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Here's a how-to guide for anyone that wants to make a 4-4-2 Pullman sleeping car:

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This project started after I finished the interiors of my other K-Line Pullman cars.   I really wanted a Union Pacific sleeping car in my fleet with a different style window arrangement.  And there’s not a lot of options available for people in the 3-rail, unpainted, semi-scale, 18” aluminum shell only market.  Searching around the older posts in this OGR-Forum I got an idea to create a sleeping car from a 1990’s era Phoenix Railways 18” aluminum shell that I found on eBay

Phoenix shell 1



First, here’s the how-to on making an interior that correctly fits a Phoenix shell

For this build I recommend getting a frame with trucks already mounted from a used 18” aluminum K-Line streamline passenger car.  Used semi-scale K-Line car like this can be found at train swap meets or eBay for around $40.  On your 18" K-Line donor car start by removing the 2 black screws on each end that hold on the end caps.  Pull each end cap away from the shell and unplug the wires going to the overhead lights.  Slide the black metal frame with stock K-Line interior out of the K-Line shell.  Next, remove the small screws that hold the old plastic floor onto black metal frame.  Once the old plastic interior is gone, tack down 1/16" wooden strips with CA glue.  Important note: The Phoenix Railways shell needs to be elevated 2mm using styrene spacers.  Glue the spacers on each corner of the frame as shown below.

phoenix shell 2 spacer arrow



Follow the arrows below to find the four really good reasons why you need raise it 2mm.

  1. It makes your new Phoenix shell match the same roof height as your existing K-Line passenger cars.
  2. 2mm's allows clearance for the incoming power wires under your new 17 ½ x 2 ¼” x 1/32" basswood floor.
  3. Allows your new 1/32" thick basswood floor to slide perfectly into the side slots of the Phoenix shell.

phoenix shell 3 spacers and floor arrows

4.  Finally, the most important reason for the spacers is they allow clearance for the trucks to turn freely under the Phoenix shell. The K-Line frame with trucks centered very nice under the 18" Phoenix shell.  Only one set of the trucks needed 1/8” of filing on its top inside corners to make it around my layouts tight 42” curves.

Phoenix shell 5 arrow



I could have stopped right here and had a really nice silver passenger car for my layout.  It ran good and looked good but I wanted this car to match the rest of my Union Pacific cars so I kept going.  Tack down your basswood floor with CA glue to the wooden strips then reinstall the factory screws from the bottom.  Leave some room up front for a Hennings 21000 Passenger Car LED lighting kit's LED circuit board in the hallway between next to the bathroom.   Keep the plans close by on a printed sheet of 11" x 17" paper.  For this build I decided to mark the where the rooms are located on the basswood floor and then move the windows in the aluminum shell as needed.

phoenix shell 6



Yep, this is a different approach than my other sleeping car builds were I would normally shrink or stretch rooms to match the shells window openings.  This time around I was going to build the correctly sized rooms and move the windows in the aluminum Phoenix shell to match.  Glue the walls in place.  I'll attach my patterns at the end of the post for both the full and half size walls that fit inside this Phoenix shell.  They are ready to print on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.

Phoenix shell 7



Paint the floor, paint the walls and add mirrors in the rooms.   After the walls were dry I added chairs, a toilet and sink from ScaleCityDesign.   15x K-Line bench seats part# K4400-009-02 were ordered from Brasseur Electric Trains at .50 cents each.  These bench seats are very nice but not long enough to be used as full convertible sofas in the rooms.  Not a problem, because with a little bit of modification you can extend these to the length of the room.  To make a sofa, use 1-1/2 bench seats per room.  This can be done by cutting one bench seat in half and attaching it to another full size seat.   This 22 passenger, 4-4-2 series sleeping car has rooms marked A ~ J and some of the rooms can be made into a en suite by opening the partition door between rooms.

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I like to include unique details from the plans inside each new interior.  That way, no two passenger cars are the same.  I know a lot of these details below can’t be seen looking in through the tiny outside windows but I had fun including them in this sleeping car. The figures in this build are from K-Line, Arttista, Phoenix Scale Miniatures and Scale City Design.  The upper berths inside the four compartments are currently folded up and stored until this evening when the tired passengers can enjoy the warm blankets made by the North Star Woolen Mills in Minneapolis.  On the "A" end of the car you will find the clean linen and soiled linen lockers.

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On the "B" end or vestibule end of the car behind the common toilet-washroom the Pullman plans showed a closet for coats.  To get the correct colors for the brown carpet, tan walls and different furniture I found photos posted online of the existing Union Pacific 4-4-2 sleepers in museums.

