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 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 was in full Erie service, as Pullman sold off some 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 lunge 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, Pullman took advantage and upgraded many of its cars 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 restaurant car and lounge car. Pullman retained their classic brass overhead lamps, 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 their train, the George Washington. The car was painted Pullman Green as 946 and then received striping to match the Erie E8s. By the 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. 746 was painted allover green, as all the equipment was, and was used for diners and other events in the 1980s, but gradually faded until 2012-2013. Restoration work on 746 was complete in 2016 and we use her 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.
^ 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