Pullman and NYC colour schemes

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Pullman and NYC colour schemes
Posted by Aurora SL 1 on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 7:11 AM

Hello, just joined this group, writing from Australia. 

For those of you in the States, this may seem an obvious question, so bear with me. I have long been puzzled by the similarity between the two-tone grey colour scheme of both the 1938 20th Century Limited and the two tone grey used by Pullman after the company stopped painting rollingstock in green. I know they are not identical, but the colour schemes seem remarkably similar and I can't imagine that the New York Central was too happy about Pullman appropriating 'their' colours? Was it just a coincidence? Part of an agreement between Pullman and the NYC? Did NYC take Pullman's colour scheme? 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 11:28 AM

Welcome  aboard!

Well, the two-tone grey scheme (with blue highlights on the 1938 version) was developed by Henry Dreyfuss for the "New and improved" 20th Century limited, a simpler version without the blue came out in 1940. 

So, we can say with certainty the Central came first, and Pullman followed afterward.  What the NYC had to say about that, or if they even cared I don't know.

At any rate, those WERE Pullman staffed cars on the Century.  I think the cars were even labelled "Pullman," whether they were Pullman property or not I'm not sure.  A "Century" expert's going to have to weigh in on this.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:06 PM

It was my impression that a substantial number of the lightweight Pullmans were 'painted to match' the consists they ran in.  This would only be enhanced in the years after the divestment became 'official' (about 1949) when the "Pullman Company" became railroad-owned.  (This also explains things like Armour-yellow Pullmans lettered 'Pennsylvania', which could be hard for model railroaders to explain, otherwise...)

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 9:22 PM

Hello and WELCOME!

My understanding of the use of "two-tone gray" by the Pullman Company is that it was the scheme applied to "Pool" cars. These were unassigned cars that could be pressed into service where demand warranted. The Pullman two-tone gray didn't replace the green, rather it supplemented it.

Perhaps it was Pullman's goal to apply a color scheme that would not stand out against other railroads colors, would also compliment the increasing use of stainless steel cars. Beside New York Central, the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific both had a two-toned gray scheme.

Pullman may actually have had two-tone gray in mind before Dreyfuss adopted it for the 1938 Century. Pullman had several experimental cars that were painted in various combinations of grays and aluminum. Muskingum River was entirely clad in stainless steel.

The two experimental Pullman cars, Progress and Advance (articulated) were both painted gray and predate the Century's roll out of lightweight cars by two-years or so.

A year after the Lightweight Century was re-equipped, 1939, American Milemaster was another Pullman experimental and painted in shades of gray.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 5:47 AM

Aurora SL 1

Hello, just joined this group, writing from Australia. 

For those of you in the States, this may seem an obvious question, so bear with me. I have long been puzzled by the similarity between the two-tone grey colour scheme of both the 1938 20th Century Limited and the two tone grey used by Pullman after the company stopped painting rollingstock in green. I know they are not identical, but the colour schemes seem remarkably similar and I can't imagine that the New York Central was too happy about Pullman appropriating 'their' colours? Was it just a coincidence? Part of an agreement between Pullman and the NYC? Did NYC take Pullman's colour scheme? 

 

The best reference to Pullman car colours is the "Pullman Paint and Lettering Notebook" by Arthur Dubin, published by Kalbach in 1997.

This is based on notebooks kept by Peter Falles, a Pullman painter who worked from 1914 until 1967, becoming the most senior in his trade.

It states on Page 23 that Pool Cars "are painted the same as New York Central Cars...  ---with the exception that the small stripes between the sashes are to be eliminated and our standard lettering is to be applied."

This refers to the 1939 modification of the "Twentieth Century" colour scheme where the blue edging was replaced by black edged silver stripes  which were narrower than those in the 1938 scheme.

The book has much more on two tone grey cars on "The Overland", "Golden State" and the SP "Lark".

It includes reproductions of paint chips, which show that the "Lark" dark grey was very slightly darker than that on NYC cars. 

I see your avatar represents the Melbourne end of the train, since the MHN vans did not have end doors....

Peter

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 7:04 AM

Right up until New York Central pulled out of Pullman in 1958, the NYC system was Pullman's largest customer.  To the Central the Pullman Pool represented an expansion pool which was used a great deal until traffic dropped to the point that NYC's own fleet was more than enough.  The gray paint scheme was also acceptable for service in otherwise stainless steel trains.

SP had a number of variations on the gray scheme, the last one being the 1950 "Cascade", whose markings bore more resemblance to a black and white photo of a contemporary Northern Pacific car than to the "Century".

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Posted by Aurora SL 1 on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 8:01 AM

Thanks for your responses and your welcomes to the forum, everyone, I have learnt quite a bit. I had forgotten about Progress and Advance, it is interesting that their colour schemes pre-dated the '38 Century. The point about grey paint and stanless steel harmonising in a consist is one I hadn't considered and makes a lot of sense.

