California Zephyr 10-6 Sleepers

With the opening of George Pullman's Pullman Palace Car Company in 1867 the sleeper came of age. Although there were sleeping cars in service on the railroads prior to Pullman’s opening he soon perfected the car. His sleeping car designs became so successful that the term “Pullman” soon described that type of car even if it had not been built by the company. All on board services on Pullman company cars were performed by Pullman employee’s and on other company’s cars through contract services.

After World War II Pullman's on-board services were slowly taken over by the railroads themselves as Pullman divested itself of those services although the company continued to manufacture cars. Strong competition to Pullman cars came in the form of the Budd Company as their stainless-steel streamliners came into being with its new exterior material and many innovative interior designs.

For the California Zephyr the ten-roomette six double-bedroom sleepers were considered all-room cars. Built according to BUDD plan 9509 the nineteen cars were numbered CB&Q 423-428, D&RGW 1130-1134, WP 861-867, and PRR 8449 each distinctively styled car contained sixteen semi-private sections. The PRR car was built to plan 9520 and named Silver Rapids. CB&Q returned to BUDD in 1952 for two additional cars numbered 429 and 430 which were built to plan 9531 and named Silver Chasm and Crag.

Divided into six double bedrooms and ten roomettes each room included toilet facilities with those in the bedrooms being enclosed. The roomettes had a large sofa type seat that was wide enough for two people and was adjustable to three positions. The top of the toilet was designed so it formed a third seat. The roomettes also included a large, perfectly lighted mirror for shaving or make-up, which also contributed to a feeling of spaciousness. A full-length mirror was also on the inside face of the sliding entrance door. There was also a full-length wardrobe closet next to the seat and space for luggage under the seat and in a rack over the mirror. Beds in the roomettes were designed so they could be lowered and raised with the entrance door closed thus avoiding the occupant having to step out into the aisle.

The six double bedrooms were arranged in an alternating transverse and longitudinal setup with folding partitions so that pairs of rooms could be combined to create Master Drawing Rooms which were ideal for family or group occupancy. Sofas in the transverse rooms were large enough for three and also had folding arm rests. The lower berth was made up by folding down the back of the sofa with the upper berth hinged above the sofa. Longitudinal rooms had a seat of the roomette type and an additional upholstered arm chair which could be folded and stored under the lower berth at night. The lower berth in this type room operated the same as the roomette. The upper berth was stored against the ceiling and required porter assistance for setup. Each room had an enclosed toilet which was a ‘Combolet’ (wash basin and folding toilet) with ceramic floor tile and water impervious plastic wall coverings. All were piped for showerheads with the drains in the floors capped. Each room was also equipped with circulating, electrically refrigerated drinking water, radio, individual temperature control and 110-volt outlets for electrical appliances. All rooms had double width windows.

Located at the vestibule end of the car was the porter’s station. In this longitudinal space of about six feet was a toilet room, electrical regulator and control cabinets with the porter’s area and bedding locker across the aisle. The porter’s area consisted of a locker, seat, and a high folding berth which when made up was screened from the aisle by a curtain. The color harmony in the all-room cars was a restful blending of rose-tan, petal beige and shades of gray in combination with ashes of roses and soft greens.

As originally built these cars had full body width diaphragms which were removed in later years. CB&Q cars carried the names Silver Butte, Cliff, Falls, Point, Shore, and Valley. D&RGW named theirs Silver Creek, Glacier, Gorge, Pass and Summit and the WP cars carried the names Silver Arroyo, Bay, Canyon, Mountain, Palisade, Range, and Surf.

10-6 Sleeper Door Right
10-6 Sleeper Door Left