Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Some information about AZL’s Southern Pacific Sunset Limited Passenger set:
Before the start of Amtrak® on May 1, 1971, the Sunset Limited was operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Sunset Limited is the oldest named train in the United States, operating since November 1894 (though originally named the Sunset Express). The Sunset Limited was Southern Pacific’s premier train. Initially the Sunset Limited was an all-Pullman train, with sleeping cars and no coaches, running from New Orleans to San Francisco via Los Angeles. From its beginning in 1894 until streamlining in 1950, all the train’s cars had 6-wheel trucks and dark olive green paint with black roofs and trucks. In summer 1926 it was scheduled 71 hr 40 min New Orleans to San Francisco; it then carried a coast-to-coast sleeper Jacksonville to Los Angeles.1
The AZL Sunset Limited is representative of the train during the 1930s and 1940s. Until 1950 the train was pulled by 4-6-2 Pacific type and 4-8-4 GS-1 Northern type steam locomotives between New Orleans and El Paso, and by 4-8-2 MT-4 Mountain type and 4-8-4 GS-4 Northern type steam locomotives between El Paso and Los Angeles/San Francisco. Occasionally, even some 4-10-2 Southern Pacific type and 4-8-8-2 AC class Cab Forward type steam locomotives could be seen, especially on the western portion of its run. Steam occasionally appeared on the Sunset Limited until 1953.
The complete consist of the AZL Sunset Limited includes:
Labeled with “Southern Pacific Lines” this car was designed to be in compliance with the United States Mail standard for all 60’ Railway Post Office cars. It was built to the Common Standard for Harriman Line cars adopted March 26, 1907. RPO #4107 was one of 35 Class 60-P-4 built in lot 3842 by the Pullman Company in March 1911. The price was $110,000 per car. It was originally assigned to the Central Pacific, and then transferred to postal SP 4107 on August 31, 1931 and wrecked at Crystal Lake, California on September 12, 1932. Note that our research did not discover that this car had been wrecked in 1932 until after AZL had placed our production order. Had we known, this car would have been #4108, which survived until 1959, which was the common retirement year for this series of RPO cars.
This 70’ SP Class 70-B-9 baggage car was one of 10 built by the Standard Steel Car Company in December of 1928. #6450 was later upgraded to a “star” car with improved facilities for the baggage man. These cars had Harriman style arched roofs and Utility roof ventilators. Originally painted in SP olive green, it was repainted two tone grey in the late 1950s and saw service well into the 1960s.
This 12 section, 1 drawing room sleeper was the quintessential Heavyweight Pullman design, as well as the plan that was built in the largest quantity by the Pullman Company. “Brazos” was delivered on September 4, 1926 to Plan 3410A as a part of Lot 4945, and was assigned to the Sunset Limited. “Brazos” received Air Conditioning in March of 1935. It was reassigned to Pullman pool service in June of 1942 and sold to the SP on the last day of 1948. “Brazos” is named for the Brazos River. The Sunset Limited crosses the Brazos at Rosenberg, Texas.
This Pullman sleeper was built to the same Plan 3410A as “Brazos,” and delivered from the same Lot 4945 on October 2, 1926 and immediately assigned to the Sunset Limited. While the SP never embraced the 12-1 configuration, it eventually became the second largest user of the type. Like “Brazos,” “Pecos” also received air conditioning in March of 1935. While “Pecos” was never reassigned to Pullman pool service, it was sold to the Southern Pacific at the end of 1948 and was in active service through World War II. Named for the Pecos River, the Sunset Limited crossed the Pecos about 20 miles west of Del Rio, Texas.
10-1-2 “El Norte” and 10-1-2 “El Occidente”
These Pullman Sleeping cars had 10 Sections, 1 Drawing Room and 2 Compartments. They were built to Pullman Plan 2585 as a part of 30 car Lot #3942 and both assigned to the “Sunset Limited” in November of 1911. These were the first all-steel sleepers built for the SP They became the most populous type assigned to the SP, and were assigned to the SPs best trains: The “Overland Limited” and the “Sunset Limited.” The 10-1-2 was the Alpha and the Omega of the SP. They were the first and last Heavyweight Sleepers on the railroad. Both “El Norte” and “El Occidente” received air conditioning in April of 1935. “El Norte” was sold to the SP subsidiary T&NO at the end of 1948 and painted Two Tone Grey. It was retired from service in February of 1958. Both cars were Sold to Midwest Steel in July of 1962.
