The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Full Trains of Passenger Cars and Yet More on Zuhr

OO gauge enthusiast and early manufacturer H. L. “Red” Adams, in an article on building passenger cars in the December, 1940 issue of Model Craftsman, noted
I have always like passenger cars and trains better than freight, switch drags, or work trains. I don’t mean this just as pertaining to my individual preference in travel, but rather to the matter of watching these trains, and of course specifically in building scale models of them.
Later in the article he also notes that
First of all it would be advisable to decide what passenger cars you eventually intend to have on your railroad. Rather than build a number of cars at random, I believe making a complete train at a time will prove better….

A good train consisting of various different type cars would be a baggage-mail, a combination, a coach, a diner, a Pullman sleeper, and an observation, either open platform, or solarium type. Some of you of course will want one of the popular all-coach trains, others all-Pullman extra fare jobs,--make ‘em to suit yourself. That’s the nice thing about our hobby, you choose your own gauge, your own prototypes; it’s your labor and your money, and your enjoyment. Don’t let somebody else tell you what type of equipment to build or what gauge to build it in.
As mentioned previously, this summer I am working on two groups of passenger cars. One group is mostly pre-war Nason heavyweights, and the other is mostly Zuhr streamliners.

Below are two of the cars, both recent eBay purchases. One is an RPO body, and the other their combination Pullman.

I had the model numbers of the various Zuhr cars as are listed in this prior post but I was not sure from descriptions what the long car was just from looking at. In my files however I found something from Donald Fraley that completely cleared up the question. Yes, that Donald Fraley that wrote the big book on Lionel. He was looking for more information on Zuhr and in 1999 sent me a nice note and Xerox copies of the sides of every model type Zuhr produced. Basically he set them on a Xerox machine and shot them in groups. In total there are four 11” cars (the 001 coach, the 005 baggage-coach combine, the 006 U.S. Mail and the 008 baggage) and four 13” cars (the 002 diner, the 003 18 roomette Pullman, the 004 combination Pullman, and the 007 observation). I don’t think I had much to add to what he wrote about in 1999 but I am glad to still have his information on file.

As to building the cars up, the Pullman was built up and really can’t be taken apart easily so I will leave it as it is but have replaced the crazy original trucks it came on (Varney F-3 trucks!) with Schorr trucks. The RPO I will have to work up a floor and doors for which won’t be that hard. I have end plates. I am debating a color scheme for the Orient and also to remove the bottom skirt off the RPO or not. Pierre did this on his and it is not only a nice look but it is also easier to build up the car with a removable floor. But then you do need correct underbody details. I will probably follow the lead of Pierre and go for a representation only of the correct details but I may try HO parts such as these.

Speaking of that Pierre car, a few months ago I featured it, a very nice Canadian RPO. It must be part of a longer train; if anyone out there has the matching set of cars for this model, let me know, I would like that model to be part of a full train again instead of an orphan.

UPDATE: My completed Zuhr OO train is here.

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