Equipment Roster
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad New Braunfels
Divided Chair Car built 1955 for the Texas Special
 
Above and left, the New Braunfels at the Gulf Coast Railroad Museum.
 


The New Braunfels is one of six cars ordered in late 1954 in Pullman Lot 6965 to Plan 7647 for the famous streamlined Texas Special, "Glamour Train of the Southwest."  The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT or Katy) and St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco) jointly operated the red and silver streamliner between St. Louis and San Antonio.  The train had received streamlined equipment in the late 1940s, but additional equipment was needed to fill out the three consists required to cover the schedule.

One car in the series was built for the Frisco.  The other five, including the New Braunfels, were delivered in July 1955 to the MKT.  According to one report, on delivery to the MKT at St. Louis, the car deadheaded on train No. 5, the Katy Flyer, to Parsons, Kansas.  Shortly thereafter, the New Braunfels was spotted in service on the MKT's Bluebonnet at San Antonio.  Could this have been a shakedown run for the new car?

The New Braunfels was one of the first all-stainless steel cars built by Pullman-Standard, which had been unable to build all-stainless steel cars until the mid-1950s when certain patents held by rival Budd Co. expired.  The interior was configured as a divided coach, that is, with a partition segregating white and colored passengers, and separate toilet facilities for each section.

Above, the New Braunfels in Dallas on June 26, 1965, shortly before the car was delivered to
the NP for service between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.  Photo by John B. Charles.

After cessation of the Katy's passenger service in the 1960s, the New Braunfels found a home on the Northern Pacific Railway (NP) as that line's No. 530, and after NP was merged with other lines to form Burlington Northern (BN), the car became BN property.  AMTRAK acquired the car from BN in 1971 and numbered it 6452.  According to a former AMTRAK employee, the car operated in AMTRAK service between Chicago and Houston over the winter of 1976.  In addition, he recalls that portions of the original partition between the white and colored sections remained in the car above the luggage racks at this time.  However, these items were removed some time before the museum acquired the car.

Above, the New Braunfels as NP 530 in Amtrak service.  Photo courtesy John Kuehl.

Originally assigned to AMTRAK service between Chicago and Milwaukee, the car received an overhaul sometime in the mid-1970s.  This cosmetic refurbishment included bright orange paint in the vestibule and corridors, purple vinyl wall coverings in the restrooms, blue and red patterned seat upholstery and blue carpet on the walls and ceilings, covering the original "boomerang" formica.  In the early 1980s, the New Braunfels was leased to Metro North Commuter Railroad, seeing service on various commuter lines out of New York City.

In July 1985, AMTRAK offered the New Braunfels for sale at auction, identifying it as a former BN/NP car.  A sharp-eyed Gulf Coast Railroad Museum board member determined the car's full heritage and Texas connection.  A museum representative traveled to Delaware to inspect the car, and submitted a bid.  Two months later, the car arrived at the museum.

Below, the New Braunfels in Amtrak guise in storage at Bear, Delaware in 1985.  Later on the day this picture was taken, Gulf Coast Chapter NRHS placed a bid for the car with Amtrak, and the New Braunfels became the first piece of equipment acquired by the Gulf Coast Railroad Museum through purchase.  Photo by Tom Marsh.

Restoration to MKT exterior colors, modernization of the interior and upgrade of the HVAC systems is underway.  All work is being undertaken by volunteers using donated materials and funds.  Some of the work involved is shown in the photos below by Gulf Coast Railroad Museum Vice President - Mechanical Al Dykes.  You can support this project with a donation.  Click here for information.


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