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Title: RailSmith 10-6 Sleeper Review

Database: N Scale Model Trains
Category: Product Reviews
Visibility: Public
Headline: Yes
Publication Date:
Last Modification Date: 2020-05-10
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In 2019 hobby veteran Lowell Smith launched a new brand of railroad passenger cars, Rail Smith Models. Each release will feature a North American body style with the ultimate goal of completing a train consist over some time.

“Production plans are grand, but we believe they are also achievable. We do not have the capabilities to release an entire train at once, but being able to focus on one release (two-or-three cars at a time), we can build a train over time” (lowellsmith.net).

Over the last several months his new venture has released a series of Pullman-Standard 10-6 sleeper cars. Walthers Model Railroading first released these cars in 2007 and 2008 with Lowell Smith purchasing the tooling rights for his new company.

Road Names and Pricing

The initial phases of 10-6 sleeper cars released include the following railroads and featured cars:
  • Atlantic Coast Line (suggested retail price for each $52) Glynn County Polk County
  • Great Northern ($49) Big Horn Pass Lewis & Clark Pass Santiam Pass
  • New York Central ($48) Hudson River Salmon River
  • Northern Pacific ($48) North Coast Limited #364 North Coast Limited #365
  • Northern Pacific ($48) Cascade #364 Cascade #365
  • Pennsylvania Railroad ($57) Stoney Rapids Tippecanoe Rapids
  • Southern Pacific ($48) Cascade #9030 Cascade #9031 Cascade #9037
  • Union Pacific ($52) Last Spike Pacific Coast Promontory Summit
My review includes observations of item number RS-3001815 Pullman Hudson River 10-6 Sleeper.

Prototype History

George Pullman incorporated the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1867 with its first plants in Detroit and New York State. Pullman manufactured and operated luxury sleeping cars on most of the United States railroads until the mid-1940’s.

In 1940 an anti-trust complaint was filed against Pullman, Inc. siting unfair competition by monopoly. It was alleged that Pullman, Inc. restricted the development of lightweight sleeping cars by others and threatened to remove all Pullman owed cars if the railroads pursued other resources.

In April of 1943 the federal courts ruled that Pullman, Inc. did hold a monopoly in the manufacturing and operating of passenger cars. Pullman, Inc. was ordered in 1944 to divest itself from either the operating or manufacturing business. Pullman, Inc. decided to sell its operating business. In June of 1947, a consortium of 57 railroad companies purchased the sleeping car business for a reported $74 million. The sleeper cars were now owed, operated and maintained by the railroads. The Pullman-Standard continued to manufacture passenger cars until 1980.

The Hudson River 10-6 sleeper car was part of the New York Central series built by Pullman-Standard in 1948-49. Although most sleeper cars do not have their road numbers displayed on their side panels, Pullman assigned numbers 10140 - 10236 to this collection of 96 cars. The Hudson River was assigned #10214 and placed into service on November 26, 1948. It would retire in June of 1964.

The 10-6 sleeper car consisted of ten roomettes (single passenger private room) and six double-bedrooms (two passenger) compartments. The Hudson River was manufactured using Pullman’s Plan #4140: five roomettes (“A” End) are placed on both sides of the car, with a corridor down the center. Linen closets and lockers were found on each end of the roomette section. The six larger bedrooms (“B” End) are located on one side of the car with the corridor repositioned to the other side of the passenger car - creating a ‘S’-shape passageway through the car. The porter’s station and a toilet were found at the end of the car.

Furthermore, according to a copy of Pullman Plan #4140 the sleeper car (PS106) was 85’ long, 13’ 8” tall and 10’ wide. The cars weighed 147,600 pounds and were 35” off the ground. The “room” side of the car features a 5-window pattern for the roomettes, 6-window pattern for the private rooms and a smaller window for the porter’s station. A door is located next to the porter’s area. The passageway side features a small bathroom window, 3-window pattern for the corridor and 5-window pattern for the other roomettes. The door is located next to the bathroom area.

The New York Central (NYC) cars were painted in the familiar two-tone grey scheme. The 96 new sleeper cars and their new observation-lounge cars were all named for various bodies of water in honor of the famed ‘Water Level Route’ between New York and Chicago. TYPE of PASSENGER CAR SERIES NAME Club-Lounge “...Shore” 4-4-2 Sleeper “...Bridge” Five Bedroom-Buffet Lounge “...Creek” 10-6 Sleeper “...River” Twelve Double-Bedroom “Port...” Twenty-Two Roomettes “...Bay”

The Model

The passenger car comes packaged in a clear plastic jewel case with a slip-off cover and a two-piece plastic cradle to support the model. The car name (Pullman Hudson River) is clearly labeled on the end of the case, while the car type (PS 10-6 Sleeper) and stock number are found on the bottom on the case. No additional parts were found in the container.

The matte two-tone grey paint job is strong and clean along the four sides of the smoothside passenger car. The white stripes located above and below the windows are bold and even. All lettering is neat and legible. The correct font and color appear to have been chosen for the lettering. The roof and underside are both painted a matte black finish.

Although I wasn’t able to find a prototype imagine for the Hudson River car, I did unearth photographs of other sleeper cars from the 1948-49 series. The model has the Pullman name centered above the windows on both side of the car. Similarly Hudson River name is centered below the windows on each side. This placement is correct when compared to original pictures.

I was not able to confirm the presence of the New York Central lettering found in the upper four corners of the model. All of the photograph evidence I found did not have this stenciled on the ‘real’ passenger car. Perhaps the Hudson River 10-6 sleeper did have this print scheme, but since I couldn’t located an image of the specific car I couldn’t verify it as fact. In contrast, the Walthers model released in 2007 only has the New York Central road name printed along the top-center of each side with no other lettering. Rail Smith proclaims the use of proper road names and numbers on their models.

The sleeper model has the proper window configuration and spacing as explained above in the ‘Prototype History’ section. All windows are translucent with a light brown backdrop. Furthermore, all windows have flush silver trim, an upgrade over the Walthers edition. Drop-In Lighting Kit (#933-1099) is available separately. Each corner of the car features flat molded grab irons and rather nice-size stirrups. The stirrups are in better proportion and not “chucky-looking” as found on other model rolling stock.

Both ends have a recessed gangway with flexible passenger car diaphragms. Visible inside both passageways are the car connecting doors with clear windows. Molded grab irons and platform decks are visible along each side of the doorway.

The black sectional pattern roof features three vents along the passageway side of the car. Each side of the roof displays a pair of flat grab irons. Prototype pictures show these irons positioned several inches from the roof surface, obviously too delicate of a trait for the manufacture to represent but easy enough to portray with modeler-applied secondary parts for those needing realism.

The underside of the sleeper is highly detailed with several cylinders, tanks and compartments. The model has chemically blackened metal wheel sets and prototype correct General Steel Castings (GSC) 41-N style trucks. The number ‘41’ refers to the number of wheels and bolsters, thus 41 is a 4-wheel, single bolster. Lastly the car features truck mounted AccuMate magnetic knuckle couplers.

The car weighs about 1.4 ounces and is 6.25 inches in length. The weight is in the proper recommended range according to the National Model Railroad Association (which are 1.4 - 1.6 ounces for a six+ inch car). I found it a good running car on Kato Unitrack with no issues around 16” radius curves or through multiple turnouts although I have seen some sites recommend a minimum 24" radius.

Conclusion

Lowell Smith has a lot to brag about with his new line of passenger cars. The Rail Smith 10-6 Pullman Sleeper Car is a beautiful model that is accurate to the prototype and built with high quality standards. An excellent paint job with a few updated detail features such as window trim, proper lettering schemes and true to the prototype GSC trucks. It is a great runner that needed no adjustment on my Kato Unitrack layout. Only things missing are a blanket and a pair of slippers as I imagine myself being lulled to sleep on my home to the LaSalle Street Station in Chicago inside one of these beauties on the NYC 20th Century Limited. All Aboard!

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