ACL-FEC Heavyweight Diners : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread


In 1915, the ACL sold two diners to the FEC becoming their Royal Poinciana and Ponce de Leon. I am trying to determine the diners names while in service on the ACL. Based on photos of the Royal Poincianna while on the FEC, the diner is of steel construction. This would indicate that the diners were part of the ACL's 1913 class of diners. Based on 1920 era Official Railway Equipment Registers (ORER), the remaining 1913 class diners were named: Norfolk, Richmond, Wilmington, Savannah, Charleston, Montgomery, Jacksonville, and Tampa (later renamed Deland). If anyone has access to a 1914 ORER, could they please review the list of ACL diner names and provide the names of the two diners missing from the above list. Thanks in advance for any help.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 12, 2003



Many years ago a gentleman named Mr. C. Jackson Wyatt supplied the following information:

In 1924 Southern purchased three diners from Pullman (constructed in Lot 4767,Plan 3952A. The other two diners in Lot 4767, Pullman Nos. 1 and 2 were sold to the ACL in 1937. In 1925 Pullman constructed additional cars for themselves in Lot 4916,Plans 3952B and 3952C. Pullman Nos. 3, 4, and 13 of Plan 3952B were sold to the ACL in 1937. On the ACL these five cars referenced above became the "Fayetteville", "Sumter", "Albany", "Brunswick", and "Sanford". The remaining 3952B & 3952C cars were sold to the Erie and the NYNH&H. The book Some Classic Trains shows Pullman No.10 lettered for the ACL. Interestingly, the RF&P diner "Virginia", constructed in 1927 also appears to have been constructed to the 3952 plan and externally appears to be a near match to the five ACL cars discussed above.

In July 1924, Pullman constructed six cars for themselves in Lot 4781, Plan 3954. Three of the cars were sold to the KCS in 1929. The remaining three cars Nos. 191, 192, and 193 wee sold to the ACL in 1937 and were renamed the "Ocala", "Sarasota", and "Fort Meyers" (later renamed "Belleair"). The CB&Q also appears to have purchased diners constructed to Plan 3954 and were numbered in the 170 series. The CB&Q diners were often leased by the ACL during peak Florida travel and were commonly seen on the rails between Miami and New York. As a side note, in the early 90s, Aurora Shops Limited imported brass models of the CB&Q diners so if you are lucky enough to find one, short of a paint and lettering job, you can have an ACL diner with minimal effort.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 14, 2003.


Timing is everything. Yesterday, I got a copy of a small booklet from the "Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society" which is restoring ex EL Diner 741. OK-so what does this have to do with the ACL? Turns out that the car was built by Pullman in 1925 and was built to Lot 4916 Plan 3952 as one of 14 diners. Of these, 5 were assigned to IC and 9 to ACL! The car in question was numbered ACL 7.

In August 1927, four of these diners were sold to the Erie. The other five cars were sold to the Erie by 1930. The car in question became Erie Diner 941 and it was rebuilt in 1947. In 1960, the car was re- numbered 741.

The Library that has the Pullman Information is "Illinois Railroad Museum Pullman Archive".

More info can be found on the ELDCPS web site at

The book is entitled "Recipes of the Erie Lackawanna" and I purchased my copy from Karens Books.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 14, 2003.

I think I stumbled onto the answer to my own question. The California State Railroad Museum has some of the Pullman Company glass negatives. A quick review of their collection turned up an entry for the ACL diner Royal Poinciana or Ponce de Leon dated 1914. So it appears the ACL did indeed own the cars in 1914 and sold them to the FEC in 1915 with FEC retaining the car names. Two down and ten to go.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 13, 2003.


The quesiton of which two ACL diners were sold to the FEC is based on information contained in the heavyweight roster summary in Seth Bramson's book "Speedway to Sunshine". In one of the footnotes that Seth said was based on FEC annual reports, he wrote that the FEC purchased two diners second-hand from the ACL in 1915. Since available information indicates the only dining cars on the ACL were the 1913 class of diners, I suspected (hoped) the cars came from that group. Larry's data indicates they did not.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 13, 2003.

From what I can come up with, I find no evidence that ACL sold any diners. In 1914 ACL bought 8 diners, Charleston, Jacksonville, Montgomery, Norfolk, Richmond, Savannah, Tampa, and Wilmington. ACL added Florence, Rocky Mount, and Waycross by 1918; Augusta and St. Petersburg by 1920; Belleair and Orlando by 1921 (these 2 being listed at one point as "steel underframe" but later rebuilt to all- steel); Lakeland and Wilson by 1924; and Columbia, Dothan, and Thomasville by 1925. All stayed on the ACL roster during these years and into the 1930s.

If any in fact ran on FEC under other names, they must have been leased while for some reason still carried on the ACL accounts. Yet Royal Poinciana and Ponce de Leon stayed on the FEC roster from at least 1918 to 1932, which is a long time for equipment to be leased rather than bought outright. conclusion is that it's questionable in the first place whether FEC in fact bought these from ACL. Buddy, what is your source for that? Clearly, further research is needed -

-- Larry Goolsby (, May 13, 2003.

Buddy -

Wish I could answer your question regarding ACL diners sold to FEC, but my library failed me in this instance. Here is what I did find, though: The ACL owned no dining cars until 1913. None are listed in any ORER up to, and including, the January 1913 ORER. My next ORER is 1918. Also, in timetables from the 1880's to about 1913, any dining cars, of various types, are shown as Pullman owned. After 1913, diners are listed in the timetables, but not as Pullman.

-- Tom Underwood (, May 13, 2003.


Checked the 1940 Car Builder's Cyclopedia-Unfortunately, the photo was that of the interior of the "St. Augustine" and was a feature of a March 14, 1931 Railway Age article detailing its refurbishment.

The more I think about the 1925 West Indian accident, the more I wonder if the diner was a PRR car, as it was the last car on the train and in a perfect position to be switched out at Washington.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 13, 2003.

Upon further review, my initial question is misleading. What I meant to ask in the last sentence was what two additional ACL dining car names are listed in the 1914 ORER IN ADDITION to the eight names listed above.

Mike: Interesting information on the West Indian Limited. I have no data on that wreck. I do know that the FEC purchased the Royal Palm, Casa Marina, and St. Augustine in 1925 and the Key West and Daytona in 1926. Wonder if these could be replacement diners? There is also a "mystery" FEC heavyweight diner named Miami for which I have no information at all.

Other than two 1929 inhouse coach-to-diner conversions, the ACL did not purchase any new diners between 1923 and 1937. In addition the RF&P did not purchase any diners between 1924 and 1927.

Other than the FEC cars mentioned above, there is the possibility that the dining car destroyed was being leased from another railroad by the ACL.

Doubt if any of the above info helps, but if you find any more information regarding the wrecked diner, please let us know. Thanks for the feedback.

-- Buddy Hill (, May 12, 2003.


The 1940 Car Builder's cyclopedia has some interior photos of the two cars circa 1925 or so. It may have a reference as to what issue of Railway Age the cars were described in. That may then solve the question of the car heritage. This of course leads to a secondary question-on February 24, 1925, the West Indian Limited on its way to Key West was rear ended at Manhattan Transfer on the PRR and the rear car-a diner, was destroyed and the chef killed. The train had an angle cock close between the engine and the cars, similar to what happened in 1953 at Washington Union Station when the Federal went into the concourse. Question-was it an ACL or FEC diner and which one?

-- Michael W. Savchak (, May 12, 2003.

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