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March 1991

The Delaware & Hudson's World's Fair Cars

By Dick Barrett, J.R. Williams and Tim Truscott
The Delaware & Hudson purchased six passenger coaches from American Car & Foundry Company in 1939 in the railroad's efforts to capitalize on the popularity of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Consequently, these cars have come to be known as the Delaware & Hudson's "World's Fair" coaches. The coaches, which were built to D&H specifications, were styled by the famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy and carried the numbers 201-206. They were the first light-weight passenger cars to be acquired by the D&H, as well as the last new cars to be purchased by the railroad. They were introduced on "The Laurentian," operating between Albany and Montreal. These were probably the only cars of their type to be built by American Car & Foundry Co. and were constructed at ACF's Berwick, PAplant. Specifications for the cars included a length of 84 ft. 9 in. over buffers, with an exterior width of 10 ft. and an interior width of 9 ft. 5 3/8 in. The distance between the centers of the trucks was 58 ft. 6 in., with the wheelbase of each truck being an even 9 ft. Overall height of the cars from rail to rooftop was 13 ft. 6 in. and the cars weighed 112,920 lbs. without passengers or water. (See Table 1;) The lightweight steel construction was performed using semi-automatic spot welding machinery. Side framing and roof framing were constructed on jigs by spot welding. Side sheets and roof sheets were then attached to their respective framing by means of the automated spotwelding technique. Sides, roof and ends were then assembled and spot welded to form a complete car shell. Four-wheel trucks were constructed with cast steel frames. The 36 in. diameter wheels were equipped with A.S.F. roller bearing units with SKF bearings. During assembly of the wheelsets, the wheels were balanced before mounting on the axles, the treads were ground after mounting and the wheel pairs were once again balanced to provide a maximum ride. Truck-mounted brakes consisted of Simplex cylinder clasp brakes. The coaches were equipped with New York Air Brake Schedule D-22-A brake equipment. The cars were also equipped with National tight lock couplers and Miner friction draft gear and buffers. A very attractive exterior paint scheme was applied which consisted of a dark green body with a soft gray window band. The window band was accented by an orange stripe near its border, with both the gray window band and the stripe following the contour of the distinctive Raymond Loewy semi-circular end windows. The cars also featured circular windows in the vestibule doors, a characteristic of Loewey's design technique. All lettering and numbering, including the well-known D&H monogram, was done in a golden yellow. Three different attractive color schemes were used on the interiors of the cars (See Table 2). These three schemes involved the walls, ceilings, bulkheads, seats, interiors of the shades and flooring. In addition, soft gray and mahogany red colors were used in the vestibules of the cars, while the wash-

D&H Coach #202, one of the "World's Fair Cars" built for the Delaware & Hudson in 1939 by American Car & Foundry Co. at their Berwick, PA, car works. The cars were painted dark green with a soft gray window band area. An orange stripe accented the edge of the window band with numbers and letters in a golden yellow. (Photo collection of the authors)

March 1991


OF THE MOHAWK & HUDSON CHAPTER, N.R.H.S. many areas of the cars. Marlite, a tile-like material of the time, was used as wainscoating in the lavatories. Black Micarta, a plastic-like material produced by the Westinghouse Co., was used as window capping on all windows. Large luggage racks running the full length of the car were constructed of satinfinish aluminum. In addition, each car had a luggage locker at one end for the stowage of heavier luggage. This locker was located in the restroom end of the cars. Interior lighting consisted of a combina-


room fixtures were of a "sun tan" color. Pantasote shades which were gray on their exterior matched the gray panel of the exterior of the cars, giving a modem effect. The color schemes on the bulkheads was divided into two sharply contrasting panels. The inner panel carried through to the ceiling while the outer panel was continuous with the side wall. The floor covering consisted of a simple geometric design of inlayed linoleum in two schemes. Materials which were considered to be the most modem at the time were utilized in

