Meteor Lounge Car

Meteor Lounge Car at Birmingham, Alabama (date unknown)
Meteor Lounge Car

Meteor Lounge Car at Birmingham, Alabama (date unknown).

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3 Responses to Meteor Lounge Car

  1. Tom Galbraith says:

    Wonder what that car was doing in Birmngham?? Might that shot have been taken some place besides B’ham??

    Tom G.

  2. Mark Davidson says:

    Location is Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    This photograph was taken at the rear of the Oklahoma City Union Depot. The depot opened on 7/15/1931. It was operated jointly by the Frisco Railway and Rock Island Railroad. This depot replaced earlier separate facilities in the city’s central downtown. As part of a grade separation project to remove tracks in the streets, the new union depot was built south of the central business core.

    Several clues in the photograph support this location. The depot’s architectural style is California Spanish Mission Revival. Depot walls were sandstone block construction. The front featured a centrally located tall tower topped with single taper or tier arched dome. The upper sides of the tower had four openings, one each side on the prime compass points. In addition, the main waiting area is flanked by gable end walls supporting a red clay tile roof.

    This depot was abandoned by the railroads when each ended passenger service in 1967. It was subsequently obtained by the city for their transportation and parking offices. Changing times have resulted in newer occupants including a river cruse company and private parking lot company. The depot is located 300 Southwest 7th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73109.

    This differs considerably from the former Birmingham Terminal Station. That depot was opened in 1909. Its architectural style was Byzantine inspired Beaux-Arts. Depot walls were brick construction. It featured twin 130′ towers with taller two step or tier arch upper domes. Below the domes, there were eight side openings, one on each face of the octagon shaped towers walls. The north and south wing towers were well separated, almost two blocks apart, from the depot’s central entrance and waiting room.

    In addition, the terminal depot had a very prominent 64′ diameter arched roof main dome. The dome was over the central main entrance and waiting area. Unfortunately, with the declining passenger service the station fell into disrepair and was demolished during the summer of 1969. Today the depot grounds are part of the overhead right-of-way for the Red Mountain Expressway, US 28 and US 31 Highways. It was located near the intersection of 5th Avenue North and 26th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203.

    Finally, note the drum head on the rear of the observation car. Its red face notes in white letters the train name – The Meteor. This train operated between St. Louis, Springfield, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Lawton, Oklahoma.

    View is looking northwest.

    Hope this helps.



  3. Mark Davidson says:

    This is diner-lounge-observation car SLSF 1551, “Oklahoma City”.

    The floor plan for this and sister car SLF 1550, “Tulsa”, from the B-end included a kitchen, 24 seat dining room and 18 seat rear end observation lounge. Started in 1947, they were built in lot number 6768, to plan number 7541. Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company delivered the cars in May, 1948. They were part of a 38 car order of various floor plans to equip the Meteor (2 train sets) and Texas Special (1 train set). The KATY also ordered 14 cars (1 train set) for their portion of the Texas Special. These streamline lightweight cars replaced earlier heavyweight cars with the same names.

    The positive confirming spotting difference between the two is the car name letter board. “Oklahoma City” was on two panels, one 84 ¾” long and one 42 ¾” long (10’ 7 ½”). These were centered under and extended the length of the two rear dining section windows. On the “Tulsa” the car name was on an appreciably shorter 55” (4’ 7”) long panel. Its name panel was centered under the pier panel between the two rear dining section windows, but since it was much shorter it did not extend the full length of the windows.

    The image predates the conversion from rounded taper wedge end-of-train to squared end mid-train cars. The railroad’s Springfield Shops completed the modifications in 1960 – SLSF 1550 in November and SLSF 1551 in February.

    Both cars were removed from revenue service in June 1967. In December the “Oklahoma City” assigned to company maintenance of way (MOW) service. It was designated as a kitchen diner and renumbered SLSF 105493. The car was retired in 1972.

    At retirement it was sold to the Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad in Woodward, OK. It was lettered for the line and renumbered NOKL 5. Sold again in 1985 the car went to the New Georgia Railroad based in Atlanta, GA. They repainted and renamed the car Connell – Kennedy in honor of the Georgia representatives who introduced bills chartering and funding the railroad. When that scenic excursion line shut down, it was retired again in 1994 and the car was acquired by East Tennessee Rail Car Services.

    The Frisco Museum in Springfield, MO acquired the car on 6/2/1995. It was cosmetically restored into appropriate Frisco red paint and lettering and became a prominent display at their facility at 543 East Commercial Street. After the museum shut down in early 2003 it was acquired by the used railway equipment dealer Ozark Mountain Railcar becoming OMRX 201.

    In turn it was acquired by new owners with intent to become a “modern era” passenger car example for display at the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in Pullman (Chicago), IL. The car went into storage in the Norfolk Southern (NS) yard in Calumet, IL. Unfortunately, the museum’s planned use of the car fell through. On a sad note the car was abandoned and reportedly cut up during 2014.

    Hope this helps.



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