Monday, September 3, 2012


NYC #48 as delivered, aisle side.
In March 1944 the New York Central Railroad (NYC) ordered four Round End Observation Buffet 53 Seat Lounge cars from the Budd Company of Philadelphia. These cars were delivered to the NYC in February, 1948 under Lot 9634-004 as NYC 48 to 51. 

Builder’s Plate located above the Kitchen Area

NYC #48 as delivered, bar side.

View inside the tavern area looking towards the back. Area surrounded by glass partition with aisle on right going back to the lounge area.

Floor Plan for NYC #48-51, Observation Tavern Lounge Cars

Two of the cars were assigned to the Pacemaker, one to the James Whitcomb Riley and one was a spare. The Pacemaker was NYC’s all-coach train between Chicago and New York City. The James Whitcomb Riley ran between Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

View from rear of the car looking towards the bar area. 
Note the chairs at the rear of the car are facing towards the side of the car.

View of 8 Seat Lunch Counter Area

In 1960 all four cars were sold to Kansas City Southern Railroad with #48 being renumbered to KCS #44. The cars were then sent to Pullman Company in 1963 to have the bar area replaced with an 8 seat (stool) lunch counter, the tavern and lounge areas of 53 seats replaced with a 32 seat lounge, two windows behind the bar area removed and the car painted in the KCS colors of black with yellow and red stripes at the bottom. The car was again renumbered to KCS #43. While on the KCS, these cars ran between Kansas City and New Orleans in the Southern Belle, as well as between Kansas City and Port Arthur, Texas in the Flying Crow.

NYC #50 as KCS #46/40 paint (Photo RR - FALLEN FLAGS web site, photographer unknown)

KCS #43 was retired in 1970 and sold to William Dodd, Baton Rouge, LA along with NYC #49. J. F. Williams then bought it, renamed it “Starlight Forty-Eight” and ran it on the Branson Scenic Railway. It was then bought by John Hickman who restored it to the NYC #48 exterior. Around 1980 it was occasionally stored at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, MD.

Soon after that it was transferred to Bill Jenkins, associated with the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, IN. He put the car into Amtrak charter service, usually doing round trip weekend excursions on the “shop train” between Beech Grove, IN Amtrak shops and Chicago. During this time it was listed under the Amtrak private car number 800083. The number is still on the side of the car.

In 1982 NYC #48 was used as part of the ARTRAIN as ARTX 105. This group still continues to take various pieces of art via train to cities that did not have an art museum in their town.

Amtrak eventually changed this schedule to become the Cardinal, and the switching charges made it prohibitive to get on and off. Amtrak also began to require full Head End Power. Consequently, the car was sold to Kasten Railcar Service who converted the car to head end power and did the glued-on veneer interior redecoration. The car was then run on charters out of St. Louis.

View towards rear of car
Looking toward lunch counter

Approximately 1995 Kasten traded the car to MARC for ten RDC cars. MARC had Kasten retruck the car to Pennsylvania Railroad trucks for commonality with the MARC Heritage car fleet. MARC then upgraded the car with a Stadco generator, a Moran HVAC control and emergency glass windows. The car operated on about five special events and was used as a meeting room for special meetings. It was then loaned to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

At some point during this time, one of the stools at the lunch counter was removed as the car currently only has seven stools.

In 2002 MARC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. This MOU allowed the Museum to use the car to provide HEP power for the MARC donated Heritage coaches being used by the Museum for its Mile One Express train ride to where the First Stone of the B&O Railroad was laid on 4 July 1828. In January 2009 MARC donated the car to the Museum where it is today.

Basic information provided by Steve Zuiderveen via email on 23 September 2006.
Photos of the car as NYC #48 from The Passenger Car Library, Volume 2, New York Central, Northeastern Railroads by W. David Randall.
Unless noted all other photos taken by Jack Walsh in May 2012, copyright B&O RR Museum.



scott davidson said...

As an encouraging mum, if I can say so myself, I had a nice time recently with my two kids to decorate their room in our new house that we just moved into. There were lots of the children's art work, made at home and school, that we happily put on the wall.
Then we spent time together sitting in front of the iMac and looked through the big collection of digital images that had for their customers to select from and have printed as canvas prints. The kids together chose this painting for their room, Ivan Horse by Edmund Dulac,, that we ordered online to have delivered to our new house.

John Rose said...

As mentioned above, along with this car, NYC #49 was sold to a Mr. Dodd of Baton Rouge, LA. Until I can confirm this, I believe #49 still exists as a static display, on its wheels but far from any rail line, at an antique shop in Jackson, LA and still in KCS colors. I'll be living just a few miles from there and I'll attempt to verify the identity of the Jackson car.

Jerry LaBoda said...

There are problems with the statements made in the Blog, about the car being used on the Artrain and dates specified.

One problem is the statement: "In 1982 NYC #48 was used as part of the ARTRAIN as ARTX 105."

In 1982 photos show only the former B&O coaches and a heavyweight baggage car being used, the same that remained on the train well into the 1990s.

The Artrain car 105 is also shown in Saint Paul, Mn., unrestored in 2006 and partially restored in 2007 - 2009...

ARTX 105, St. Paul, Mn., 2006
ARTX 105, St. Paul, Mn., 2006
ARTX 105, St. Paul, Mn., 2009
ARTX 105, St. Paul, Mn., 2009

In checking the Amtrak 800-series number on the car, 800083, the car's history shows it to have been NYC #50, which became KCS #46 and then #43 before being sold, at which time it was restored as NYC "#48". The actual NYC #48 was sold to a person in the Los Angeles, Ca., area back in the 70s and the car remains in the L.A. area to this day.

William B. Stewart said...

To help clarify this story, I purchased Kansas City Southern 43 from the railroad in 1970. It had been stored at the KCS shops in Pittsburg, Kansas, following discontinuance of that railroad's last passenger trains.

In a letter to me, a KCS mechanical officer reported that the original New York Central number of the car I purchased was NYC 48. Accordingly, I restored the car as NYC 48, contracting with Danville Industries, Inc. (a railroad equipment contractor operating the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois shops in Danville, Illinois) to remove the KCS black, red and yellow paint, then reupholstering the lounge chairs and adding new carpet, all in a russet shade similar to the shades of the original NYC upholstery and carpet.

The car was stored and maintained for me by the Indianapolis Union Railway at the former Pullman Company Capitol Avenue Coach Yard adjacent to Indianapolis Union Station. During 1971 and 1972 the car operated on several charter trips at the rear of Penn Central's James Whitcomb Riley (the car's original NYC assignment from 1948 through 1958) to Chicago and return and on Amtrak's National Limited to St. Louis and return.

In 1973-74 Penn Central discontinued switching service in the downtown Indianapolis area, insurance rates for private car operations began climbing and Amtrak sought other routes for its trains in Indiana, due to seriously deteriorating track conditions on Penn Central. I accepted an offer for the car from States Shows, Inc. of Florida.

In 1978 John Hickman and business associate Bill Jenkins purchased the car from Strates, converted it to head-end power and operated it in Amtrak charter service, based in Washington, D.C. Mr. Hickman and Mr. Jenkins subsequently sold the car to others.

The dual renumbering of these cars by the KCS has confused many people, including that KCS official and myself. One day in 1973, the late afternoon sun was highlighting the end door of my car, and I could see the ghost of a former NYC number above the window: 50! Years later, Mr. LaBoda has cracked the code.

William B. Stewart