As I began to paint and update the cream colored interiors of my K-Line Union Pacific Passenger cars, I found the other non-updated interiors of my City of Los Angeles fleet matched less and less. Especially the K4690-31575 Sun Valley Observation Lounge car at the end of the train. The Sun Valley upgrade was a challenge because this car was made in 1937 and replace in UP service by the 9000 series Flat End Observation dome cars in 1955. As a result, I couldn't find any interior color photos of the Sun Valley #1575 (aka LA-901) or its sister car Nob Hill #1576 (aka SF-901) from the City of San Francisco.
To research the furniture and details inside this car I turned to the 592 page book The Union Pacific Streamliners. Even though the photos in the book are in black and white it gives plan views, building details and manufacturing images of the car when delivered to the Union Pacific. Also, after reading the Streamliner book I found out my K-Line interior didn't match the real interior of Union Pacific's 1575 Sun Valley.
It looked like K-Line's interior with the half-round bar in the center is a much closer match to Southern Pacific’s Daylight Lounge car called "Cascade Club".
I started by removing the old plastic K-line interior from the shell and separating the benches and tables from the base. Although the K-Line bench seats and tables were in the wrong locations; they were perfect size and will be reinstalled later. To make a new floor I used a thin sheet of 1/16” x 3” x 24” basswood. Then cut it to the same size as metal K-Line base with the rounded curve on one side. The barbershop end of the basswood floor was cut slightly shorter to allow clearance for vestibule doors/end cap.
Elevated the basswood floor on wooden strips to gain clearance above the existing power and ground wires from the trucks. Next, the new floor then got mounted on top of the metal K-line base using the same exact screw locations that held the plastic interior. The trick is to line up your wooden strips with the factory screw hole locations.
In 1999 K-line made this 18" long semi-scale compressed version of the real 83 foot Union Pacific 1575 Observation car. As with my other builds this meant the Union Pacific plans did not line up with the semi-scale K-Line windows. The most important part of this build is to position the tables, benches and chairs so the passengers can see out the windows like in real life. Start with marking your exact window locations with a pencil on your new basswood floor (using the shell as reference). Then starting at the back of the car arrange and glue your lounge chairs, benches and tables to match your window spacing. You can then you can figure out how much space you have left to start putting up the soda fountain/bar and barbershop walls based on the UP plans.
Black and white photos on pages 188 and 190 of the Streamliner book black showed the soda fountain/bar end of the Sun Valley car in 1937. I read the car had brown weave carpet, art Deco Lamps, bench seats and two different color lounge chairs. Apparently riding in a new lightweight aluminum car was all the rage back in the late 1930’s and Union Pacific made sure to put shiny aluminum trim on all the walls, benches, lamps and furniture inside this car. On page 189 other photos from the Streamliner book had images of the observation end of the car with lots of comfortable lounge chairs and ashtrays.
If you have never done a passenger car interior upgrade before I would recommend this to be your first. The reason is almost everything can be store bought. The bench seats and tables were reused but the lounge chairs, ashtrays, barbers chair, chairs for writing desks, soda bottles and 1930 art deco style lamps were all from ScaleCityDesigns.
Even though I did not find any interior color photos of the Sun Valley in books or online, www.Streamlinermemories.info posted a original Union Pacific advertisement that gave the descriptions I needed to make my observation car match as close as possible to the real thing. The advertisement image said "City of Los Angeles" Streamliner Observation-Lounge car resembles a finely appointed living room. Walls are light blue. Draperies are effective in tan, blue and rust. Venetian blinds match tan seat coverage and carpets. With this information I was able to paint the lounge chairs, benches, tables and full interior to match the original colors of the Sun Valley observation car from 1937. In the photo below you can see the Sun Valley shell next to the UP plans (printed on 11x17 paper) and my new full color interior.
To help with the late 1930’s look some figures were from a Preiser pack (part# 65602). Other figures were Arttista from the Train Shack in Burbank and the rest were the K-Line figures that originally came with this car. Since most the Preiser and Arttista figures are about 1/45th scale and the floors are higher than normal, you will need to trim the feet off. Also, you may need to trim the bottoms on your figures to make them fit in the seats better. If you don't feel like creating the Soda Fountain/Bar area from scratch I would suggest the complete 1/48 scale Soda Fountain Kit with all freezers and countertops (part DM-505) from DeltaModelsusa.
Before reassembling the car I wired in a 3mm cool white LED for the Union Pacific Overland Drum Head, 2x 3mm red LED's for the side marker lights and another white bulb for the rear backup light. I was able to grab power for the new LED's from the existing wires in the ceiling.
I will attach the original UP plans for this car at the end of the post. I hope this write-up with plans helps others who want to upgrade there Union Pacific 1575 Observation Lounge car.
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: