Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CSL Large Scale Pullman - Update

I'd been unsuccessful to date trying to determine the origins of the Chicago Surface Lines Big Pullman #250 car. It seems to me that this is an important piece of model history, sort of the "where we came from" type of thing.

Anyways, it occurred to me about a month back to hijack Ed Halstead's email list and see if the Chicagoland traction collective might have some ideas.
Nothing really came of it, and then literally out of the blue this afternoon, Ed shared the communication below from well-know, long time modeler George Kanary. (As a related aside, George wrote a wonderful 2-part article in the first two issues of The Street Railway Review back in 1973 about building the air-door Pullman cars in O scale. I built one of my first large scale models in 1:24 scale, based on scaling up his plans and tips)

George's reply to Ed is below :
In the early 1950s, possibly 1954, Carl Gustafson displayed a Big Pullman that he built while a student at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. I was told about the car by Tom Froehlich and went to see it. Unfortunately, my memory of the car is such that I don't remember if it was about 1/2" scale or larger. I do recall that it was nicely done and the car seen here, while in rough condition, is a very good representation. Looking at the windows, they are properly done, which is very important to the appearance of a Pullman model.

Carl was the author of the book, DAIRY ROUTE, the story of the Elgin & Belvidere Ry, and heads up a Florida traction group today. Rich Nielsen knows how to get in touch with him.

The alternative and a greater possibility is that it may have been built by Lou Mertel, a long ago CERA member who worked in 1/2" scale on large double truck cars and 3/4" scale on smaller single truckers. I have a CERA issue showing Mr. Mertel's cars, which were exhibited at the Fair Store department store in downtown Chicago and probably other places as well.

My filing system being what it is, it may take some time to find the pictures, but I will look. I have a CCRy single truck car built by Mr. Mertel and it is very well done, very accurate, and uses glass for the windows.
I am fortunate enough to have a 3/4" scale model of a CSL 2600 class Robertson car built by Gene Davidson, and a twin to it was built for Alan Simms. Gene owed Alan a favor and he surprisingly built the car for me just because I made the working drawings for it. This is true scratchbuilding, St. Louis 23 trucks and all.

It would be nice to see this Pullman car restored with the proper doors and whatever else is necessary.

The mystery is not quite solved, but certainly we now have a trail to follow !
My thanks to Ed and to George, and I'll be sure to let everyone know the
more I might be able to find out !

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