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Erie limited, c.1951-c.1958

Erie Limited, c.1951-c.1958

Fred Klein, 2012, 2013

The Erie Limited was Erie railroad’s premier entry into the lucrative New York to Chicago passenger market. While New York Central and the Pennsylvania railroad dominated the run with a host of trains running different classes of service and varying number of stops and times of the day, the Erie had a different route through northern Pennsylvania and southern New York state but still kept to a relatively fast schedule. Crack NYC and PRR trains made the run in 16 hours, but the Erie Limited took 24 hours, so it was not the first choice for an end-to-end run but did serve intermediate passengers well. The Erie route was very scenic. It served New York City through the Jersey City passenger terminal.

 

The Erie Limited began as a through train in 1923. It was numbered 1 (westbound) or 2 (eastbound). The Erie was fully dieselized by 1956. Equipment was improved through the years and it ended up with “modern” 1949 10/6 sleeper cars when service was terminated in 1973. The Erie railroad prospered through the 1950s, but declines forced it to merge with the Delaware Lackawanna and Western railroad in 1960 to become the Erie Lackawanna.

 

An undated postcard, probably from the 1940s. It is a colorized photograph of the Erie Limited near Port Jervis New York. The coaches have not been modernized. Photo from Wikipedia.

 

Erie’s Lake Cities at Disko, Indiana on July 4, 1951 with E8 locomotives. The Erie Limited from the early 1950s should appear very similar, but I would guess that the Erie Limited would be longer and would have preference in getting cars repainted in the nice two-tone green. H.M. Strange photo, Classic Trains magazine, Summer 2010, page 35.

 

prototype car

number

maker

model car

model#

proto?

comment

4-6-2 steam locomotive

ERIE 2935

Life like

E8A diesel

ERIE 827

yes

Baggage-express

ERIE 575

Wheels of Time

70' hwt baggage-express

ERIE 587

yes

decaled; 1-3 baggage cars

Baggage-mail

ERIE 609

Microtrains

60' RPO-mail (HWT)

ERIE 639

similar

decaled

Coach 52seat

ERIE 1008

Concor

Coach (HWT)

ERIE 1102

similar

Coach

ERIE 2205

Concor

Coach (lwt)

ERIE 2205

similar

hwt rebuilds

Coach

ERIE 2256

Concor

Coach (lwt)

ERIE 2352

similar

hwt rebuilds

Diner-lounge

ERIE 946

Concor

Diner-lounge

ERIE 946

unknown

10 sect-1 draw-2 c

Scenic Island

Microtrains

10 sect-1 draw-2 comp

Erie Gull Lake

yes

sold to Erie 1948

6 sect-6 rmt-4 dbr

American Life

Intermtn

6 sect-6 rmt-4 dbr

E American Unity

yes

sold to Erie 1945

12 sect-1 draw  hwt

Telos

Concor

12 sect-1 draw (HWT)

E Scenic Cascade

yes

 

I model the consist as published by Wayner (Passenger train consists 1923-1973, page 43) departing from Jamestown New York on June 2, 1947. I have an Erie E8 diesel instead of the 4-6-2 Pacific in the published consist. By 1948, the sleepers would have “Erie” in the letterboard because of the sale of sleepers to individual railroads when Pullman got out of the sleeper car business. The 1945-48 sale would have not only changed the lettering, but some sleepers would be repainted in two-tone green colors under Erie ownership. Many heavyweight Erie coaches were modernized into smooth sides with wider windows after the war. The smoothside coaches made by Con cor are my substitution for these unique rebuilt Erie coaches, but the colors are similar even though the prototype cars were refurbished heavyweights. I believe Erie never bought any lightweight passenger cars new, but just refurbished heavyweights or bought used cars from other railroads or from Pullman. An Erie Pacific steam locomotive and more heavyweight coaches would more faithfully model an Erie Limited from the 1940s.

 

 

Head-end section

 

The power is an E8A diesel dating from the early 1950s.  This is a factory painted Life-Like model in the attractive 2-tone green scheme. One or more baggage/express cars would follow. The model is a decaled Wheels-of-time 70’ clerestory roofed baggage car. The 60’ railway post office model is decaled and from Micro-trains, but the 3-3 window arrangement would have changed to a 0-5 arrangement before the 1940s.

 

Coach section

 

Wayner’s 1947 consist lists 3 coaches, but there were sometimes more.  I have a heavyweight coach, and two lightweight coaches to substitute for Erie’s rebuilt coaches. The rebuilt coaches had wider windows than the original heavyweights, and the concor coach models have the correct color scheme even though they are based on a Great Northern short-haul coach. The diner is also a concor model based on a Great Northern prototype. I have never seen a photo of an Erie diner and do not know how accurate the model is, so it must remain a stand-in.

 

Sleeper section

 

The 1947 Erie Limited consist has 3 sleeper cars of different types. Fortunately, prototypical models exist of all 3 cars. The first is a 10 section-1 drawing room-2 compartment heavyweight of Pullman construction. Erie purchased the car from Pullman in 1948. My interpretation is that Erie re-lettered it but did not yet repaint it from Pullman green. In my train, I gave it a typical Pullman 10-1-2 name (Gull Lake), but Erie named these in the Scenic series. I lettered a Microtrains undecorated 10-1-2 model.

 

The lightweight 6 section-6 roomette-4 double bedroom car was new in 1942, and Erie bought it from Pullman in 1945. The prototype and model are painted a solid forest green, which is apparently what Pullman did to match modern Erie equipment. The 6-6-4 cars are in the American series, this named “American Unity”. I re-lettered the prototypical Intermountain car from Pullman to Erie as the railroad did in 1945. The 12 section-1 drawing room heavyweight sleeper is a stock Concor/Rivarossi model, painted in two-tone green. Erie bought its 12-1 cars from Pullman. I’m glad concor painted it two-tone whether Erie did or not, but the “Scenic” names concor used for its 12-1s were names Erie used for its 10-1-2s. Sleeper cars with curtained sections became unpopular after the war, and Erie replaced its older sleepers with 10 roomette-6 bedroom sleepers in the 1950s. I am not an Erie modeler, but any comments or correction are welcome.

 

 

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

 

REFERENCES

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Railroad

Kratville, William, Steam Steel and Limiteds, Kratville Publications, 1967.

Randall, David, From Zephyr to Amtrak, Prototype publications, 1972.

Schaefer, Mike, More Classic American Railroads, MBI publishing, 2000.



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