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The "Port Clinton"
12 Double Bedroom Sleeper

by: Greg Jandura

Named after a community in North Central Ohio situated between Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay, is the ex-New York Central Railroad 12 Double Bedroom "Pullman" car The "Port Clinton" #10510. This car is one of 14 similar cars constructed by Pullman-Standard Company between April-May 1949 and numbered #10500-#10513 to floor plan Plm. Std. 87-B-2l (Plan 4125), Lot 2193.

This order number, 6790, was exclusively assigned to the "Detroiter," "Commodore Vanderbilt," and "20th Century Limited." The "Port Clinton" is known to have seen regular service on the "Century." The "Port Clinton" with its 12 Double Bedrooms that open up en-suite had the rooms located along one side of the car which usually faced the Hudson River side so as to afford passengers a scenic view along the "Water Level Route." A narrow corridor ran the entire car on the opposite side with walls painted a light green. The individual rooms were painted a light yellow and the sofas were of a blue green mohair fabric. Brown loop carpeting prevailed throughout each room as well as the corridor. Each bedroom had two beds which opened up longtitudinally, one by folding down the sofa and the other came down by releasing a lever in the curved ceiling over the window. Here could also be found the most modern conveniences of 1949 including flourescent lighting, individual heat and cool controls and bath-room facilities. The cars exterior was done up in the New York Central two-tone grey with white striping above and below the windows and also had white lettering and numbers.

During the Penn-Central era the "Port Clinton" was renumbered to #4213. Later, it was sold to Mr. Ted Church who had it stored on the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad in Albion, Pennsylvania. Subsequently, WNYRHS benefactor, the late Francis McGrath purchased this historic car for $10,000 and donated it to our society in 1983. The "Port Clinton" was repainted soon afterward to a drab olive green with thin yellow striping above and below the windows and renamed "Fort Rhodes" in yellow for a starring role in the motion picture "The Natural" with Robert Redford. Unfortunately, the film footage showing this car at the Exchange street Station in Buffalo wound up on the cutting room floor.

This color scheme remains today. At a work party in Hamburg this past August, caulking was performed on a few corridor windows, some glass panes replaced and a general cleaning of the interior was undertaken. The cars interior is in pretty good condition, but the outside will need sheet metal work for preservation. Hopefully, plans envision the "Port Clinton" being restored to its original New York Central exterior and used for either overnight travel or premium daytime private accomodations. The car is currently in storage at the Hamburg, New York work site. If one sits back on one of the bedroom sofas you can envision being transported back in time to 1957 as you are aboard the "20th Century Limited" heading for Chicago. The scenic Hudson Highlands roll past at dusk while the dining car steward is announcing the first call to dinner. I wonder what famous sport legend, millionaire, movie star, or celebrity of the day or ordinary traveler will be on board the "Port Clinton" tonight!

2004 view of Port Clinton #10510 in "The Natural" colors. - Click to ENLARGE (11K)-(50K)

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The WNYRHS, Inc. P.O. Box 416, Buffalo, NY. 14231-0416 is an independent organization and has no affiliation with any other local or national group. The Society is a fully qualified organization under 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and all donations to the Society are tax deductible. This page last updated on February 17th, 2006  ęCopyright 1999 - 2006 WNYRHS Inc. all rights reserved

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