locked Re: Jim Crow Coaches

Bill Schafer


I don’t know that anyone has done a definitive analysis of the varying shades of green utilized by the railroads in the first half of the 20th Century. The Pullman Company utilized a shade of green that they called “Pullman green”. It appeared to me to be something of an olive green. Some other railroads called their particular versions of green “Pullman green” although they didn’t match Pullman’s version of “Pullman green”.

One such railroad was the Southern. In this thread I have seen reference to “Southern coach green”. I have also seen reference elsewhere to a Southern Railway “Pullman green”. In my opinion, they are the same color. Southern green was NOT the same as what the Pullman Company painted their cars, even though Southern sometimes called their green “Pullman green” 

After the Pullman divestiture of the late-1940s, many railroads acquired heavyweight Pullmans and leased them back to the Pullman Company. These railroads, including Southern, painted the cars in their own colors. Southern’s cars were, if I remember correctly, painted Southern Pullman green (same as the coaches and head-end cars) if they said “Southern” in the middle of the letterboards. Once the Lake Pearl said “Southern” on its letter board, its color was Southern’s Pullman (or coach) green. 

If the ownership of a heavyweight sleeper was retained by Pullman (for special movements or troop mobilizations), and retained “Pullman” lettering in the middle of its letterboard, its color was Pullman “Pullman green” (i.e., olive) or two-tone gray.

The foregoing is what I believe to be true based on my personal experience, color photographs, and some documents I have seen over the years. If anyone has more specific information that corroborates or disproves my views, I’d be glad to see it.

—Bill Schafer

On Apr 7, 2019, at 9:22 PM, Charles Powell <charlesspowell@...> wrote:

Doesn't look like the Southern folks were Final Four basketball fans! I posted Saturday evening and there were seven responses before midnight! Seriously, thank you to all especially the drawing from George. I am glad that my old feeble brain still functions, I was pretty certain I remembered those cars as having luggage racks throughout. It does disappoint me that the Smithsonian didn't do its homework, especially since SRHA offered their help. I am helping a writer friend who is writing a mystery novel that takes place in the 1940s. He had emailed me asking if passenger coaches had places for the passengers to store their luggage and before I saw his email, he had searched online on his own and came up with the video from the Smithsonian. I don't think his story line has anything to do with racial issues but I am going to be sure and let him know the facts. 
Thank you all again,
Charlie Powell   

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