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Baggage #1801

Vermonter Baggage #1801

As part of the second-hand Heritage Fleet, Amtrak inherited several different types of baggage cars from its predecessors. Among these were a small fleet of 72' cars from the Northern Pacific, built originally by Pullman with a typical smooth-side construction. Following NP's usual practices, the cars rode on GSC Commonwealth 41-NDO outside-swinghanger trucks with an 8'-6" wheelbase. What sets these cars apart from most other baggage cars is that their sides are not mirror images: the larger door is always to the left. Drawings of these cars are available here.

Around 1994, after Amtrak's Montrealer was discontinued and replaced by the Vermonter, several Northeastern trains received baggage cars with brightly colored murals on the sides. Bike racks were installed inside the cars to attract riders wishing to bring bicycles on board the train. Three such cars were converted for Vermonter surface, with 1800 and 1801 being ex-NP cars. The new Vermonter logo featured a sun setting behind twin rows of mountains and a stylized train rushing past.

Several years ago, Microscale released an excellent set of decals for modeling the Vermonter baggage cars. Unfortunately, no suitable model was available - existing cars either did not have space for the large mural, or had corrugated sides. For my model, I used the roof and ends from an Eastern Car Works core kit, trimming the roof to the correct length. The sides are laminated from styrene: an .040" sheet with door openings cut out, and an inner .020" sheet that includes the doors and windows. The floor is made from .080" styrene and is detailed with a center sill and other components cut from a scrap Model Power car. Grab irons are made from brass wire, and the roof vents are also styrene. The trucks are the 41-CUDO kits from Train Station Products, but will soon be replaced with 41-NDO trucks from Walthers.

All Amtrak smooth-side cars are painted with Platinum Mist, so I airbrushed my model accordingly using Floquil paint. After applying the decals, I sealed the car with Dullcote and added some basic weathering by overspraying lightly with black. The underbody is also black and will eventually receive some weathering.

Click photos to enlarge
The Vermonter baggage near Willsboro Bay, NY on the New England Berkshire & Western club layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 12/3/04
Side view of the car after exiting State Line Tunnel on the layout. 12/3/04
Another angle of the car at the same location. 12/3/04
The car approaches Proctor, VT with its famous marble factory and museum. 12/3/04
An overhead view of the car after just leaving Saratoga Springs, NY. 12/3/04