L&N Baggage-Dormitory Car No. 1652


About the exhibit

Our Office car, former L&N baggage-dormitory car 1652, was built originally in 1911 by the Pullman Company as a 10-section/3 double bedroom sleeper car. It was named “Vicker.”

There is a very interesting part of its history: in 1961 it and three other cars of their class were rebuilt by Pullman to Atomic Energy Commission specifications and assigned by the L&N to the A.E.C. for duty at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. They hauled nuclear material for atomic and hydrogen weapons. They each provided dormitory space for four armed guards and carried shipments in lead- and concrete-lined vaults. They ran between Oak Ridge and A.E.C. destinations such as Rocky Flats, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

They carried normal L&N paint colors with lettering indicating they were in Railway Express Agency service, but they also were stenciled at the baggage door “Assigned United States Atomic Energy Commission Loading Only. When Empty Return To L&N R.R. Oak Ridge Tenn.”

After serving the A.E.C. for some ten years the cars were returned to the L&N and two of the cars, No. 1650 and No. 1651, became snow plows. This car, No. 1652, renumbered to 42326, was converted for service on wrecker trains as a dormitory and tool carrier and was assigned to Corbin, Kentucky. The fourth car, No. 1653, renumbered to 42325, was assigned to wrecker service at Mobile, Alabama. The Museum obtained the latter two of these: No. 1652 was donated by CSX to the Museum in 1991, and we purchased No. 1653 in 1993 and scrapped it in 2011.