Thursday, August 16, 2012

Travel by Pullman

Pullman by William 74
Pullman, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Although the company made all types of rail cars-including freight cars and trolleys-Pullman is best known for it's luxurious passenger cars. Inspired by an uncomfortable overnight trip in which he tried to sleep in his seat, founder George Pullman decided to come up with a better solution. The earliest Pullman sleeper cars featured double berths-the upper ones folded down from the walls of the car, and the seats folded to become the lowers. Curtains provided privacy for occupants, there were washrooms for both men and women at each end of the car. In addition, the company provided staffing for their cars, and Pullman porters became fixtures at train stations all across the country . Pullman also hired black men as porters, offering better pay and opportunity for travel than most jobs open to them at the time. At one point, Pullman was the largest employer of black men in the U.S.

This car is a later, lightweight stainless car, and was used on the Northern Pacific. It's currently a display at the Illinois Railway Museum.

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