Rapido’s New Pullman Standard Dining Car

The Prototype

The Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company was the result of a merger between the original Pullman Car Company (a pioneer in passenger comfort and rail dining) and the Standard Steel Car Company in 1929. This came at a crucial transition period in passenger car development. Until this point, most passenger cars were being constructed in the “Heavyweight” style, using weighty, robust riveted steel. However as the 1930s dawned, the industry shifted to lightweight “sheet steel” construction, which also ushered in a new era of passenger car design. This was the era of streamliners. Considered clean, light, and modern compared to their cumbersome ancestors, these steel cars revolutionized passenger rail travel at a time when keeping a modern image was more crucial than ever before.

The design replicated in this new release from Rapido is based on a later Pullman-Standard example from the mid 1950s. Developed for the Canadian National Railway, these cars entered service in 1954 on long distance trains across Canada, offering a comfortable, smooth ride, and a pleasant dining environment. During this period many similar cars were delivered to other major railroads across North America, finding their way onto prestigious trains such as the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broadway Limited and the Northern Pacific North Coast Limited. Thanks to their sturdy construction and efficient operation, many lasted into the 1970s and 80s, serving long distance passengers with Amtrak and VIA Rail. Several examples continued in further revenue passenger operation with the Ontario Northland Railway into the 21st century.

The Model

The Pullman-Standard Dining Car is the latest addition to Rapido’s HO Scale Super Continental Line. Featuring many upgraded features when compared with earlier Super Continental models, the dining car is perhaps one of the most detailed HO Scale passenger cars available to date. In keeping with past Super Continental models, the car has been made available painted and lettered for multiple railroads in both Canada and the United States, displaying laser sharp application of colors and livery details. These reflect operators from the early days of the car type through later railroads, and right up to the final operators of the late 20th and early 21st century.

It should be noted that while based on a Canadian car, the variation between prototype models is small enough that these cars will absolutely look the part in any appropriate North American consist, and their overall level of detail will more than compensate for any small differences.

Built with durable injection molded plastic construction, the car displays realistic proportions and fine molded detail, but where it really shines is with the sheer level of separately manufactured features.

Starting with the roof, the car features all vents and mechanical components seen on the prototype. Moving to the car ends, scale scissor gates have been included on the sprung diaphragm, along with handbrake details, finely scaled rungs and a separately painted and detailed vestibule door complete with see through windows. The bodysides feature more scale grab irons, along with flush windows constructed with silver painted frames and a non-functioning crew door for kitchen access. Turning the car over, Rapido’s usual impressive level of underside detail is on full display, with all prototypical components and piping fully replicated in fine plastic.

Known for their attention to detail, Rapido has arguably taken HO scale realism to a new level with the interior detail on this car. In addition to modeling a fully furnished seating area, the entire interior has been replicated, including areas you can’t truly appreciate unless you take the roof off, such as the kitchen which features everything from cabinets to sinks! In the seating area, details such as molded tablecloths, individually painted seats, and even molded and painted table settings have been included – including silver painted HO scale knives and forks – a first in this scale! Depending on the railroad, the color scheme and layout of the interior will differ, with some versions featuring a lounge area in addition to table seating.

The cars are sufficiently weighted for smooth operation, and roll freely thanks to their metal wheels, which are housed in either 41-BNO-11 or 41-N-11 trucks.

All examples feature constant voltage interior lighting which can be wirelessly turned on or off with the included “Easy Peasy Magnetic Wand”, and a capacitor has been included to ensure constant lighting, even over dirty track.

All cars come with correctly positioned knuckle couplers and will operate on curves down to an 18 inch radius, allowing for versatile operation on layouts of all sizes.

If you’re a fan of mid-to-late 20th century passenger railroading, this car is a must-have! With 15 road names available, reflecting 60 years of railroading and operations from coast to coast, there’s likely a good excuse for you to add one of these cars to your railroad’s roster!

See the full selection here