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March 1991

The Delaware & Hudson's World's Fair Cars

By Dick Barrett , J.R . Williams and Tim Truscott

The Dela w are & Hud s on purchased six passenger coache s from American Car & Foundry Company in 1939 in the railroad's ef forts to capitalize on the popularity of the 1939 New York World's Fair . Conse - quently, the s e c ars have come to be known as the Delaw are & Hudson's " World ' s Fai r " coaches . Th e coache s, which were built to D&H specifications, were styled by the famed

i ndu s t r i a l designer Raymond L o ewy and

c ar ried the numbers 201-206 . They we r e

passenger cars to be

the first light - weight

a cquired by the D &H, as well as the l a st

new cars to be purchased by the railroad. They we r e introduced on "The Laurentian," operating between Albany and Montreal .

Th ese w e r e probab ly the only cars of their

t y pe to b e built by American Car & Foundry

C o. and w e re constructed at ACF's Berwick, P Aplant .

S pecif i cation s for the cars included a

length of 8 4 ft . 9 in. over

buffers, with an

exte r ior width of 10 f t . and an interior width

of 9 ft. 5 3 / 8 in . The centers of the trucks

the wheelbase of each truck being an e v en

9 ft. O v erall height of the

rooftop was 13 ft. 6 in . and the cars weighed 112,920 lbs. w i thout passengers or water .

( S e e 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 resp e ctive f r aming by means of the automated s p otwe l din g tech -

niqu e . Sides, roof and e n d s were t h en as -

s embled and spot welded t o 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. r o ller bearing units with SKF bearings . During asse mbly of th e wheelsets, the wheels wer e bala nced before mounting on the axles, the treads were ground after mounti n g and the wheel

pairs were once again balanced to provide a maximum ride. Truck-mounted brakes consisted of

cars from rail to

distance between the was 58 ft. 6 in. , with

Simplex cy linder clasp b r akes. Th e co ache s were equipped with New Y o rk A i r B rake Schedule D-22 - A brake equipme n t . T he

c ars were also e quipped with N a tional tig h t

lock couplers a nd Miner fric t ion draft g ear and buffers.

A very a ttr activ e e xterior p a int s c h eme was applied whi c h consisted o f a d ar k green body with a soft gray w in d o w band. The window band was accented by a n orange stripe near its border, with both the gray window band and the stripe followin g the contour of the distinctive Raymond Loewy semi - circular end windows. The cars also featured c ircular windows i n th e vestibule doors, a characte ristic of

L oewey ' s design tec hnique. All letteri n g

a nd numbering, i ncluding the well-known

D &H m ono gram, was do n e in a gold en

yell o w.

T h r e e d i fferent a t tractive colo r schemes

w e re us ed o n the i n ter iors o f t he c ars ( See

T able 2 ). T h e se three schemes involved the

walls, ceil i ngs, bulkheads, seats, interio r s

of the shades and flooring. In addition, soft gray and m a hogany 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 Americ a n Car & Foundry Co . at their Berwick, PA, car works. The cars were painted dark green with a soft g ray w i ndow band area . An orange stripe accented the edge of the window band with numbers and letters in a golden yellow . (Photo collecti on of the authors)

March 1991



room fixtu r e s w e re of a " sun tan " colo r . Pantasote shade s w h ich w ere g ray on their exterior matched t h e g r ay p a nel of the ex - terior of the cars , giving a modem effect . The c olor sc h e mes on t he b u l kheads was d iv ided i n t o tw o s h arply contrasting

panels . The inner p an el c ar rie d t hrough to

t he ce iling whil e t he ou te r pa ne l was con-

tinuou s wit h the si d e wall . T he fl oo r c over-

i ng c on sisted of a simple geometric desi gn

of i n layed linoleum in t w o s cheme s. M a -

t eria l s which w ere con s idered to b e t he

mo s t m o dem at t h e time w ere u t il i zed in

many areas of the cars. Marlite, a tile-like material of the time, was used as wainscoating in the lavatories. Black Micar ta , a p l astic-l ike material produced by the Westinghouse Co . , was used as win- dow capping on all w indows. Large luggage ra c ks runn i ng the full length o f the car wer e constructed of satin- fin is h alu m inum. In addition, each car had a luggage locker at one end for the stowage of h e avier l u ggage. Thi s locker wa s located in the rest r oom end of the car s . In t er i or ligh t ing con s i s ted of a c ombin a -

Detail of vestibule area of lightweight streamlined "World's Fair Car" showing semi-ci r c u lar end window (for res t room) with gray window


a n d curving ar o und it and round "porthole" window in vestibule


o o r. These features were v irt ual t r ademarks of indus t rial designer

R aymond Loewy . Note ti ghtloc k coupler and folding steps with trap.