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Posted by Aurora SL 1 on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 8:06 AM

M636C
I see your avatar represents the Melbourne end of the train, since the MHN vans did not have end doors....

One of my earliest (and fondest) memories of a train is watching the Aurora leave Spencer St. one winter night in 1975 and being both startled and hugely impressed by the blue neon sign. Not as good as a drumhead on an obs, but still classy in its own way. 

 
Aurora SL 1

Hello, just joined this group, writing from Australia. 

For those of you in the States, this may seem an obvious question, so bear with me. I have long been puzzled by the similarity between the two-tone grey colour scheme of both the 1938 20th Century Limited and the two tone grey used by Pullman after the company stopped painting rollingstock in green. I know they are not identical, but the colour schemes seem remarkably similar and I can't imagine that the New York Central was too happy about Pullman appropriating 'their' colours? Was it just a coincidence? Part of an agreement between Pullman and the NYC? Did NYC take Pullman's colour scheme? 

 

 

 

The best reference to Pullman car colours is the "Pullman Paint and Lettering Notebook" by Arthur Dubin, published by Kalbach in 1997.

This is based on notebooks kept by Peter Falles, a Pullman painter who worked from 1914 until 1967, becoming the most senior in his trade.

It states on Page 23 that Pool Cars "are painted the same as New York Central Cars...  ---with the exception that the small stripes between the sashes are to be eliminated and our standard lettering is to be applied."

This refers to the 1939 modification of the "Twentieth Century" colour scheme where the blue edging was replaced by black edged silver stripes  which were narrower than those in the 1938 scheme.

The book has much more on two tone grey cars on "The Overland", "Golden State" and the SP "Lark".

It includes reproductions of paint chips, which show that the "Lark" dark grey was very slightly darker than that on NYC cars. 

I see your avatar represents the Melbourne end of the train, since the MHN vans did not have end doors....

Peter

 

 

[/quote]

 
Aurora SL 1

Hello, just joined this group, writing from Australia. 

For those of you in the States, this may seem an obvious question, so bear with me. I have long been puzzled by the similarity between the two-tone grey colour scheme of both the 1938 20th Century Limited and the two tone grey used by Pullman after the company stopped painting rollingstock in green. I know they are not identical, but the colour schemes seem remarkably similar and I can't imagine that the New York Central was too happy about Pullman appropriating 'their' colours? Was it just a coincidence? Part of an agreement between Pullman and the NYC? Did NYC take Pullman's colour scheme? 

 

 

 

The best reference to Pullman car colours is the "Pullman Paint and Lettering Notebook" by Arthur Dubin, published by Kalbach in 1997.

This is based on notebooks kept by Peter Falles, a Pullman painter who worked from 1914 until 1967, becoming the most senior in his trade.

It states on Page 23 that Pool Cars "are painted the same as New York Central Cars...  ---with the exception that the small stripes between the sashes are to be eliminated and our standard lettering is to be applied."

This refers to the 1939 modification of the "Twentieth Century" colour scheme where the blue edging was replaced by black edged silver stripes  which were narrower than those in the 1938 scheme.

The book has much more on two tone grey cars on "The Overland", "Golden State" and the SP "Lark".

It includes reproductions of paint chips, which show that the "Lark" dark grey was very slightly darker than that on NYC cars. 

I see your avatar represents the Melbourne end of the train, since the MHN vans did not have end doors....

Peter

 

 

[/quote]

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 10:12 AM

Up to the Central's leaving the use of Pullman, efforts, varying with the importance of the train, to keep trains all-stainless or all grey.  The first break was the introduction of stainless Slumbercoaches on the grey Century, and then the effort fell-apart from there.  Photos should confirm this.  I recall all-stainless New England States and Empire State Express trains and all-grey Centuries and Pacemakers.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 10:16 PM

Did the switch from green to grey correspond to the switch from heavyweight to streamline cars?  Were any streamline cars painted pullman green?

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 11:09 PM

The two experimental Pullman cars, Progress and Advance (articulated) were both painted gray and predate the Century's roll out of lightweight cars by two-years or so.

In fact in Pullman Paint and Lettering, Dubin describes the colour of Advance and Progress as "Gunmetal" and this is expanded later in the description of the other cars repainted to form the Forty-Niner. The colour is described as polychromatic Grey, obtained by adding aluminium bronze powder to the paint. I assume this would appear much as present "metallic" paint finishes on current automobiles. It is specifically indicated that the Forty Niner cars were repainted to match the existing paint on Advance and Progress, with the wide black and gold lining, although the cars were renamed Bear Flag and California Republic. The two cars were repainted two tone grey in 1941 after the Forty Niner was discontinued, as were other cars from that train.

