PULLMAN SLEEPER "AMERICAN LIBERTY"
ERIE RAILROAD No 5
This Pullman Standard (PS) lightweight sleeping car was one of the last built by Pullman before their breakup as big business, in 1942. It is a 6-6-4, which is used to refer to the Pullman accommodation types offered by this vehicle. 6 standard open berths, called sections; 6 private compartments, or roomettes; and 4 double bedrooms, or master bedrooms. This car is unique in that it has all types of accommodations Pullman offered, which was done only in the final lightweight years between 1940 and 1955. Many people mistake if for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class; however, as a Pullman, it is all first class, just with more upgraded first class options such as private roomettes designed for the overnight businessman taking the train between cities, and the luxurious double bedrooms at the front with their own 2 separate beds, toilet & sink, all of which could be used at once, unlike the roomettes, and with a wall that could open allowing children to have 1 half and the parents the other. The earliest and most common in the heavyweight era were the 12-1s, 12 open sections and 1 drawing room at the end. Later saw the emergence of the 10-1-1s and 10-1-2s, featuring 10 open sections, 1 drawing room, and either 1 or 2 private "roomette" compartments. In the 1930s Pullman rebuilt 125 12-1s in to 8-5s, with 8 sections and 5 master bedrooms, and showers. Pullmans did not traditionally have showers, but these 8-5s did, some of which were used by Southern Pacific and Western Pacific as cross country Pullmans making 3+ day trips benefited from a shower, something "American Liberty", being a Northeast overnight car, never had.
During the 1930s when first class rail travel slackened, Pullman bought the Standard Steel Company, creating Pullman Standard, or PS, the name all Pullman Sleepers, coaches, lounge cars, and other vehicles start with :PS LW X-X-X. During the 1930s they took advantage and upgraded many of the older cars with air conditioning, arched "turtleback" roofs (to accommodate the HVAC ducts), classic tubular "retro" wall lights, and new flat ceiling.s By the time the lightweights started rolling out, the insides were painted a simple green or tan, and the old cars had their wood grain and brass painted over so it did not seem as though the new cars were more simplistic than the old. One new luxury was the placement of small windows in the upper berths, something old heavyweights never offered, the only windows were the main sitting area ones, that became the lower berths at night.
"American Liberty" is a classic streamlined lightweight, from her steps that retract into the car body (like Amtrak's do today), to her welded side sheets, and the low profile one piece roof, exactly what railroads tried to mimic on their old heavyweights by adding a turtleback roof. Once Pullman was broken up the cars were liquidated, Pullman Inc. was still allowed to exist, but they couldn't make the cars, own the cars, lease the cars, and staff them. Because of this, many cars were offered for sale to whatever road was leasing them at the time, so "American Liberty" became Erie No. 5, with just a simple number on the side. The Erie Railroad operated No. 5 until 1970. By the time they retired the car, the rear open sections had only been used for use as crew sleeping areas and the car was only used on special trains and crew trains.
The Railroad Historical Center purchased the No 5 along with 746 in 1970 for $14,000 and brought them to Greenwood. It is still not completely clear how these two cars ended up in Greenwood, but we have several different theories on how they came to be located in Greenwood.
^ One of the 2 Double Bedrooms ^ ^ The Open Sections By Day ^
^ A Private "Roomette" Compartment for 1 ^ ^ Open Sections ^ ^ One of the 2 adjoining Double Bedrooms ^
^ The Restored Exterior Basking in the Sun ^
“Erie 5 'AMERICAN LIBERTY'.” RR Fallen Flags, rr-fallenflags.org/el/pax/erie-pu5ajh.jpg.