4-2-Lounge-Observation “Sunset Beach”
A group of 10 cars were built to Plan 3950A in Lot 4760 by The Pullman Company for use on the Sunset Limited in the spring of 1924. All were named in the “Sunset” series. “Sunset Beach” was built on May 16 of that year. The original Plan 3950A called for 4 compartments, 2 Drawing Rooms, an enclosed Observation Room with 14 seats, and a 3’ 11” Observation Platform. A writing desk and chair was located in the Observation room opposite the Observation platform. The car was laid out with a Men’s Toilet, followed by a Women’s Toilet and Shower, Compartments A, B & C; Drawing Room D & E, Compartment F, the Writing Desk, Observation Room, and finally the Observation Platform. The car was 74’ 6” over the end sills. These were the first Steel Observation cars built for the Sunset Limited and featured prominently in the promotional materials at the time. These cars were almost immediately converted to Plan 3950C: a 3-2-Lounge-Observation. This configuration transformed Compartment A into a Women’s Lounging Room, and relocated the door to the Women’s toilet and shower from the hall to connect through the Women’s Lounge. None of the “Sunset” series cars ever received Air Conditioning. As a result of World War II, the Government officials looked unfavorably upon Lounge cars, and like most Lounge-Observation cars, the “Sunset Beach” was sold to the U.S. Government and became Hospital Ward car #8921 in August, 1943.
6-3 “Glen Aladale”
These 6 Compartment, 3 Drawing Room sleeping cars were the most luxurious Pullmans assigned to the Southern Pacific. Compartments were essentially enclosed sections, but the Drawing Room, the most luxurious Pullman accommodation, had the section seating plus a couch and a private toilet. The “Glen Aladale” entered service on August 9, 1926. The car was built to Pullman Plan 3523A in Lot 4970, and converted to Plan 3523F in October of 1931. This was a minor change that involved adding wardrobes to the six compartments. All bedroom cars were very rare for the SP, and as the Great Depression sank in, they fell out of favor with SP management. These luxury cars carried half the number of paying passengers as a 14 section sleeper, and the pricy accommodations were difficult to sell. The “Glen Aladale” was assigned to only the best SP trains, such as the Sunset Limited as they had the greatest demand for bedroom units. In November of 1956, the car was repainted Two Tone Grey, and the name “Glen Aladale” was replaced with SP 8450. It was retired in June of 1965.
The Class 73-C-1 Parlor cars were originally built for the T&NO as clerestory coaches by ACF in January 1929. Less than a year later, they were rebuilt in the Houston shops as 28 seat parlor cars. The original coach seats were removed and replaced with revolving parlor seats. Odd number seats were on one side of the parlor, even numbers on the other. The simple coach toilets had been replaced by spacious lounges that were similar to those found in Pullman sleeping cars, complete with two wash basins, a sofa, and arm chairs. We have included SP 2804 in the Sunset Limited set. This car started off as T&NO 406, which was equipped with air conditioning in October 1934. It ran on the Sunbeam between Houston and Dallas until it was transferred to the Southern Pacific as SP 2805 in July 1939. While SP 2805 mainly worked the San Joaquin, it also worked other trains in the SP system such as the Sunset Limited. The car was again renumbered SP 2347 after it was converted to a 64-seat coach in August 1941, and it was retired in 1960.
36 Seat Dining Car
The SP 10003 was a 76’ 11” long Class 77-D-6 Dining Car built by The Pullman Company to Plan 7019A, Lot 6016 in March of 1927. These cars had clerestory roofs with Garland ventilators and rode on Class 6-TC-2 six wheel trucks. It always wore SP Green paint and was never repainted in two tone grey. The Kitchen included an Ice Refrigerator, Broiler, Range, Steam Table, Ice Well, and two sinks. The Pantry ud Ice wells, a Hot Table, Dish Drain, Tray Rack, Refrigerator and an Ice Cream well. The 36 seats were divided into 6 groups of tables for four on one side of the aisle, and a table for two on the other. At the end of the car was the maître d’ desk that included a cigar locker. The car was all electric lights with a 4 kW axel generator on the steward’s end of the car. The cars did not use gas for lighting, and did not have a gas tank. The SP 10003 was assigned to the Sunset Limited in 1939 after installation of Waukesha air conditioning. It was retired in 1957.
All information from the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society and Wikipedia.
All of the cars in the AZL Sunset Limited are unique to the set and not available for individual sale. We have produced this set so that our valued customers can purchase a complete prototypical Southern Pacific Heavyweight train typical of the Sunset Limited in its heyday.
Category: Rob's Blog