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Timothy B. Blackstone
Timothy B. Blackstone
Like many other railroads during the post-war period, the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad (GM&O) re-equipped its passenger trains with modern, streamline cars. Immediately following the war, GM&O placed orders with American Car Foundry to purchase coach, parlor, and sleeping cars. By fourth quarter of 1947, most of these cars had been delivered and integrated into the GM&O fleet with the exception of the sleeper cars.

By late 1947, the sleeper cars were still just a drawing. In addition to a shortage of materials, the inability of the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad to make decisions on a variety of design options delayed the delivery of the sleeping cars until 1950. Originally, the four sleeping cars were supposed to be 22 or 24 roomette cars. In June 1947, the floor plan was changed to an 8-4-3-1 from the roomette configuration. This changed would allow better utilization of the cars by allowing an overnight trip to St. Louis from Chicago and back on the Midnight Special after a trip from Mobile to Chicago had been completed via the Gulf Coast Rebel/Abraham Lincoln trains.

Finally, after many months of delay, the 8-4-3-1 sleeper cars were delivered to the GM&O in 1950. The cars were named for prominent persons in the history of the railroad. Timothy B. Blackstone was the president of the railroad from the 1860's to the 1890's.

The last of these cars were mothballed in 1968 after the Pullman Company dropped out of the sleeping car business and the GM&O discontinued sleeper car service on the Midnight Special. The Timothy B. Blackstone was acquired by the Pacific Railroad Society in 1970.

In the February 1970, issue of Wheel Clicks, the contest to rename the Blackstone was announced. Sentiment at the time was that the name was not appropriate for Pacific Railroad Society use. Entries were solicited and new names were provided. The April Wheel Clicks revealed that the winning name was the Golden Sunset.

A few years later, the car was repainted as a result of an Amtrak requirement to paint all private cars in the platinum mist colors. At that time, the car was renamed the Timothy B. Blackstone. This was done because members thought the name closely identified the origins of the car and because replacement part ordering was complicated by the existence of a Rock Island car with the identical name.

Most of the history of the Timothy B. Blackstone was gathered from the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Historical Society Newsletter article on the ordering and purchase of the postwar sleeper cars.

The Timothy B. Blackstone was donated to Monticello Railway Museum in 2015

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