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On this corner behind the folding seat for the sleeping car attendant is the water cooler and extra storage space for passenger's luggage.  Putting door outlines and door handles in the main corridor gives my guests something to look at on this side of the sleeping car.  The normal direction of travel for the Union Pacific's City of Los Angeles sleeping cars was vestibule forward.

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On the plans this corner had an electrical locker.  Note: online photos showed these 1941 sleeping cars did not have the stainless steel wall/kick plate down the main corridor to prevent luggage from scuffing the tan interior walls.

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This passenger has her luggage ready for arrival and just put down the Sunday newspaper. Next door a passenger is smoking his cigar and reading a book next to his wrinkled jacket.  Hats, coats, luggage, bags and other small items are from Preiser kit# 65811.

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This dad is holding his sleeping baby while next door the passenger in pink is enjoying a cup of tea that was delivered to her room.  In the center of this sleeping car is an empty compartment and empty drawing room.

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This family in this drawing room has the partition door open to a connecting compartment.  The father is sound asleep on the sofa after staying up all night with the toddler

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This passenger is putting on her lipstick and next door a business man waits with his briefcase and hat while looking at scenery passing by the window.

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Modifying and painting the Phoenix Railways aluminum shell

Union Pacific’s City of Los Angeles train ran many different types of sleeping cars over the years.  In 1937 Union Pacific’s 7th train ran articulated sleeping cars.  By 1940 Union Pacific’s articulated sleeping cars were falling out of favor (due to maintenance issues with these cars) and 19 new style sleeping cars were ordered.  These sleeping cars were ordered for the City of Los Angeles 7th and 9th trains and the City of San Francisco 8th and 10th trains.  The 19 new Pullman Standard cars started to arrive in July 1941 and all had the same 4 bedrooms, 4 compartments and 2 drawing room sleeping arrangements.

There’s only so much information I can get out of black and white photos in books.  To make the outside of this shell correctly I wanted to visit a real 4-4-2 sleeping car and take some detailed photos.   According to an internet search only two Union Pacific 4-4-2 sleeping cars are left in existence and the Millbrae Train Museum near South San Francisco had one of them.   The sky was gray and overcast the morning I arrived.

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The museum’s empty parking lot allowed for unobstructed views of their Pullman 4-4-2 sleeper named Civic Center.  This allowed me to get good detailed exterior photos of both sides that morning.  Pullman Standard delivered the Civic Center in September 1941 to the Union Pacific and it ran on the famous City of San Francisco train.

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Now that I had detailed photos I could start the modifications to the empty aluminum shell I found on eBay.  First was to add the upper and lower full length moldings out of 1mm half round styrene strips.  Then, shorten the 5 windows in the middle of the Phoenix shell using flat 2.0mm styrene (same for both sides of the car).  Blank off the extra window on the end.  Next spray everything with Tamiya gray primer.  After applying primer to the outside of your shell, look for any imperfections from the blanked off window sections.  If you find any, sand down or fill the imperfection and primer step again.  Repeat this process until the area is smooth.  Since I'm working with an 18” semi scale shell it did not have enough room to include the double window openings in the middle drawing rooms.

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This is only my second time using an air brush and I remembered the important lesson from the last time I tried to use it.  This time I went out and purchased air brush ready paint.  The paint used was Tru-Color Amour Yellow #TCP-026 and Harbor Mist Gray #TCP-025.  First apply the Amour Yellow paint with the air brush, once dried tape off and apply the Harbor Mist gray to the roof and skirts. Then, spray with Krylon glossy (2 coats).  After that step apply the decals.  The final step was to spray with Krylon flat (2 coats).  In 1941 Union Pacific’s premier City fleets used Amour Yellow, Harbor Mist Gray and red lettering w/red stripes as the paint scheme.  The full length anodized aluminum molding above and below the window were standard on all these 1941 sleepers (this molding was painted Amour yellow in later years).  Early paint schemes the 4-4-2 sleepers used the Cities full name in the upper-center section of the car.  Then in the 1950’s the trucks were painted silver and the City name was removed to show only Pullman in the center so the cars could be swap around the different routes to meet demand.  I picked the later paint-lettering scheme with the Pullman name in the center so this car would better match my K-Line passenger cars.

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Side view of the Phoenix shell's modifications to better match a 4-4-2 sleeper (same modifications done on both sides).

