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Lounge #3127

Adirondack Lounge #3127

When the Pennsylvania Railroad sought to modernize its passenger service, one result was a handsome set of matching Budd streamliners for Congressional service. Included in this set were a group of named 29-seat, 1-drawing room parlor cars. Most of these cars were later inherited by Amtrak and rebuilt as lounges; however, a few cars had their vestibules removed and were reconfigured as buffet-lounges. At least one was subsequently rebuilt again as a standard dining car and still serves actively.

During the height of Amtrak's Heritage program, these lounge cars served on many long- distance trains before the availability of new Amfleet II lounges. In the mid-1990s, as part of a campaign to popularize some of Amtrak's Northeastern routes, three lounge cars were assigned to service on the Adirondack and received special logos and names. Two of the cars, 3126 Adirondack Lodge and 3127 Saratoga Inn, were former PRR cars; the third, 3111 L'Auberge Laurentian, had come from the Santa Fe. These cars served until recently, when they were replaced by Amfleet cafe cars.

For several years, an Adirondack decal set has been available from Microscale. Now, with the release of a PRR-style lounge car from Walthers, it is finally possible to accurately model one of these distinctive cars. I began by following Amtrak's example, filling in several windows and converting others for emergency access, and also added a small hatch on each side where food supplies could be loaded into the car. I also replaced the Walthers 41-NDO trucks with a 41-N version, which I modified from the 41-ND trucks sold by IHC. Walthers now makes a 41-N truck that would be a perfect fit.

With the body work complete, it was time to begin decorating the car. For some odd reason, some Heritage cars were partially painted with Platinum Mist, but their lower side fluting was left as bare stainless steel. To represent this contrast, I airbrushed most of the car with Floquil Platinum Mist, then masked and painted the side fluting with Model Master's Stainless Steel Metalizer. I lightly buffed the fluting to highlight the stainless steel finish and make it stand out from the rest of the car. Next, I discovered what was to be the most tedious part of the project. I carefully applied the full-width decal stripes from the Microscale set, using plenty of Micro Sol to help settle the decal film around the edges of the windows. It would have been much easier to model car 3126, which has the narrower stripes, for that very reason. After applying the Adirondack logos, I added custom-made car type, number and name decals, since those included in the Microscale set are not the correct font style.

Click photos to enlarge
The 3127 Saratoga Inn has just exited State Line Tunnel on the New England Berkshire & Western club layout at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 12/3/04
Side view of the car at the same location. 12/3/04
Another view of the car at the same location. 12/3/04
The 3127 approaches Proctor, VT on the layout - it's a bit out of its normal New York-Montreal territory! 12/3/04
An overhead angle of the car after departing Saratoga Springs, NY. 12/3/04