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. This car is unique in that it has all types of standard 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 wood car and heavyweight eras (1867-1930) were the 12-1s, 12 open sections and 1 very large 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. Even with these increases showers were still not standard, something "American Liberty" has never had much to the surprise of many.
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 ceilings. By the time the lightweights started rolling out, the insides were painted a simple green or tan, and the old rebuilt "new" cars had their wood grain and brass painted over to match the new cars. 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, the operating side of Pullman was sold to the railroads that leased the cars 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 as crew sleeping areas, and the car was only used on special trains and work trains. However unlike other sleeping cars, No. 5 was not modified into an outfit car as many sleeping cars were, with sections removed for a kitchen and showering facitilies.
The Railroad Historical Center purchased the No 5 along with 746 in 1970 for $14,000 and brought them to Greenwood, furnished and intact. 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 chosen.
^ One of the 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.