Changes to the Phoenix shell

Other exterior details were added to the shell at this time like clear windows, inside hand rail and outside side steps.  The diaphragm was part# 48-225 and roof vents were from ScaleCityDesign.  The end caps were Lionel part numbers # 2532-041 and 2532-042 from Brasseur Electric Trains.  Union Pacific provided each of the 4 upper berths with 2 small windows so passengers could look outside during the night while in bed.  A Cricut machine was used to create a sticker for the look of window openings with silver frames and black for the glass.  Microscale decal sheet #48-114 was used for the red stripes.  Microscale sheet #48-195 was used for the large Pullman name and smaller Union Pacific decals.   Following the advice of other forum members I used Micro Set under the decals and Micro Sol over the top of the decals and covered everything with clear flat coats of Krylon.     

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The names of these 4-4-2 sleeping cars built in 1941 were for well-known locations/streets at the destination cities in California.  The sleeping car names below with * asterisks in front have been saved in museums.

7th CoLA train Cabrillo, Figueroa and Arcadia.

9th CoLA train Los Feliz, San Gabriel, Olvera and Playa Del Ray.

(Extra sleepers to meet seasonal demand were Palos Verdes and Verdugo).

8th CoSF train Chinatown, Cliff house, Twin Peaks and Yerba Buena.

10th CoSF train *Civic Center, *Hunters Point, North Beach and Sutro Heights.

(Extra sleepers to meet seasonal demand were Angel Island and Lakeside).

For this build I picked the 4-4-2 sleeping car named Figueroa because it ran together with The Little Nugget lounge and Sun Valley observation cars on the CoLA 7th train.  The O-Gauge Figueroa decal can be found on the Champ Decal set P-30.  The Figueroa sleeping car had accumulated a lot of miles when it was finally retired by the Union Pacific in 1961.  It must have very been worn out after 20 years because the Union Pacific sold it to a scrap yard for recycling.

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I liked the quality of the 18" Phoenix Railways aluminum shell and would recommend them to anyone who wants to build an extra sleeping car for their consist.  Thank you to all the OGR forum members for the positive feedback on these builds over the last year.  And thank you for following this series.

To look at the other builds in this series click on the links below. They are listed in the order I run them on my layout:

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-an-e-8-cab-interior

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...interior-upgrade-rpo

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...6327-k4690#lastReply

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...car-interior-upgrade

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...enger-car-8003-k4690

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...lounge-car#lastReply  

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...oenix-aluminum-shell

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...enger-car-1305-k4690

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...upgrade-k-line-k4690

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...upgrade-k-line-k4690

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...senger-car#lastReply

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...upgrade-placid-haven

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...c-passenger-car-1575

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...-passenger-car-k4690

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Last edited by T.Albers
Original Post

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Yes sir'..indeed an excellent build and as stated great tutorial . I like the way you have the figures.  The compartments are right on... Thanks for the great post'....

I'll ad, It is a lot easier said then done, I've made several attempts at making compartments'.. Not even close to what you have accomplished'...'...👍⭐

Thanks Quarter Gauger.  I like how the rooms turned out in this 4-4-2 build also.  I felt kinda bad putting on the shell and covering it all. 😀 

@bob2 posted:

Did not know Phoenix made the UP extrusion.  The only one I knew about was the inaccurate Daylight extrusion.  Do these things come in 21" blanks?  As in no windows?

Hi @bob2,  Here is a blown up photo of a Phoenix Railway box label.   Phoenix Railways listed both Yellow and Gray version Union Pacific passenger cars but I'm not sure how many were actually made.

 

Phoenix Railways box sticker

I have seen older photos posted of Phoenix 21" cars on this forum but they already had windows and paint. 

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  • Phoenix Railways box sticker

The Phoenix Railway cars are out there, and there are even some full blanks around.  I like the Phoenix cars because they had a bigger variety of window arrangements for there time (early 90's), and are pretty accurate too.  I have a few boxes of the unpainted shells  for a Hiawatha beaver tail project in the future.  I have a  few sets; the Pennsylvania, Santa Fee and my favorite is the Daylight with articulated diner 3 car set and chair  2 car sets.  They are getting harder to find.

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  • phoenix railway hiawatha project cars: my future hiawatha project
@Pingman posted:

@T.Albers, what adhesive did you use to attach the 1mm strips to the aluminum car body?  I ask because I have a similar task--attaching think strips to fill-in a narrow, shallow channel running the length of a passenger car.

Wonderful post; superb project; beautifully documented.  Thanks for sharing.

Hi @Pingman, that's a great question.  Last time on The Little Nugget I used medium 5~10 second CA glue.  The problem was that medium glue got pushed out from behind the styrene strips and the glue needed to be sanded flat before painting.  I did not want that extra work again using these tiny 1mm half round strips.  So on this 4-4-2 Sleeper so I used "Super Thin" 1~3 second CA glue in the blue bottle.  You have to work real fast putting on your strips with this glue because it drys quick.  Here is a close up view of how the 1mm half round strips turned out with Super Thin CA glue.  Using the thin glue was the trick and I did not have any problems this time with it getting pushed out from behind the styrene strips.   

