, via email dated April 21, 2008:

This is the story of a small fleet of unique sleeping cars, the Union Pacific’s coach-sleepers. These cars had six or eight sections and 30 or 22 reclining coach seats. They were used entirely on branch lines in Washington except for a few years when one ran on a branch line in Nebraska. The cars were converted to the coach-sleeper configuration in 1932 and 1933. They were used until [1955].

The cars that became the coach-sleepers were part of a lot of 15 coaches (422-436) built in 1925, apparently for long haul trains. They were described in UP’s 1930 diagram book as “70 FT. COACH – with smoking room”, class 70-CO-S-2. Each car had 81 seats, including an eight seat smoking room and a two seat lounge opposite the ladies toilet. The odd number of coach seats is the result of a three seat sofa at one end of the coach section. These cars had six wheel trucks.

In 1930 the UP had a need for dormitory cars for dining car crews on their transcontinental limiteds. Eight of the day coaches were converted to coach-dormitory cars. Eight rows of coach seats and the smoking room were removed, leaving 43 coach seats. In their place were constructed six berth sections and a steward’s room with a private toilet. This was room for 12 cooks and waiters. At the coach end of the car, the two lounge seats were replaced by a men’s toilet. At the dormitory end of the car, on opposite sides of the door were a crew’s toilet and a washroom with a “bathtub” – more likely a shower as it was less than three feet across.

The only external change was the covering of one window in the middle of the car where the “crews wardrobe” was installed. These were cars 2780-2786, originally 422, 423, 425, 428, 431, 431 and 435. They are shown in the diagram book as “70 FT. Coach Dormitory”, class 70-CD-1.

In 1930 the UP had four short haul sleeper routes serving the Columbia River basin. From Portland there was service daily to Walla Walla, Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Yakima and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday to Lewiston. From Spokane there was daily service to Walla Walla. These routes were served by 12 section-drawing room cars.

By 1932 the impact of the depression was being felt in the decline of sleeping car patronage. Rather than eliminating sleeping car service altogether, the UP instituted coach-sleepers on the routes mentioned above. Five of the coach-dormitory cars were converted to coach-sleepers. The routes were the same, the only change in service schedule being the reduction of the Spokane-Walla Walla car to three times weekly. It departed from Spokane on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The change in equipment is shown in the [….] timetable. The cars are shown in the timetable as “tourist coach-sleeper”.

In 1932 and 1933, five of the coach dormitory cars were converted to coach-sleepers. The 43 coach seats were replaced with 30 reclining seats. The steward’s room became the men’s room, with four chairs and two wash stands plus a toilet. The crew’s toilet and wash room became two women’s toilets. The diagram shows a “dental bowl” in addition to the sink in each of the women’s toilets and men’s room.

On the car side there were changes to two windows. Glazed glass was placed in the window by the toilet, and one men’s room window was blocked. These cars were described in UP’s diagram book as “Chair Sleeper – 6 sections”. The converted cars were 2781 and 2783 through 2786.

In 1937, apparently in response to increased traffic, the UP modified three of the cars (2784-2786) to eight sections instead of six. The timetables show eight section cars on the routes from Portland to Walla Walla and Lewiston beginning in [2/40……6/38]. A sixth car, 2782, was converted to a six section coach-sleeper in 1937. This car retained the coach seats and was not equipped with reclining seats, retaining its 43 seat coach capacity. The timetables show no requirement for a sixth car. It may be that this car was for temporary use while each of the eight section cars was being modified.

The remaining coach-dormitory car apparently continued operating in its 1930 configuration. No changes are shown in a diagram update from 1941, and there is a photo of that car in Cheyenne taken in 1935.

The decline in use of the coach-sleepers began in [6/46….6/48]. The Spokane car was discontinued. The Portland-Walla Walla car was replaced by a 14 section tourist sleeper. The Yakima car is shown as an eight section car in June 1948 but six section in 1951, possibly an error in the listing. In 1951 a 10 section - three bedroom car is shown on the Walla Walla run.

An oddity that appears in the 1951 timetable is a six section coach-sleeper in service three times weekly from Omaha to South Torrington. No sleeping car service is shown on this route between 1930 and 1948 or after 1951. The 1951 timetable lists the service between North Platte and South Torrington as a mixed train.

