DINER-LOUNGE No 746
This classic heavyweight restaurant car was built by the Pullman Company in 1925 to Plan 3952C. At that time the 946 as it was known it had all the trademarks of a classic heavyweight Pullman: 6 wheel bogeys/trucks, clerestory roof, and opening windows without climate control. The car was built for Pullman's dining car pool, and used in Seasonal Service, operating on the Southern Railway or Atlantic Coast Line in winter service, taking passengers down to winter in the South, and in Erie service in the summer. By 1930 the car had been sold to the Erie Railroad, as Pullman sold off many of it's non-sleeping cars to the railroads that operated them. As No 946, the car continued in service with multiple cosmetic changes, both internal (removal of a seating area and reinstating it as a lounge later) as well as external. Following the merger of Erie Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western in 1961, the car became Erie-Lackawanna Diner-Lounge 746.
During the 1930s when rail travel declined, many cars were rebuilt with air conditioning, classic tubular "retro" wall lights, and a new flat ceiling. The 946 was no exception, being rebuilt in 1936 with air conditioning and double glazed windows, still in the classic styled opening window frames, and retaining the clerestory roof outside. In order to reduce operating costs, the end of the car was turned into a smoking lounge, eliminating the need for a separate dining car and lounge car. Erie retained the classic brass Pullman overhead dome lights, which we proudly display to this day. In 1947 the car was again rebuilt, this time at Susquehanna Shops, when a large number of old clerestory roofed Pullmans were remodelled to look more like the new smooth side lightweight coaches. Whereas Heavyweights had large separate roofs, riveted sides, and outside window frames, the new lightweights were smooth sides, had inside window frames with flush exteriors, and streamlined roofs. The 946 gained the solid piece arched "turtleback" roof to give the appearance of a streamlined roof, large sealed smooth frame windows, new furnishings, new Mohawk carpeting, new Kitchen appliances (with gas range), and roller bearing bogeys from old Chesapeake and Ohio coaches from the C&O train, the George Washington (which had gotten entirley new cars). The brass dome lights were painted white at this time. The car was painted Pullman Green as 946 and then received striping to match the Erie E8s. With the 1961 merger, the car was renumbered 746, and painted grey and maroon.
The Railroad Historical Center purchased 746, along with Erie Sleeper No 5 in 1970. As for why Erie cars were obtained, there is no answer, although a popular rumor is that the planned Southern 3100 series heavyweight dining car planned was scrapped. After coming to Greenwood, 746 was painted allover green, as all the equipment was, and was used for diners and other events in the 1980s, but gradually faded into poor condition, until 2012-2013. Restoration work on 746 was complete in 2016 and we use the car for special dinner events. The lounge end can usually be found set as auxiliary seating for 16, but we do have the chairs for lounge use, safely restored and tucked away. When the car was restored all fabric that required replacement was replaced with authentic Mohawk fabric as was used in 1936. Ultimately we would love to have a full set of Pullman style aluminium chairs made to match the partial set of originals we have.
A Few Facts:
- 746 was originally a Pullman Pool "Restaurant Car", and one of the pool cars was used
for the Cardinal's Train in 1926.
- Sister car, No 741 is being restored by the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation
Society. A third fleet-mate survives as a static piece, having served as an office for
^ Erie Dinning Car 949 in the 1930s, note the extra door, toplight windows and clerestory. ^
^ The Lounge End of No 746 in the 1940s/1950s ^ ^ The Restored Interior of No 746 ^
^ 746 in Service in the Mid-1960s ^ ^ The Restored Kitchen ^ ^ Corridor ^
^ A Beautifully Repainted and Restored No 746 ^
In Service Image from Richard Tubbs Collection
1930s Image from the Northeastern RR Collection