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Super Thin CA glue

Thanks! 👍

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  • thumbnail_IMG_7769
  • Super Thin CA glue
@Oldcarsrule posted:

The Phoenix Railway cars are out there, and there are even some full blanks around.  I like the Phoenix cars because they had a bigger variety of window arrangements for there time (early 90's), and are pretty accurate too.  I have a few boxes of the unpainted shells  for a Hiawatha beaver tail project in the future.  I have a  few sets; the Pennsylvania, Santa Fee and my favorite is the Daylight with articulated diner 3 car set and chair  2 car sets.  They are getting harder to find.

Hi @Oldcarsrule , do you have a clear photo of a Phoenix Railways box end you could post in this thread.

The box end photo I posted yesterday is hard to read.  I could not make out all the Road Names they offered.  And under types of cars offered by Phoenix Railways I think it says:

Type Car

  • Baggage
  • Lounge
  • Pullman
  • Art-Coach
  • Big Dome
  • Combine
  • Coach
  • Diner
  • Observation
  • Art-Diner
  • Dome
  • RPO
Last edited by T.Albers
@T.Albers posted:

 I did not want that extra work again using these tiny 1mm half round strips.  So on this 4-4-2 Sleeper so I used "Super Thin" 1~3 second CA glue in the blue bottle.  You have to work real fast putting on your strips with this glue because it drys quick.  Here is a close up view of how the 1mm half round strips turned out with Super Thin CA glue.  Using the thin glue was the trick and I did not have any problems this time with it getting pushed out from behind the styrene strips.   

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Super Thin CA glue

Thanks! 👍

Thanks for the reply.

Final question concerning the 1mm half-round strips:

How did you create and maintain the line for their precise placement; i.e., put them where you wanted and create a straight line from end to end?

Hi Pingman,

I got lucky with the Phoenix Railways shell.  This shell had four channels on the side.  Two channels for the 1mm half round molding.  And two channels for the red stripes.  The channels above and below the windows was about only about 1.75mm wide.  I made the two 1mm half round strips fit the best I could.

Phoenix shell channels

   

It does not sound like your shell has these channels, so I recommend lightly tacking or clamping a long straight piece of aluminum (using the existing windows as your straight edge) below the windows at the distance you need for your strips. In my example below this UP car would have needed a 2mm straight piece of aluminum between the window edges and molding strip.  Then glue your molding strips in place end to end.  Once the molding strips are dry remove the lightly tacked/clamped straight piece of aluminum and use it as your marker on the other side.  If you can find a box, square shaped aluminum in the size you want it might hold up better with out bending out of shape.  

Window as straight edge

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  • Phoenix shell channels
  • Window as straight edge
Last edited by T.Albers
@Oldcarsrule posted:

phoenix railway label earlyphoenix railway label late

Here are the 2 labels that I have seen. The later had fewer types of cars but included the articulated long and short lengths for the diner,  kitchen, club and chair cars.

Thank you for posting these Phoenix Railway box labels.  I did not know Phoenix had so many different car types and styles.  

Also, it interesting to see the Phoenix Railway labels have a blank box that can be ”filled-in” for customers that want to order custom road names.

@GG1 4877 posted:

That is a wonderful build and an excellent tutorial on how you built the car.  Thank you for such a great contribution!

Couldn't have said it better myself! A great result and your skill at moving window placements in aluminum body cars is, well, totally unique. I've only ever undertaken serious work on scale size (21") aluminum cars - partly because they are just easier to handle than 18/15" cars - but have never contemplated altering the mostly non-prototypical window placements on them.

With any luck I will get down to my own sleeping car project this year but don't intend to duplicate roomettes as you have, largely because I am using the existing windows and the interior will be my own (fantasy) railroad scheme.

@bob2 posted:

Did not know Phoenix made the UP extrusion.  The only one I knew about was the inaccurate Daylight extrusion.  Do these things come in 21" blanks?  As in no windows?

Hi @bob2 I did not find any blank Phoenix Railway shells for sale when I built this car.  But this 21" Mac Shops blank aluminum shell just got listed on ebay.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/MAC-S...a:g:MjoAAOSwrF1fWDUb

Cutting windows into this 21" blank shell would give an exact match to your prototype if you are modeling a Budd passenger car.

Last edited by T.Albers

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