I first saw the Southern Aurora on 15 April 1962 when the train was placed on display in Sydney Terminal in advance of the inaugural trip the following day. It was described as the Sydney-Melbourne Limited Express since the name had not been announced. I saw it in operation on the second day of operation, when a school friend and his father took me to Summer Hill to watch the two trains pass by. This was the first time I saw the blue neon sign.

My first trip on the train was a couple of years later when my mother and I made a return trip to Melbourne. We were booked in the leading roomette car, and early in the morning I wandered forward and found that the door to the PHN HEP baggage car had not been locked. The doors to the guard's compartment had widows that could be wound down by a handle like those in automobiles, so I stood there for some time with my head out, listening to the locomotive just ahead. On the return trip I took a photo of my mother in the lounge car writing a letter to our relatives in Melbourne on special stationery with the train name at the purpose designed writing desk.

Peter

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, April 23, 2020 4:50 AM

Interpretation of the model manufacturer: SP's two tone grey (The Lark) on the top, NYC's two tone grey (20th Century Limited 1938) on the bottom. Yes, they are/were completely different in the pic/in real life.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, April 23, 2020 6:21 AM

MidlandMike
Were any streamline cars painted pullman green?

At least eleven that I know of, the four American series (6-6-4) built for the ERIE were delivered in June, 1942 in Pullman green. They got the lighter window band in 1953.

There were also seven, plan 4129A 10-6 sleepers delivered to the ERIE in 1949 also in Pullman green.

Good Luck, Ed

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, April 23, 2020 6:34 AM

Prewar Pullman pool cars were delivered in two tone gray, more like the Lark scheme than the NYC.  A few, like Roomette I and Forward, were delivered in polychromatic gunmetal paint.  The two unpainted cars, Muskingum River and George M. Pullman, received Lark two-tone gray and postwar two-tone gray respectively.  There were no postwar lightweight pool cars, though a few cars here and there were painted in two tone gray including a couple of PRR-owned cars.

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Posted by Aurora SL 1 on Thursday, April 23, 2020 7:25 AM

Thanks for sharing those memories, M636C, the ride in the PHN sounds spectacular. It's a big ask but can you remember the types of locomotives? I am guessing a couple of 44s in NSW, and an 'S' in Victoria? 

(* For those not in Australia, the 44 class were ALCO DL500B locomotives with 12-251B engines. The 'S' Class were derivatives of the EMD F7 with 16-567C engines; they rode on C-C trucks, not the B-B trucks the Fs used.)

Also, am I right in thinking the blue neon sign was retired when the Motorail service was introduced? (That's what I have been told). 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, April 23, 2020 10:21 AM

daveklepper

 The first break was the introduction of stainless Slumbercoaches on the grey Century, and then the effort fell-apart from there. 

 
All of the Slumbercoaches (Sleepercoaches on NYC) were stainless steel since they were Budd products.  The Slumbercoach assigned to the "North Coast Limited" was a real jolt.
The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, April 23, 2020 11:21 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

 

 
daveklepper

 The first break was the introduction of stainless Slumbercoaches on the grey Century, and then the effort fell-apart from there. 

 

 

 
All of the Slumbercoaches (Sleepercoaches on NYC) were stainless steel since they were Budd products.  The Slumbercoach assigned to the "North Coast Limited" was a real jolt.
 

Speaking of jolts, imagine a Pullman in UP colors on an IC train. In June of 1966, I spent the night in UP's "American Sailor," from North Cairo to Birmingham, on the Seminole--remember that cars lettered for foreign roads that ran regularly on IC trains were painted in IC colors. I think I found a possible answer a few weeks later when I went from Tuscaloosa to Shreveport--in Jackson, a coachload of soldiers, bound for camp near Shreveport, boarded--I thought they may have come into Jackson on IC's 6-6-4's that had arrived there on the Panama.   

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 23, 2020 11:59 AM

Deggesty
 
CSSHEGEWISCH 
daveklepper

 The first break was the introduction of stainless Slumbercoaches on the grey Century, and then the effort fell-apart from there.  

All of the Slumbercoaches (Sleepercoaches on NYC) were stainless steel since they were Budd products.  The Slumbercoach assigned to the "North Coast Limited" was a real jolt. 

Speaking of jolts, imagine a Pullman in UP colors on an IC train. In June of 1966, I spent the night in UP's "American Sailor," from North Cairo to Birmingham, on the Seminole--remember that cars lettered for foreign roads that ran regularly on IC trains were painted in IC colors. I think I found a possible answer a few weeks later when I went from Tuscaloosa to Shreveport--in Jackson, a coachload of soldiers, bound for camp near Shreveport, boarded--I thought they may have come into Jackson on IC's 6-6-4's that had arrived there on the Panama.   

