Thursday, December 17, 2015

Troop Sleeper/Baggage Car

New Haven Purchased 150 Pullman built ex-troop sleepers from government service in 1948 for use in ether mail storage or baggage/express service. Only the 63 cars in baggage/express service had electric lighting, therefore differed in appearance from the mail storage cars by a single battery box centered under the baggage door and a belt driven generator. These cars were numbered 3700-3762.

Click on photos for better focus

One of these converted ex-troop sleeper baggage cars sat dormant for years during the 70's and 80's in the Danbury CT yard along with a heavyweight baggage car. This car is the only one that I can recall seeing in person and always peeked my interest. A model has been a must have for a long time.
Below are a few black and whites I took of this car in the early 80's. It is unclear what car number it was, but it was a baggage/express car because it is equipped a battery box under the door.

The Walthers converted troop sleepers were on sale so one was purchased. When the car arrived I was disappointed to find the sides of the Walters car are very different from the New Haven prototype and the roof lacked any air vents.

The Walthers car is a nice design with an inner box structure, the roof, sides and ends are all separate pieces that snap onto this inner structure allowing easy disassembly/reassembly.

Adapting a pair of New Haven correct brass sides from Model Railroad Warehouse (#772-4004) was a fairly easy project.

Below is a comparison of the Walthers and correct New Haven brass sides.

The only some what difficult step adapting these brass sides to the Walters car is that the brass sides have no car corner posts. The corner posts on the Walthers car are molded as part or the car sides. The four corner posts must be removed from the sides being replaced, then attached permanently to the car ends. There is a tongue and grove arrangement on the Walthers parts that facilitates the correct alignment of the corner posts to the car ends when gluing the parts together, that makes this job straight forward.

The Brass sides are quite thin in comparison to the molded plastic sides that come on the car. For the brass sides to correctly join at the car corner posts, these sides must be shimmed out from the inner structure of the car. This is easily accomplished by gluing .030" x .100" styrene strips to the inner car structure as in the photos below. The car corner posts now attached to the car ends can also be seen in the second photo.

Once the corner posts are attached to the car ends and the brass sides are shimmed out .030" these sides are a perfect fit to the Walthers car as seen in the photos below.

The baggage doors come as separate parts with the replacement sides. The windows are not cut out leaving what type window to be modeled up to the builder. I chose to cut out a 19" x 19" window as indicated on the New Haven car diagram for the baggage/express cars.

The brass door is the same thickness as the sides. Mounting this door directly to the back of the car side makes the door appear almost flush with the car side and unrealistic. The door was shimmed inward .020" giving the door a more realistic inset from the car sides as seen in the photos above, also a drip rail and door sill were added with styrene strips. In the photo below the .020" styrene strip shims can be seen sandwiched between the door and car sides on the back side of the car side.

Additionally the single stirrup step as seen above was replaced with a two step version from Kit Bits (#86). The trucks that came with the Walthers car were replaced with GSC high speed trucks also from Walthers, part # 2214. These trucks come with snubbers that need to be removed and replaced with leaf spring. Leaf springs from a Branchline coach kit were used as suggested by fellow New Haven modeler Tom E Thompson. Roof air vents also came from Model Railroad Warehouse.

The car is painted in the McGinnis all black scheme appropriate for my modeling era.

The prototype 3743

The model 3743

Not a difficult build, makes an accurate model of a New Haven converted troop sleeper baggage/express car. Final cost, about $100. 


  1. Beautiful work, Joe - thanks for sharing it!
    - Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.