Seaboard Air Line Railroad Fort Lauderdale
5 bedroom, 2 compartment, 2 drawing room Pullman sleeping car
In 1955, Seaboard Air Line Railroad ordered 12
sleeping cars from Pullman-Standard and six from the Budd Co. to
enhance the first class accommodations on the New York to Florida
streamliner Silver Meteor.
The cars that were ordered included three "Sun Room" 5 double
bedroom/lounge cars, six 11 bedroom sleepers, six 5 bedroom, 1
compartment, 4 section, 4 roomette sleepers (from Budd), and three 5
bedroom, 2 compartment, 2 drawing room (5-2-2) cars. The Fort Lauderdale
is one of the Pullman-Standard cars equipped with two drawing rooms,
among the largest rooms available on American passenger trains. The
sister cars were named Boca Grande and Clearwater.
The car, seen above in a Pullman-Standard company photo, was
ordered in January 1955 and delivered in January 1956. According to one
source, the Fort Lauderdale
and the other all-room cars were ordered to provide more attractive
accommodations for families traveling between New York, St. Petersburg
and Miami, even though the entire train had been equipped with new cars
between 1947 and 1949. New coaches were ordered for the Silver Meteor in 1955 as well.
When Seaboard Air Line and Atlantic Coast Line merged in 1967, the Fort Lauderdale
joined the Seaboard Coast Line roster. In 1971, the car was acquired by
Amtrak for service on the new national passenger train network. After
being retired by Amtrak, the car was stored for some time before being
acquired by a private buyer. The car was displayed at the Houston
Railroad Museum for a number of years, and was donated to the museum in
The Fort Lauderdale at the Houston Railroad Museum in 2009. Since the car's donation to the
museum in 2011, funds have been allocated for an exterior cleaning and re-lettering.
The Fort Lauderdale
was part of Pullman Standard Lot 6969, Plan 4201. It is an early
example of a Pullman-Standard all-stainless steel car, similar in
construction to the MKT Texas Special coach New Braunfels,
which is also displayed at the Houston Railroad Museum. Most
Pullman-Standard cars built before the mid-1950s were constructed
primarily of alloys other than stainless steel because the Budd Co.
held a number of patents related to stainless steel passenger car
construction. Unlike the slightly earlier New Braunfels, some non-structural members in the Fort Lauderdale are
not stainless steel. This is believed to be the result of an effort on
the part of Pullman-Standard to reduce the cost of construction.
The Fort Lauderdale was
numbered 2312 in Amtrak service, and it retained its name as well. In Seaboard Coast Line
service, the car carried number 6522. On Seaboard Air Line, the car was numbered 61.
Floor plans and interior photos of the three 5-2-2 cars were published in The Official Pullman Standard Library Vol. 7 Southeast Railroads
by W. David Randall (Railway Production Classics, 1989). A diagram also
appeared in Amtrak's 1976 Equipment Plan and Data Manual, however, the
floor plan in the Amtrak diagram has been rendered incorrectly. Click here to view a PDF of the Amtrak diagram.
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