Many feel the signature cars to Union Pacific's updated 1955 passenger fleet was their fifteen new 9000 series observation dome lounges numbered 9000 ~ 9014. One of the main reasons for this special attention was Union Pacific hired the famous Dorothy Draper design firm out of New York to create striking new interiors. The Dorothy Draper firm was renown for using bold and bright colors on furniture and interiors. Before I begin on how to create this interior, here's a link on how to make the outside of your 18” K-Line K4690-38003 car look like an UP observation dome lounge car: https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ion-pacific-dome-car . Once I had the ouside of my car completed, I was ready to made this interior look like a classic Union Pacific observation dome lounge.
In this build I needed to redo the upper dome seating and create three different style rooms on the main floor. According to the plans the main floor of this car is suppose to have:
1. A separate room for playing card in the front of the car
2. A middle bar section below the dome
3. An observation lounge at the rear of the car
Here's a look inside of the finished card room with painted passengers, gold drapes, card table and framed Union Pacific photos on the wall.
In the middle section below the dome there is now a bartender standing in front of a classic UP mural, rounded low-back barrel chairs, people, metal handrail and wormwood trimmed walls.
Here's a closer look at the bar section before people, wood walls, curtains and details were added. The new LED lights fit perfectly under the dome level and illuminates both the Union Pacific City of Los Angeles mural behind the bar. On the opposite wall from the bar I hung more UP artwork.
In the rear observation lounge section it now features brightly colored chairs, sofas, loveseats, working table lamp and writing desk with mirror.
As with my other interior upgrades the Union Pacific plans for this the 85 ft car did not line up my 18" semi-scale K-Line shell. I started by printing the ACF plans (1959 rev. d) on an 11 x 17 piece of paper so the floor would be about the same size as my K-Line metal base. I never found the original 1955 plans that showed the rear observation windows and rear facing couches but I found online photos with the differences. I will attached these ACF plans if anyone wants to upgrade your passenger cars at the end of the post.
Start by removing your existing K-line interior section from the shell. Then separate the old plastic dining car interior base from the metal frame. I kept these dining tables and bench seats so they could be use later in the build.
Install two wooden strips to elevate your new floor above the existing power wires that come up from the trucks. Line up your wooden strips with the factory screw hole locations. Tack down the two wood strips with glue. Make your new floor out of a thin sheet of 1/32” x 3” x 24” basswood. Cut the basswood to the same width as metal K-Line metal base. The new floor can be temporarily glued in place but will eventually permanently mounted using the same exact screws that held your old plastic interior. The new floor should be cut slightly shorter at the ends due to the clearance for end caps.
On this build I decided to lower the middle bar area so it would look more realistic from the outside. To lower this section move your power wires to the right side of the car and glue a thin sheet of wood to the steel floor under the wires. On the front left of this photo below you can see where I brought the power wires up through the floor for JW & A, 21000 Passenger Car LED Lighting Kit. This LED lighting kit provides better lighting for the new interior details with a lower profile than the old K-Line incandescent bulbs that came with this car. Also, these LED don't use as much power as incandescent bulbs and the lighting level is adjustable.
You can now start putting up the interior walls per the plans. The most important part of this semi-scale build is to position the new walls to fit inside the blank spaces between the windows on your K-Line shell. Start with marking your exact window locations with a pencil on your new basswood floor (using the shell as reference). Then arrange your interior walls to match inside your window spacing.
In these close up views it shows some my marked window locations and center line of the car.
At this point you can add point you can paint and add details like sofas, tables and chairs based on the Union Pacific plans. Make sure to arrange your furniture so your passengers can see out of the windows. To research the exact furniture and details of a City of Los Angeles observation dome lounge car I turned to the 592 page book "The Union Pacific Streamliners" by Ranks and Kratville. It gives written details, ACF plan views and includes black and white manufacturing images of when the cars were delivered in new condition to the Union Pacific. To find 1955 colors photos of 9000 passenger car interiors I turned to the book "Union Pacific's Streamliners" by Joe Walsh. Not only did this book show an original 1955 color photo of the lounge but Joe Walsh rode the real 9003 observation car during the City of Los Angeles's last trip in 1971 and he includes a color photo of the 9003's bar area. I made sure my bar section match these colors exactly.
Union Pacific made five of the 9000 series observation dome lounge cars (numbers 9000 ~ 9004) to run daily on their City of Los Angeles trains. The mural on the wall behind the bar was unique to these City of Los Angeles dome cars. From left to right the original mural showed an E8 hauling passenger cars, Union Pacific Turbine pulling freight and then the original M-10000 streamliner. In the center of the mural it shows a scene from the Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Point and some wild buffalo next to the M-10000. I wanted to include this mural behind my bar area but could not find a complete image anywhere in books or online. I ended up creating the wall mural below by piecing together multiple images of the real mural.
The 9000 domes cars used solid maroon colored seats and Union Pacific turned the dome seats outward 10 degrees so the passengers had better views of the American West. In the photos below you can see the before, during and after of the dome area with the repurposed bench seats from the original lower section interior that came with this car. You will have to remove the old floor from the dome area by cutting it off from the outside. Once the old floor is removed you can attach a new floor using some of the 1/16” x 3” x 24” basswood and then glue the bench seats in place. Note the bench seats were trimmed by the wall to get the 10 degree angle needed. The UP plans called out for 6 bench seats on each side but since this is semi-scale I could only fit 5 seats on each side. I used the K-Line, Arttista and Preiser figures from their 24 pack (part# 65602) in this build. And painted the figures to match the people in Union Pacific promotional photos. Since the floors in the dome area and the downstairs coach are higher than normal, you will need to trim the feet off these 1/45th scale figures. Also, in the dome you should trim the bottoms on your figures to make them fit under the glass top better.
I found 1/50th scale round back chairs on eBay for the bar area. The chairs for the card room from ScaleCityDesigns. The wine glasses, coffee pot, coffee cups and whisky glasses were from a place called StewartdollhouseCreations. All the round tables seen were made from the square tables that came with this car. Here is an overview of the card room and bar area next to the plans. During the build I kept the K-Line shell close by to verify the window spacing.
Next is an overhead look at the rear observation lounge area next to the plans. In this area I modified existing K-Line bench seats into couches, loveseats and chairs. Then painted them to match the bold Dorothy Draper colors. It’s interesting to look at how this observation cars interior design differs from a 1930’s Union Pacific observation car. In the 1930’s the designers arranged all the furniture looking inward so you could have conversations with your fellow travelers. But in this 1955 design almost all the furniture faces outward. It’s so people could sight-see and enjoy the views outside. Union Pacific was now selling family vacations across America by train instead of just marketing to business travelers.
I hope this write-up with plans helps others who want to upgrade their Union Pacific passenger car interiors.
To look at the other interior builds in this series click on the links below. They are listed in the order I run them on my layout: