Mexican-Owned, Pullman-Operated Cars

Copyright 2007-2010 Thomas C. Madden

In the 1950s and ‘60s Mexican railroads purchased 534 surplus heavyweight and lightweight Pullmans from U.S. railroads, most of which were subsequently operated by Pullman under lease. Here’s the sales breakdown:

B4                       2 LW            21 HW

C&NW             19 LW

C&O                                         70 HW

CStPM&O         4 LW

MC                     4 LW            13 HW

NYC               162 LW          125 HW

PM                                              4 HW

PRR                  34 LW

Pullman              1 LW            39 HW

RF&P                                         1 HW

SP                                             35 HW

All of the cars were renamed, which has led to some confusion. The New York Central had withdrawn almost all of its lightweight cars from Pullman lease in July 1958, but sales of ex-NYC cars to Mexican railroads extended into the late ‘60s. These sales were handled by equipment dealer Edwards International, which repainted, refurbished and renamed the cars before turning them over to the Mexican railroads. Many cars were assigned temporary MGRS (undefined, but probably Mexican Government Railway Service) numbers before being renamed. When these refurbished and renamed cars were returned to Pullman lease, they had been out of Pullman’s control for many years and the previous identities of many of them was uncertain.  Pullman generated new Car Construction Records for cars with uncertain identities, listing only the Mexican car name, plan number and type of trucks. 

Most of the uncertainties were eventually cleared up, but not all. The two primary references (Pullman’s 5/5/67 memo “Cars Assigned in Mexico” and NdeM’s Augusto de 1970 document “Libro de Datos de Coches Dormitorios, Dormitorio-Buffet-Observatorios, Comedores, Comedor-Observatorios, Bar-Observatorios, Bar-Salon, Especiales y Autovias”) do not agree completely, nor do the two secondary references (Randall’s early ‘80s three volume “Streamliner Cars” books and Geoffrey Doughty’s 1997 book “New York Central’s Lightweight Passenger Cars, Trains and Travel”). In some cases there are three-way disagreements.

My research focuses on Pullman, not the NdeM nor the works of other authors. With that in mind, when developing a table of name cross-references I favored Pullman’s list in cases of multiple name disagreements. Here are links to downloadable Mexico/US and US/Mexico car name indexes in PDF format. The designation (T) after a name indicates it was temporary, while (R) indicates a renaming.



Tom Madden

pullmanboss (at) yahoo (dot) com