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Sleeper #2917

Sleeper #2917

The 10-roomette, 6-double-bedroom sleeping car was at one time ubiquitous on the long- distance trains run by many railroads. Different versions of this basic car type were built by Budd, Pullman and ACF in the late 1940s and early 1950s. When Amtrak inherited these cars in 1971, they eventually chose to keep only certain groups of Budd-built sleepers.

The most numerous 10-6 sleepers on Amtrak's roster were the Pacific-series cars that had come from the Union Pacific. These cars are grouped in three distinct number patterns: the 2900s were the first few cars converted, followed by the 2800s in the height of the Heritage Fleet rebuilding program, and finally joined by the 2400s which had one roomette enlarged to make them somewhat handicapped-accessible. While most of the cars are outwardly identical, the 2900s retained much of their original steam-heat underbody arrangement because they were quickly converted to head-end power simply by replacing the air conditioning compressor with a more modern style.

The 10-6 sleeper available from Walthers is an excellent replica of a 2400- or 2800- series car, but I decided to number mine as 2917 Pacific Island, which still survives as a private car. I had already begun to letter the car with custom decals when I found out that it needed to have a different underbody arrangement, so I ended up purchasing another Walthers model in Phase I paint and swapping out its steam-heat underbody. In fact, any of the other roadnames beside Amtrak would have worked, and I later stripped the paint from that car so I could build my #2448 ex-SP car.

The only other modification I made to this car was to also swap out the ends from the steam-heat car, since 2917 sported a different style of marker lights that were mounted right along the ribs on the ends of the car. I also liked the older style of diaphragms better, and after reshaping the top of the striker plate slightly to match photos, I also added lead springs and support bars made of styrene. These changes really add a lot of realism to the end of the car.

I still need to replace the old-style air conditioning compressor on the underbody with a newer-style part from Train Station Products. The car also needs to have other minor details like grab irons installed. However, it's great to have a model that is just slightly different from the vast majority of the other ex-UP cars on the roster.

Click photos to enlarge
Sleeper #2917 Pacific Island rolls along North Creek on the NEB&W club layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 4/26/05
The car passes by the steep rock faces near Willsboro bay on the layout. 4/26/05
Side view of the car at the same location. 4/26/05
A comparison photo of my three 10-6 sleepers, shown here sitting at Union Station in Troy, NY on the club layout. 4/26/05