PULLMAN LIBRARY at Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL


Pullman Library Passenger Truck Ordering Information & Background

Updated: May 2022

[The Pullman Library Collection consists (mostly) of Manufacturer Company's Records, Drawings, Photos, etc.  We have very little in the way of Operations records. See the Pullman Time Line here

We need to ascertain the Lot/Job, Plan (if any), Car Name/Number for *ANY* request (not just trucks). ]

The Pullman Library often receives inquiries related to (post 1932) Passenger car trucks using the so-called "Pullman Universal Truck Code" (or variations of this term).   Properly, that should read "The Pullman Company Administrative/Maintenance Truck Code" - as it was created to provide an easy way to refer to trucks for maintenance & administrative purposes.  For the Operations Company: Pullman Co..

Pullman Company (PCo) and Pullman Car & Manufacturing (PC&M later Pullman-Standard (P-S)) were separate companies from 1923 (the merger with Haskell & Barker) on - decades before the Divestiture.  (The Divestiture refers to the holding company (Pullman Inc.) spinning the Operations Co. off and selling it to a pool of railroads in 1948 - not splitting the Operations Co. from the Manufacturing Co. as that had happened 25 years previously). 

PCo & P-S had different employees, and different plants & facilities.  Pullman Car Works (PCW) refers to the shops for the Manufacturer (P-S), Calumet Shops refers to the support shops for the Operations Company (PCo).  The "Pullman Photographer" (an employe (Pullman spelling) of Pullman, Inc.) that took Builders photos split time between those shops depending on need.

P-S *only* used the truck code when it was specified by the ordering entity (PCo. or even more rarely, railroads) - and not even PCo. used the code all the time when ordering trucks from P-S.  P-S typically referred to the trucks by the GSC/CSC (General Steel Casting Corp. / Commonwealth Steel Co.) Truck Frame Casting drawing number or Truck General Arrangement Drawing Number.  The "Pullman Catalog" listed trucks by the Code - but this was for Pullman Co. Employes to order from Pullman Co. warehouses & shops (and, in the case of paints and other materials, the manufacturers of those parts).

Why not use the "Universal Code (sic)" (for P-S or Budd at the Library)?  It is inadequate to describe a full sized passenger truck and to locate drawings, photographs and documents in the Library.  Usually, the truck was assembled by P-S from the frame and parts specified by the ordering entity.  They might want different center plates, springs, bearings, journals, bearing blocks, axles, wheel profiles, wheel serial numbers, etc.  These are not (generally) indicated by the Truck Code.  It was a method of ala carte ordering. I.E. Use ASF brakes rather than Westinghouse.  Railroads habitually ordered a completed assemblage of parts not a completed unit. (They specified the parts to be used in a completed car, not the completed car).

A typical Truck section in a P-S Passenger Car Specification will usually consist of multiple pages with 2 columns of parts for the trucks.  This represents a "bill of materials" for the trucks.  There are simply MANY parts that make up a truck, and most are not defined within the Code.

Modelers on the other hand, see the Code as a panacea.  The nuances that take pages of part numbers in drawing lists means nothing to them - no one is going to tell a different bearing block in O scale let alone N scale. In reality, a truck is an entity made up of many parts - a kit if you will - not a singular unit of itself.

Model Manufacturers want to provide a unit to sell under multiple car models.  This just is not the way Manufacturers handled it. The ordering entity (PCo. or railroads) had to specify the parts involved in the assembling of the truck.  This is akin to model manufacturers wanting a generic "Budd coach".  No such thing.  There is no "generic" 41-HR truck.

Similarly, no author wants to delve into the minutia of trucks.  They want to refer to trucks by a singular name - exactly what the Code purports to provide.  Again, an author is not likely to delve into that table of drawings - who cares if the axles and wheels had serial numbers (that couldn't normally be seen)? Who cared if the springs on one truck were different than another?  Who cared?  The Manufacturer and car owners. 

This isn't just a P-S foible.  Budd also referred to the CSC/GSC truck drawing number - not the Code.  And Budd did the same (in terms of descriptions) - a Bill of Materials list on the General Drawing for the truck on a Budd passenger car had dozens of lines of parts.  Rarely the same car to car (Job) and not always the same end to end of the same car (different weighting on cars could dictate different parts ).  Often, trucks on opposite ends of the car did not weigh the same and had different springs, blocks, journals, center plates, etc.. (Each car (not Job or type) had a separate line for weights - for the body, trucks and combined - they had to have a line for each car as these numbers fluctuated)

Trucks represent a one to many relationship - one Truck Code designation is associated with many assembled prototype trucks that fit that code designation.  We can (and have) applied the Truck Code designation to drawings and photos - but were you to look, you'd see that the reality is the official manufacturer designation for those trucks may run in the dozens.  The frame drawing will be different, and no telling how many parts are different from truck to truck.  The frame may be different (even though it is the same Truck Code designation) because the casting of that frame may require holes/nubs/protrusions/slots/etc. to allow attachment/retention of the varied parts specified for that truck to that frame (that the Truck Code doesn't indicate). The casting may also have the ordering entity's truck class code, the GSC/CSC frame drawing number, the Manufacturer designation (i.e. T99-12345 for a Budd car), the date, the owner, serial number, etc. 

The Pullman Library can attempt to identify a given truck drawing using the Truck Code (but that will require research time and delay results). There have been several attempts at a cross reference of sorts.  But this rarely works or takes far too much time.  The Manufacturers just did not use the Code.  We need to ascertain the Lot/Job, Plan (if any), Car Name/Number for *ANY* request (not just trucks). 

Most authors, researchers and available resources used the Operating Company's records and even drawings as sources.  These are *NOT* the Manufacturer drawings (they're often simplified versions).  The bias is plain to see - if a car is described in Plan, Lot order, it is an Operating bias, if a Lot, Plan order, it is a Manufacturing bias.  It makes a difference!  


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