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America Goes To War: United States Army Office of Defense Troop Cars

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With no Interstate highway system and few passenger aircraft readily available, World War II troop movements within the United States were primarily consummated by train.

Needing to move huge numbers of enlisted personnel to and from various bases and assignments, the government found itself lacking enough standard railway passenger cars to complete this daily task.


Manufactured along the lines of standard Association of American Railroads (AAR) fifty foot steel boxcars, with their Allied Full Cushion high-speed swing motion trucks, light-weight passenger car-like flat ends and doors, freight car-like floors, roofs, and sides, a row of windows, and a centered door along each body side, designed to utilize existing design elements, fixtures, manufacturing lines, materials, and production equipment, while balancing the nation's need for steel to construct tanks and ships, the assemblage of hybrid troop cars efficiently resolved the issue of railroad passenger equipment shortages.

Micro-Trains Line 116010.1 US Army Office of Defense Pullman Standard Troop Sleeper 9010

Requisitioned by the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation, the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company produced 2,400 troop sleepers and 10 kitchen cars, while American Car & Foundry built 440 kitchen cars and 200 hospital cars.

Painted olive drab with "Pullman" lettered above the center door, though the troop sleepers were owned by the government, they were managed by Pullman, who staffed the cars with company employed porters.

Micro-Trains Line 118010 US Army Office of Defense ACF Troop Kitchen Car K-100

Dependant upon car availability, a typical troop train consist was comprised of an assortment of coaches, troop sleepers for enlisted men, standard full-sized Pullmans for officers, and mid-consist kitchens, which were staffed by U.S. Army cooks and designed to feed approximately 250 men each.

In service through 1947, the U.S. Army Transportation Corps sold the bulk of its lightly used fleet of troop cars to railroad companies, who ended up converting some of their acquisitions into baggage cars, cabooses, express service boxcars, mail storage cars, or refrigerator cars.

Micro-Trains Line 118000 US Army Office of Defense ACF Troop Hospital Kitchen Car 8762

Utilized as railroad Maintenance of Way (MOW) bunk cars, some of the military surplus troop sleepers retained their sleeper configurations.

Carrying USAX reporting marks and road numbers with a "G" prefix, three of the troop kitchens were converted at Fort Holabird, in Baltimore, Maryland, to railway guard cars, which were used to house security detachments assigned to watch over rail shipments of classified cargo (e.g., missiles, nuclear materials, and/or military ordnance).

Prototype United States Army G-10 Guard Car

Image Courtesy of Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association. W. Schneider

Released in August 2009, with its extra body side windows and conspicuously absent offset cupola, the N Scale Micro-Trains Line stock number 118 00 040 United States Army Railway Guard Car G-10 release is a "foobie" that could be modified to more accurately simulate the restored prototype, which resides at Campo, California's  Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.

Micro-Trains Line 118 00 040 US Army Transportation Corps ACF Guard Car USAX G-10

View additional articles like this one in the Trains N Scale™ Models and Prototypes Blog.