(Phot o c o ll ec t i on of th e 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 light- ing derived from this aluminum lacquered light trough, which conta i ned 64 thirty - watt Lumiline lamps. The louvers of the air ducts were trimmed with a bright red. Di - rect 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 i n the pa s sage- ways and one in the men' s room. The women ' s room used column light fixtures. The vestibule lights were Safety units with

s emaphore 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 truck- mount e d Spicer drives with half of the cars powered by 20 kw General Electric gen - erators and the other half equipped with 20

kw Safety Genemotors . The storage bat- tery 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

to the third rail in

appro x imately 6 112 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 thr e e had Safety equipment. Interior temperature regulation was provided by Vapor Corp. control sys - tems. Supplementing the air - conditioning system were four fans behind bulkhead grilles exhausting to the exte r ior. 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 inte - rior 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 s pace 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



M arch1991

Table 1.

Dimensio n s & Weights of D&H "World's Fair" Co a ches

L en gth o v er b uff e rs, un c oupled

Length over couple r, put t i ng faces Truck whee l base Truck centers Width over side posts


i dth inside

Heigh t, r a il t o floor

H e i g ht, r a il to top of ro o f


f t . 9 in .


ft. 3 in.

9 ft. 0 in .



ft. 6 i n. ft. 0 in .



ft. 53 /8 in. ft. 3 3/4 i n .

13 f t. 6 in.


eigh t, light , tota l


, 920 I bs .


e ig h t of one tru ck , without gen er ator d ri v e



Weigh t o f t ruck with Spice r driv e


, 8 00 I bs.

t he "Wor ld ' s Fair" c oaches , t h e Delaware

& Hud so n rebuilt two diner-lounge c a rs, No . 151 and No. 152, for use on the

" L a ur e n t ian." T h ese c ars, which were re - bui l t a t Co lo nie, wore a Raymond Loewy-

in s pired pain t scheme which matched the

19 39 "W orld's Fair" ca r s and had a con-

tempora r y i nteri o r de sign con s istent with

t hem.

T h e M ohawk & Hudson Chapte r owns

the only kn o wn r emaining " World's Fair"

c oach , N o . 2 03 . This car, which was dis -

c ove red on a w e ed - grown sidi n g in Vermo nt a f e w years ago , will und e rgo refurbish -

men t s oon .


D&H Lightweig h t

" L aurentian ", Railwa y A ge, Vol . 1 07 , No .

t h e

efe r ence s :

C oache s


22, N o v emb er 25 , 1939, pgs. 812 -8 16 .

D&H Lightweight Coaches, Railwa y Me-

c h a nica l Engineer, January, 1940, pgs . 8 -

2 0.

View of re s troom end of interio r of 200-series D&H cars showing luggage locker and passageway at restroom-end of car. Three d i fferent attractive color schemes were used on the interior s of the cars involving the walls, ceilings, bulkheads, seats, interiors of the shades and f l ooring, as shown i n Table 2. (Photo collection of the authors)

View looking through car away from restro om end . Note aluminum luggage rack s , round incandescent light fixtures for dir e ct l i ghting and combination air conditioning /i ndirect l i ghting fixture running the length of the ce i ling. (Pho t o collection of the authors)

March 1991



Table 2.

Color Schemes for Interiors



Scheme No.1

Pale yellow

Scheme No.2

~ale yellow

Scheme No . 3


, Bulkhead panels

Silver opalescence

Silver opa l escence

Rose opal e sce n ce

& moss


& delft blue

& apple g r ee n

. Wa l ls , p i e r panels ,


tones &

Various tones &

Various tones &

dace and P an t asote shades of moss

shades of delft

shades of apple

cu r ta in s





Soft gray & cedar rose

Soft gray & cedar rose

Mahogany rose & Moorish green

Colo r

a c ce nt s

Red & yellow

Dusty rose

Yellow & autumn red

Head r ests




One of the D&H "World's Fair Cars" on the transfer table during construction at A.C . F . 's Berwick, PA, carworks. Note t he lightweight welded construction, the curved framework for t h e r oof ends and th e open i ng in the roof on th e restroom end (left end) where the air conditioning equipment will be installed.