SP&S Club-Lounge Car

While SP&S secondary trains (3 & 4) in the 1950s carried solarium-observation cars, the primary trains (1 & 2) connecting with the Empire Builder and North Coast Limited did not have observation cars, thus making switching easier in Portland and Spokane. Instead, the trains had club-lounge cars named Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens. The cars each had six roomettes, three double bedrooms (for a total of 12 beds), and a buffet-lounge, but no rear windows so they could be used at either the end or the middle of a train.

Click image to download a 164-KB PDF of this letterhead.

SP&S purchased the cars new from Pullman in 1947 along with some coaches and other sleeping cars that would be the North Bank Road’s contribution to the streamlined Empire Builder. While the other cars would go into pool service on the Chicago-Northwest train, the Hood and St. Helens would operate only from Spokane to Portland. When the North Coast Limited was streamlined, its Portland cars were also added to trains 1 & 2.

Initially, the cars were painted in Empire Builder orange-and-green. But–probably to avoid an appearance of favoritism when the North Coast Limited was streamlined–they were soon repainted to SP&S’s own colors of some combination of Pullman green with yellow stripes. Both cars survive today; the Mt. Hood is owned and occasionally operated by the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in Portland; the St. Helens is privately owned in Spokane.

Click image to download a 90-KB PDF of this envelope.

Leave a Reply