P&W 90, New Englander, at Worcester, 10/15/2011
Photo by Doug Scott

Providence & Worcester
Fall Circle Tour
October 15, 2011

The New Englander, one of six siblings, survivors all

Providence & Worcester observation-lounge New Englander was one of six lightweight streamlined sleeperlounge-observations built by Pullman-Standard at Calumet, IL in June and July 1948 to equip Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited. As built to Pullman Plan 4120, in Lot 6781, each car included four double bedrooms, one compartment, a buffet-kitchen and a 26-seat observation lounge. Five cars were NP-owned; the sixth belonged to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, which handled the North Coast between Chicago and St. Paul.

The cars bore names of private clubs in cities along the NP: Arlington Club [in Portland, OR], Montana Club [in Helena, MT], Rainier Club [in Seattle, WA], Spokane Club, Tacoma Club and Minneapolis Club [the CB&Q car]. In 1954, the cars were repainted in NP’s new twotone green scheme, and numbers replaced their names: Arlington Club became 391; Montana Club, 394; Rainier Club, 390; Spokane Club, 393; Tacoma Club, 392; Minneapolis Club, 483.

NP removed the cars from the North Coast Limited in 1967 except for Minneapolis Club, which had previously been returned to the Burlington. While their later histories vary, it is astonishing to realize that in 2011, all six survive, in varying condition – two are in New England – and two are still running!

Arlington Club is reportedly stored unserviceable (apparently very unserviceable) in Minneapolis.

Montana Club became P&W’s New Englander, numbered 90.

Rainier Club is preserved at the Lake Superior Museum of Transportation in Duluth, MN.

Spokane Club was sold to the Bangor & Aroostook in 1974. Then-BAR president Frederic C. (“Buck”) Dumaine, Jr. renamed it Burnt Hill, for one of his favorite places in Maine. Supposedly it remains “behind the fence” at the Derby, ME shops of BAR successor Montreal, Maine & Atlantic.

Tacoma Club, renamed Arizona, presently brings up the rear of the tourist-carrying Sierra Madre Express that makes occasional trips along the dramatic Copper Canyon line in Mexico.

Minneapolis Club returned to CB&Q in the 1960s. Repainted in silver and relettered, it became a spare observation car in the Q’s passenger fleet. It later went to now-defunct Washington State short line Seattle & North Coast as Mt. Olympus, then to a private owner who renamed it Belle Terre. It was last reported stored on the Morristown & Erie in northern New Jersey, under restoration. The car now has its own Facebook page! -JWR

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