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Back in the mid 1990's 3rd rail constructed and imported brass PRR p54 cars. There was a baggage, combo and coach cars. Unlike the numerous PRR P70 coaches that are 80'long or 20" O scale, the P54 cars are a mere 64' long or approximately 16" long O scale. These cars would fit nicely in many o scale and o guage layouts just like the MTH 64' 1890's cars do. 

Since it has been over 15 years and technology has changed a bit, are there any PRR fans that want a passenger set that's prototypical for those layouts with less than O72 curves on them?

I see the following railroads may have purchased them second hand:

PRSL, Erie, NYS&W & N&W,

Maybe this time around Scott M can add the Postal Baggage car to the set!

Last edited by prrhorseshoecurve
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A couple of York's ago Scott and Robert Heil asked what projects I would like to see 3rdRail/GGD do.  I said the P54s as they had done them in brass along with the MP54s and already had most of the technical documentation.    I got a nod of interest.

We also discussed the open frame, 3-tier auto carriers of the 1960s.  The only model we were aware of was the brass kit produced by Avid Anderson.


I guess scott could try an announcement and see if there was enough interest.   Unfortunately, there always seems to be a few of them available at O scale trains shows.    I wonder if there is much interest since the brass still seem to be available.

Another point is that these were commuter cars.   I don't think they were ever used much in long distance service.    For me and from a prototype view, this is not a problem.    Commuter trains were much more common around the cities that the blue ribbon fleet.    However, many modelers seem to want to reproduce the famous name trains.

On a side note, I have seen a reference to the last time a P54 ran in the Pittsburgh area and the date was quite late.    Does anyone have any information on the use of P54 in the Pittsburgh area.

@MELGAR posted:

This brass model of Long Island Railroad P54 #178 by Sunset/3rd Rail is the finest passenger car model that I own. Very heavy and the trucks are outstanding. If produced again, I think they probably would be done in plastic. Sixteen inches in length.


I have seen other photos of the Sunset P54 cars and they have captured my interest. I don't model the long distance PRR passenger trains only because I don't have wide enough curves and enough straight areas on my layout to display the P70 cars to get the full impact of those great cars. Thanks for posting your photos.

@GG1 4877 posted:

Personally, I'd prefer a set of MP54s.  I have the Lionel MP54 set which is not terrible that I have plans to convert to 2 rail, but if offered properly as a 2 rail model I'd likely abandon those plans.

I have compared photos of the Sunset version and Lionel and can see rivet details is a little different but the the window and trucks placement seem to be the same but the window size is difficult to compare. How do your Lionel cars stack up scalewise, dimensionally and window and rivet placement.

Last edited by pennsynut
@pennsynut posted:

I have compared photos of the Sunset version and Lionel and can see rivet details is a little different but the the window and trucks placement seem to be the same but the window size is difficult to compare. How do your Lionel cars stack up scalewise, dimensionally and window and rivet placement.

That is an excellent question and one I'll need to look into.  I bought the set from a friend who no longer had any use for them and they went straight into storage for "future planning".  I'll need to get a car out and look it for accuracy.  They certainly feel proportional, but until I pull out a scale, I can't be sure.

@Jan posted:

3rdRail did tbhe MP54s in brass about the same decade they did the P54s.  Has anyone compared the Lionel, K-Line, and Railking MP54s?


I have no familiarity with the RK MP54s, but had both sets of the K-Line versions.  The 18" cars, while nicely done are not at all accurate.  They are based on the Pacific Electric cars if I recall correctly.  They are 8' too long scale wise.  I sold that set years ago.  The 15" K-Line set is closer at 60' scale feet, but proportionately the cars are slightly undersized.  I still have that set, but it will be sold when I get around to it.  It is not a bad set and even has some basic sound, but it does not accurately reflect the MP54.  As I mentioned above, Lionel appears to have done a fairly decent job with the detailing and has come the closest in the plastic world of O scale, but I really need to compare mine.

In the brass world, Custom Brass did some gorgeous cars in 2 rail O, but they are not easy to come by and often pricey.  I don't see the Sunset Brass MP54s come up very often at all.

I would be very interested in the GGD ABS version of the cars (PRR) especially if the same design trucks (for me 3 rail) were made. But in the meantime, has anyone measured the length, width and height of the Lionel and Mth models to see if they are dimensionally accurate? The Lionel and MTH versions seem pretty close from photos. Wondering about the quality and how they operate.

Last edited by pennsynut

"FWIW, during my web research about these cars, I came across a topic "mP54 vs P54 was mPBM54?" . I found it interesting how particular car designations were formulated."

As fare as I know, the "M" meant motor, or the ones converted to run on the electrifierd lines.    The P was a an unpowered passenger car.    The PB was a passenger-baggage combine.   A BM would be a baggage-mail combine.   an M in front of any of these would be a powered car ie MP54, MPB54.       I don't know what a PBM would be especially in a 54 ft car because it sort of implies Passegner-baggage-mail.

As I understand from reading articles in the PRRT&HS magazine, the P54 cars were built with the idea of converting them to MU cars.    They were designed for easy conversion, what ever that means.    And to follow on, I remember reading that most of them were converted to be MU cars.  

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