By 1954 the Walla Walla service had been discontinued. By 1956 the Yakima service has gone, and the only remaining route, Portland-Lewiston shows an 8 section buffet lounge – on a route that had not previously had meal service.

(ed. note: The later diagram sheets show that air conditioning was installed in 1937 in UP 2781 and 2783-2786. The UP Equipment Record ledger book shows that the seven cars were retired in April 1957 to June 1958.)

(View a compiled PDF of the diagram sheets and other information about UP 2781-2786)

(Read the roster listings for these seven unique cars)

UP 5300-Class Chair Cars

Art Gibson asked on June 7, 2005:

Can anyone tell me if the 5300 coaches had their skirts removed or if they received different trucks during their service life? An example of the class car I am talking about is illustrated on page 72, top illustration, of "UP Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Vol. 2" by Lou Schmitz.

Dick Harley responded on the same date:

Art asks a very interesting question, for which the best answer may be found in the September 1965 photo he references.

The 5300-5327 Chair cars were built by Pullman in the summer of 1937 as part of lot 6510. They are illustrated in Vol. 14 of The Pullman Standard Library. On page 14 of that book is a photo of the unique 8'-6" wheelbase trucks used on Lot 6510 (which included the 5200-5211 Chair cars and the 5100-5104 Kitchen-Diners). The referenced photo shows those same trucks under 5322, though it appears that a stabilizer bar has been added to the outside of the trucks. Also, the diagram for these cars still shows 8'-6" trucks in the 12-1-64 revision.

The 1-5-54 revision of the diagram shows that the skirts were removed, but that obviously did not happen to 5322 before September 1965. Whether other cars in the series had their skirts removed or when, I do not know. I can't think of any UP passenger cars delivered after WWII that had skirts, and many pre-war cars (like the American and Imperial sleepers) had their skirts removed in the late 1940s. More photos need to be found to document the 5300-5327 Chair cars.

The 5300-5327 cars were retired in the mid 1960s. Car 5322 was retired June 1964, so the referenced photo is of the car after retirement.

Modeling the 5300-5327 Chair cars would be an interesting task. In addition to their unique trucks, they were also fairly unique in having truck centers of 56'-0" and a distance between coupler pulling faces of 81'-0". They were delivered with full width diaphragms, but those were removed in the 1940s. (UP Modelers Yahoo discussion group, June 7, 2005)

Which End Is the Front End?

Union Pacific was not consistent in presenting this designation. It is generally understood that the end to the left on the diagrams is the front end. But not always.

Looking over the equipment diagrams, then comparing directly with other internal documents tends to make the problem more obvious. For freight cars, the end of the car with the brake wheel is the rear end, or the end on the left hand side of the diagram. The opposite was apparently the case for passenger cars.

For those cars with vestibules on one end only, which end are they on? Again no consistent display on the diagrams. On cars assigned to Railway Post Office service, the mail catcher end is usually displayed on the right or left of the diagram. Again no consistency.

For Union Pacific's dome cars, the domes were not centered on the car and every photo of revenue operation shows the dome end to be toward the front of the train. On Dome Chair cars that means vestibule is on the back and on the Dome Lounges it is on the front. On the Dome Diners, the kitchen is usually at the left on the diagrams, except for the 5000 series cafe-lounges. Passengers in chair cars or coaches at the front of the train always had to pass the kitchen to get to the dining area.

Union Pacific assigned cafe-lounge cars to be accessible to coach passengers, so the kitchen end of the cafe lounge cars was at the rear, so customers would not pass the kitchen to get to the lounge or dining room.

For the most part the railroads (Union Pacific) did have a "forward or rear" of passenger cars. However, a few cars did operate in one direction as a rule: RPO/baggage - RPO forward due to mail contract. Usually it was the practice run coach cars with vestibules forward and sleepers rear; diners - kitchens rear; the UP domes had a deflector on roof line for better wind flow over the dome (coaches were vestibules rear; lounges forward); some lounge cars ran with main lounge area to the rear. In short they had no set rules on this. (David Seidel, email dated September 14, 2004)

Wyuta Wreck, 1951

Wyuta Wreck -- Information about the wreck at Wyuta, Wyoming, on November 12, 1951