Observation Car on NYC 1935-38 20th Century Limited

Using Golden Gate Depot cars Im planning on pitting together a NYC 1935-38ish 20th Century Limited. Typically on these trains was the observation car always lettered Pullman or were some lettered New York Central?

Im taking a few prototypical liberties with my planned consist but as of now Im planning on ordering the baggage and diner lettered NYC in Pullman Green, Observation in either NYC or Pullman lettering in green and putting together 5 or 6 GGD sleepers lettered Pullman in green. 

I know that the exact car types may not be 100% accurate but I will be more than happy with what is available. Im mostly looking to get the lettering right.



Original Post

While I'm not as familiar with NYC heavyweight passenger cars, whether the car was lettered for the railroad name or for the Pullman Company depended on the configuration of the car.  Typically dining and sleeping cars were lettered for Pullman as they had a monopoly on providing those services to the railroads.  While I should be familiar with the configuration of the GGD observation, the floor plan escapes me now.  Many long distance observations had multiple bedrooms and typically a rear lounge.  Those would be lettered for the Pullman Company.  If the observation was all coach seating then typically it would be lettered for the railroad.

I know it's not the definitive answer you are looking for, but at least it's a start?

Looking forward to seeing your whole train! 

Jonathan Peiffer


So far all the pictures I've seen of the diner and baggage were lettered NYC. Pics of the observation mostly seem to be focused on the rear platform so its hard to tell. I know that all of the sleepers would be Pullman

I have a PRR observation from GGD. Im pretty sure it does not have any sleeping compartments. Just coach/lounge seating. Going by seating configuration sounds like a good way to pick the one to order.

That makes sense on the dining car.  Dining car services were contracted services so not all roads used the Pullman Company for those services.  I found this on Wikipedia.  This might be useful for you.  I found it to be very educational. 

Eastbound train #38—Advance 20th Century Limited, on February 7, 1930; Sampled at Chicago, Illinois.[10]

  • Locomotive: J-1 Class (4-6-4 Hudson) steam locomotive; NYC #5270;
  • Class CS Baggage-club car: NYC EAGLE HEIGHTS;
  • Class PS Sleeper (14-section): STAR VIEW;
  • Class PS Sleeper (8-section 1-drawing room 2-compartment): SPRING GAP;
  • Class PS Sleeper (6-compartment 3-drawing room): GLEN ALICE;
  • Class DA Dining car: NYC 387;
  • Class PS Sleeper (14-section): STAR SPUR;
  • Class PS Sleeper (10-section 2-double bedrooms): GANNETT PEAK;
  • Class PS Sleeper (8-section 1-drawing room 2-compartments): GLOVER GAP;
  • Class PSO Sleeper-Buffet-Lounge-Observation (1-drawing room 1-single bedroom): MOHAWK VALLEY.


Have fun putting together your train!

Jonathan Peiffer


greg773 posted:

Here is the interior layout. Im guessing those are sleeper compartments on top?

Yes.  You are correct.  Sleeping compartments in the front and lounge on the rear.  This should be a Pullman car for that era.  Now to to find a period photograph with proof!

Jonathan Peiffer


I looked into the books:

The observations of the 20th Century Ltd before 1938 where all of the Valley class an all lettered Pullman (according to Some Classic Trains (Arthur Dubin) and 20thCentury Limited (Karl Zimmermann)). The restaurants were lettered New York Central. The club baggage was also Pullman lettered. My 1 gauge Century is supposed to be correct:




Photos (3)

Fred, Thanks for those pics. I don't think the combine GGD is offering is close enough to the Club Baggage, so Im gonna skip over that car.

Jonathan, that website is excellent. So mush great info there!

Im going to email GGD and ask what names they plan on putting on the cars in this one. Hopefully its the Valley series

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