NYC J3a Dreyfuss Hudson
In 1938 industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss was commissioned by the New York Central to design a new streamlined train set for their flagship train: The 20th Century Limited. Prior to this, Dreyfuss has been responsible for the conceptual design of the New York Central’s Mercury train set, which he used an existing locomotive and passenger cars to create a matching consist. Now in 1938, having proved himself, Dreyfuss took one of the NYC’s J3a Hudsons, and created an Art Deco style concept, incorporating a skyline casting, bullet nose, a vertical fin on the smokebox door, and shrouding over the firebox and pilot. The tender was also streamlined to match the contours of the locomotive cab. The locomotive received the nickname “Dreyfuss Hudson”. Numbered 5445-5454, these hudsons produced 41,000 lbs of tractive effort, allowing them race a 17 car train at over 90mph. All (10) were equipped with 79″ drivers, the first (5) being box pox drivers with tradition rods, and the later (5) having scullin disc drivers and lightweight roller-bearing rods.
Rolling stock would be a product entirely of the Pullman Company. A 2-tone gray and blue striping would run from the tender through the entire consist tying it together. No coach seating was provided on this train. The consist was made up of an RPO Baggage, a Crew Dorm/Lounge, 4 different sleeper layouts, a pair of diners, and a sleeper/buffet/lounge/observation. First class services included: drawing rooms, single/double bed rooms, smoking sections, a fully stocked library, maid services and even a barber shop.
The schedule from New York to Chicago would be shortened from 20 hours down to 16 hours, continuing the normal route overnight up to Albany and over to Buffalo along the Water Level Route. This consist would be used from 1938-1939, when the paint scheme was changed, and shrouding began to be removed from sections of the locomotive for ease of maintenance. By 1948, they had been replaced with modern E8 Diesel locomotives on the 20th Century Limited, and reassigned to other trains.
None of the Dreyfuss Hudsons were preserved after steam was retired from the New York Central.
NYC J3a Dreyfuss Hudson & 1938-1939 20th Century Limited set includes: (2) Engines, (1) Tender and (8) Passenger cars
Locomotive variations include:
Locomotive with Box Pox drivers & Traditional Rods
Locomotive with Scullin Disc drivers and & Roller-bearing Rods
1938-1939 20th Century Limited consists includes:
01 – RPO Baggage – #5017-5020
02 – Crew Dorm/Lounge – Century Series
03 – Sleeper 17 Roomette – City Series
04 – Sleeper 10-5 Roomette – Cascade Series
05 – Diner – 38-Seat – #680-685
06 – Sleeper – 4-4-2 Roomette – Imperial Series
07 – Sleeper – 13 DBL Bedroom – County Series
08 – Observation – BDR/Lounge – Island Series
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