Lettering a Pullman Green GN Heavyweight Diner

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  • Member since
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  • From: Trieste, Italy
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Lettering a Pullman Green GN Heavyweight Diner
Posted by GN_Fan on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 5:08 AM
I need a bit of help from GN fans.  I’m modeling a fictitious subsidiary of the GN in 1954 and have an old Rivarossi heavyweight diner that I’m refurbishing with new trucks, couplers, diaphragms, added weight, and Pullman Green livery.  I already have a Bachman HW diner named Minnesota in EB livery, and in keeping with the GN naming, I’m planning to use the name Montana.  The question then becomes should I letter it Great Northern, or could I possibly letter it Empire Builder?  Anyone know? 
Alea Iacta Est -- The Die Is Cast
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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 12:22 PM

By 1954 GN would be - except for head end cars (baggage, RPO) - be normally be using only streamlined cars on the Empire Builder. GN wanted all the cars in the Builder to be lettered Empire Builder rather than Great Northern, so did have backup cars that would normally be used on other trains but would be lettered for the Empire Builder. 

Anyway, if your car is going to be Pullman Green, I feel confident it would be lettered Great Northern not EB. By 1954, GN had bought enough streamlined cars that there were several lesser trains that had streamlined cars that could be used on the EB if needed.

Heavyweight diners built for the Empire Builder or Oriental Limited would have a name and a number, even after losing their EB lettering; others would just have a number.

Stix
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Posted by GN_Fan on Thursday, December 17, 2020 5:07 AM

WJSTIX....thanks for your reply.  I'm not modelling the GN per se, as I chose a fictitious GN subsidiary....the Montana and Idaho....my own road  As such, it used a lot of hand-me-downs from the GN as well as other roads....such as a GN S-1 and and S-2, an ATSF 3776 class 4-8-4, as well as mikes from SP and WP.  I have a full length LW Empire Buildder from Walthers, as well as 15 HW Pullmans from Branchline and several HW cars from Bachman in EB colors.  As a fictictious road, I can pretty much do what I want, and was thinking that the Rivarossi diner would look great on a more-or-less all heavyweight secondary train not on GN rails.  I guess my question would then become "In what year did HW Empire Builder cars lose their EB lettering?"  Is it possible that an EB heavyweight diner made it to 1954 without being re-lettered, then sold to another road?  Possible, but not probable?  It appears tho that a GN letterboard is appropriate.  Is this correct?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, December 17, 2020 6:24 AM

Most of this is a discussion for the MR forum, as it involves much more a 'my railroad, my rules' kind of alternate-history discussion than many "Classic Trains" aficionados may take interest in.

I for example would be astounded to see GN allow anything lettered for the Empire Builder to be transferred or sold for sole use on any secondary line without requiring the name removed -- perhaps even removing or overpainting it before delivering the car.  That would not necessarily be as much concern if GN considered the 'reason' for the EB lettering were solely to keep the train itself consistently 'presented', with use of the special equipment on other trains being considered as advertising or promotion value.  But against this would be potential negative impressions of "the brand" which could be substantial.  You'd 'need' a backstory about why EB cars would be in a given consist, and yes, sleepers to the EB would be a perfect excuse, but diners (which wouldn't go through) would not be.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, December 17, 2020 9:25 AM

GN first streamlined the Empire Builder in 1947. They had bought E-units for the train in 1945, but had to wait two more years to get the cars due to the huge backlogs caused by the high demands on the builders for new equipment.

After the Builder was streamlined, the old c.1929 heavyweights were assigned to a new Oriental Limited (which had been GN's premier train name before 1929). The heavyweights at that time were all relettered Great Northern I believe. In 1950 (IIRC) new streamlined equipment was delieverd for the Builder, and the 1947 cars were relettered for GN and assigned to the Oriental Limited, which was then renamed Western Star.

It's possible some heavyweight cars around that time retained EB lettering as a backup, but they almost certainly would have been repainted into the green and orange EB paintscheme. GN actually repainted (and rebuilt) a fair number of heavyweight cars to match the streamlined EB colors.

Stix

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