By the 1960s, many passenger trains had become shadows of their former selves, but one soldiered on, providing all-sleeping-car service as it had from the beginning of the 20th century, the Broadway Limited. Modelers who wish to replicate this train late in its Pennsylvania RR life now have the Walthers Proto 1960s Broadway Limited.
The prototype. In 1949, following the deferred maintenance of the war years, the PRR updated the Broadway Limited with all-new equipment from the big three passenger car builders, Budd, American Car & Foundry, and Pullman-Standard. These cars would be with the train until the end of the PRR, and many would continue to serve under Penn Central and on to the early years of Amtrak. Some of these cars were used in the PRR’s other passenger trains.
The model. The 1960s-era Broadway Limited is a modified version of Walthers’ model of the 1953 train released in 2011. The main difference is the side skirting on the cars. The Pennsylvania, like many railroads, removed the skirting between the trucks to simplify access to under-floor mechanical systems.
The reviewed models are a Pullman-Standard 12-duplex, 4-bedroom sleeper, and a 1 bedroom-2 master room-buffet lounge-observation car. Both models match prototype photos and floorplans.
The 24 sleepers in the Creek series had duplex rooms with a staggered up and down placement in the center of the car, and two bedrooms at each end. The staggered compartments resulted in a unique up-and-down window placement on the room side of the car. The aisleway had conventional window placements.
The two observation cars in the View- series were reserved for the Broadway Limited: the Mountain View and the Tower View. The observation car carries an updated Broadway Limited tail sign, which on the prototype was lit from above. The model has no provision for lighting the sign. There is a noticeable gap between the blunt end of the car and the side walls.
Walthers’ models include complete interiors molded in tan plastic. I reached the interior by releasing the locking tabs on the roof with a no. 17 chisel blade in a hobby knife. The locations of the tabs are indicated on the instruction sheet.
All dimensions with the exception of coupled length matched published figures. The longer coupled length is due
to the slightly oversized model couplers. The sleeping car weighed 7 ounces, matching National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) Recommended Practice 20.1. The observation was slightly lighter at 6.8 ounces.
Both body-mounted die-cast metal couplers on the sleeper and one on the observation drooped about 1 mm. I adjusted the trip pins higher so they wouldn’t foul turnouts.
Out of the box, the diaphragms touch when the cars are pushed together and are just slightly apart when the cars are being pulled. Although the cars will operate on a 24" minimum radius curve, they look better on broader curves. Walthers includes a set of user-installed draft-gear boxes that allow the cars to negotiate 22"- radius curves. However, these parts also increase the distance between the cars.
The Tuscan Red paint and buff lettering and striping were all evenly applied and opaque. Decals are provided for the car names. Only the Mountain View and Tower View decals are appropriate for the observation. The underbody equipment matched photos I found of both cars.
The 1960s were a fascinating time in railroading as classic rolling stock gave way to modern equipment. Walthers 1960s Broadway Limited lets modelers relive some of the old glory.