Six New and Improved Accommodations

The passenger rail world was rapidly changing when Pullman issued this booklet in 1938. Railroads were buying more comfortable coaches, so budget-minded overnight passengers were more likely to sleep in reclining chairs than expensive Pullman cars. The remaining sleeping-car passengers increasingly wanted private rooms.

Click image to download a 5.0-MB PDF of this 16-page booklet.

As described in this booklet, Pullman responded by designing several more compact rooms and redesigning existing ones. Roomettes were small rooms with a sink, toilet, and a single bed parallel to the direction of the railcar. Duplex single bedrooms had sofas that converted to beds perpendicular to the direction of the car. The “duplex” part meant that half of them were three steps above the other half so that half of the higher rooms overlapped half of the lower ones.

The double bedroom was like a single bedroom but it included an upper berth. Later double bedrooms included a small private bath, but the early ones advertised here just had an unenclosed toilet that turned into a seat when not in use. The final new accommodation was the master room, a large room with up to four chairs in the daytime and two beds–both lowers–at night and an adjoining private bath with a shower. As near as I can find, only the Broadway Limited, Crescent Limited, and the 1938 20th Century Limited offered master rooms. Update: To the contrary, it appears the 20th Century Limited did not have a master room, but Pennsylvania’s General did after 1949, when it inherited the Broadway Limited‘s 1938 equipment.

Pullman also redesigned compartments and drawing rooms in order to squeeze more rooms into a car. The lower bed in the new compartment was still parallel to the car, so it isn’t clear how it saved any space. The new drawing room was long enough to fit a sofabed parallel to the car and two other bed, upper and lower, perpendicular to it. The beds in most if not all the rooms were also lengthened to 6 feet, 5 inches, so rooms with beds parallel to the car would take up more space.

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