Restored Pullman Arrives at Illinois Railway Museum

The 1911 Pullman car was restored to its 1930s appearance in North Carolina before being donated to the museum. Photo Courtesy of IRM. 

Restored Pullman Arrives at Illinois Railway Museum

By Justin Franz

UNION, Ill. — A 1911 Pullman passenger car has arrived at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill. The car was restored by a private individual in North Carolina to look as it did in the 1930s before being donated last year to the museum. Since then the museum has been raising money to pay for the move. 

The car was built in 1911 as a 12-1-1 (12-section, 1-drawing room, 1-compartment) sleeping car named Lenover and was usually assigned to the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1931, it was rebuilt again as a 10-3 (10-section, 3-double bedroom) sleeping car and renamed Villa Real. Pullman retired the car in 1950 and it was used by the U.S. Military for troop movements during the Korean War. In 1953, Villa Real was sold to the Wabash and then leased to National Railways of Mexico. In 1957, it was rebuilt by the Wabash into the Decatur, Illinois wreck train foreman’s car. It was later transferred to Norfolk & Western and finally Norfolk Southern, which sold the car to Al Sauer in 1995.

Sauer conducted a major restoration on the car that stretched on for a quarter-century, including extensive bodywork and reversing modifications that had been made by the Wabash in 1957. Many long-gone pieces of hardware were replaced through eBay purchases or, in some cases, 3D printing of replacement parts. Seating material, bunks, and flooring were all replaced as well. 

The car arrived at the museum earlier this week where it will join IRM’s extensive fleet of historic Pullman passenger cars.

This article was posted on: February 4, 2022