Detail of vestibule area of lightweight streamlined "World's Fair Car" showing semi-circular end window (for restroom) with gray window band curving around it and round "porthole" window in vestibule door. These features were virtual trademarks of industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Note tightlock coupler and folding steps with trap. (Photo collection of the authors)

tion of direct and indirect lighting, with the indirect lighting and air conditioning ducts involving a common center ceiling fixture running the length of the car. Indirect lighting derived from this aluminum lacquered light trough, which contained 64 thirtywatt Lumiline lamps. The louvers of the air ducts were trimmed with a bright red. Direct lighting was provided by 38 forty-watt Safety circular ceiling lights with double prismatic lenses. One of these light fixtures was located over each double seat, while two of them were located in the passageways and one in the men's room. The women's room used column light fixtures. The vestibule lights were Safety units with semaphore lenses. The total lighting load in the car was 3,640 watts. All of the cars had 64-\'olt DC electrical systems deriving their power from truckmounted Spicer drives with half of the cars powered by 20 kw General Electric generators and the other half equipped with 20 kw Safety Genemotors. The storage battery equipment consisted of 50 cells of batteries with a capacity of 510 amp. hrs. at 64 volts. An unusual feature of the battery compartment was the balanced door, which would swing underneath when open; no part of the door would come closer than approximately 6 112 in. to the third rail in electrified yards. All six of the cars were. air conditioned with seven-ton capacity electro-mechanical units. Three of the cars were outfitted with General Electric equipment, while the other three had Safety equipment. Interior temperature regulation was provided by Vapor Corp. control systems. Supplementing the air-conditioning system were four fans behind bulkhead grilles exhausting to the exterior. Double window sash manufactured by O. M. Edwards Co. was used, with the inner sash being 114 in. safety glass to protect passengers. The inner sash was hinged to facilitate window cleaning. Activated alumena was used between the sash to absorb moisture from condensation. In order to provide a comfortable interior temperature year round, the cars were well insulated. Two inches of insulation was used in the roof, sides and ends, while 1 1/2 inches of insulation was used in the floor. The design of the toilet facilities was unusual for the time in that all of the pipes and fittings were concealed. The space under the wash stands was enclosed with the waste paper towel receptacle built into this space; this was apparently a novel idea at the time. In conjunction with the acquisition of





Table 1.

Dimensions & Weights of D&H "World's Fair" Coaches

Length over buffers, uncoupled Length over coupler, putting faces Truck wheelbase Truck centers Width over side posts Width inside Height, rail to floor Height, rail to top of roof Weight, light, total Weight of one truck, without generator drive Weight of truck with Spicer drive 84 ft. 9 in. 84 ft. 3 in. 9 ft. 0 in. 58 ft. 6 in. 10 ft. 0 in. 9 ft. 53/8 in. 4 ft. 33/4 in. 13 ft. 6 in. 112,920 Ibs. 18,140Ibs. 18,800Ibs.

the "World's Fair" coaches, the Delaware & Hudson rebuilt two diner-lounge cars, No. 151 and No. 152, for use on the "Laurentian." These cars, which were rebuilt at Colonie, wore a Raymond Loewyinspired paint scheme which matched the 1939 "World's Fair" cars and had a contemporary interior design consistent with them. The Mohawk & Hudson Chapter owns the only known remaining "World's Fair" coach, No. 203. This car, which was discovered on a weed-grown siding in Vermont a few years ago, will undergo refurbishment soon. References : D&H Lightweight Coaches for the "Laurentian", Railway Age, Vol. 107, No. 22, November 25, 1939, pgs. 812-816. D&H Lightweight Coaches, Railway Mechanical Engineer, January, 1940, pgs. 820.

View of restroom end of interior of 200-series D&H cars showing luggage locker and passageway at restroom-end of car. Three different attractive color schemes were used on the interiors of the cars involving the walls, ceilings, bulkheads,seats, interiors of the shades and flooring, as shown in Table 2. (Photo collection of the authors)

View looking through car away from restroom end. Note aluminum luggage racks, round incandescent light fixtures for direct lighting and combination air conditioning/indirect lighting fixture running the length of the ceiling. (Photo collection of the authors)

March 1991




Table 2.

Color Schemes for Interiors

Ceiling , Bulkhead panels

Scheme No.1
Pale yellow Silver opalescence & moss green Various tones & shades of moss green Soft gray & cedar rose Red & yellow Beige

Scheme No.2
~ale yellow Silver opalescence & delft blue Various tones & shades of delft blue Soft gray & cedar rose Dusty rose Beige

Scheme No.3
Suntan Rose opalescence & apple green Various tones & shades of apple green Mahogany rose & Moorish green Yellow & autumn red Beige

. Walls, pier panels, dace and Pantasote curtains Seats

Color accents Headrests

One of the D&H "World's Fair Cars" on the transfer table during construction at A.C.F.'s Berwick, PA, carworks. Note the lightweight welded construction, the curved framework for the roof ends and the opening in the roof on the restroom end (left end) where the air conditioning equipment will be installed.