I don't believe the IC was anywhere near as particular about the visual make up of the Seminole as they were for the Panama Limted, City of Miami and the City of New Orleans.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, April 23, 2020 4:24 PM

The Southern Aurora Apr. 12 1962

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_5IqyPvbCo

 

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, April 23, 2020 7:24 PM

Miningman

The Southern Aurora Apr. 12 1962

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_5IqyPvbCo

 

I realise that 58 years on, I have recalled events in the wrong order.

The ceremonial inaugural overnight passenger trains ran on Thursday 12 and Friday 13(!) April 1962. I was correct that I inspected the train on Sunday 15 April and that public service commenced 16 April.

So the name Southern Aurora was known by 15 April but was not included in the brochures handed out since they had to have been printed before the Thursday night name announcement.

On my first trip, I was looking out only in Victoria, so the locomotive was a single "S" class like those illustrated in the newsreel.

Peter

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, April 23, 2020 8:07 PM

MidlandMike

Did the switch from green to grey correspond to the switch from heavyweight to streamline cars?  Were any streamline cars painted pullman green?

 
I have three volumes of The Official Pullman Standard Library (Randall and Ross) covering prewar and postwar SP cars and NYC cars. As might be expected from the title, this provides very detailed coverage of streamlined cars, including a quite large gatefold reproduction of the original floor plans, along with simplified side elevations of both sides of each type of car.
 
SP in June 1936 ordered two 48 seat fluted stainless steel coaches for the Daylight, one for each train set in the familiar red and orange. In December 1936, seventeen cars to the same design were ordered, two in red and orange for the Sunbeam, but the remaining fifteen arrived in Pullman green without any lining for use on other trains.
 
It was the same with the articulated coach pairs ordered at the same time, four sets in red and orange for the two Daylight trains and five sets in Pullman green.
 
In each case more cars were green than in red and orange. Some coaches from a 1940 order were also delivered in green.
 
The same book suggests that Muskingum River (included because it ended up on the Lark after both observation cars were destroyed in rear end collisions) was sheathed in aluminium, not stainless steel, as other references (including Dubin) suggest. The floor plan doesn't clearly indicate the material.
 
Peter
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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, April 23, 2020 9:06 PM

Miningman

The Southern Aurora Apr. 12 1962

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_5IqyPvbCo

 

 

Thank you, Mining Man. It looks to have been quite a train.

I noticed that the upper berths could be opened by the passengers so they did not have to wait for the porter when they were ready to retire.

Johnny

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Posted by M636C on Thursday, April 23, 2020 10:55 PM

Deggesty

 

 
Miningman

The Southern Aurora Apr. 12 1962

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_5IqyPvbCo

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Mining Man. It looks to have been quite a train.

 

I noticed that the upper berths could be opened by the passengers so they did not have to wait for the porter when they were ready to retire.

 

The berths being operated by the passenger was usual in Australia, across all systems, although that wouldn't have worked with the earliest Mann type sleepers where the seat back was lifted up and the seat base was lowered to remove the backward tilt, and then the berths were made up. I only ever travelled on one such car and the berths were made up on departure.

There were a few cars with Pullman sections, but I only travelled on one of those on an official inspection train and again my berth was made up on departure. Only two of the berths were made up, since the car was basivcally for additional passengers, the remainder having berths in the business car attached.

I think that since there were effectively no Pullman sections in use post WWII in Australia, and all the berths were made up in the later Mann type compartments, it became usual for passengers to lower their own berths when required.

The Aurora was all first class sleeping, the train having fourteen cars all up. Ten of these were sleeping cars, five roomette cars with zig zag corridors, that allowed a pattenger to stand in the roomette and raise or lower the berth. There were four twinette cars, basically a US bedroom with two transverse berths (as shown in the video) but each compartment had its own combined toilet and shower enclosure . There was one twinette car with a luxury compartment which had two compartments combined into a single cabin with a double bed. I assume Viscount De l'isle had that room with his wife on the inaugural trip. This car accommodated eighteen, the others all had twenty berths.

The interiors of the lounge and dining cars are shown in the video. The three lounges had different murals on the glass panels, my favourite having Brolgas, large water bird similar to storks. Both sets ran on the 12/13th April, with the press on the second train, hence the exclusively middle aged male passengers  seen in the lounge and dining cars in the video. The passengers had a bit more class in normal service.

In the video of the train passing through Wodonga breaking a ribbon, the electrician can be seen looking out the window in the PHN power van that I used on my trip.

The news cameras had to step back quickly at Wodonga, because the broad gauge Spirit of Progress is seen passing through the crossing on one of its last trips, obscuring the departing view of the Southern Aurora.

Peter

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