SILVER STREAK - LIRR #529 - #543
New York Central Parlor Car and Coaches

The "Silver Streak" was mostly a PR invention of 1968, a temporary gesture to Suffolk County riders who had to endure the LIRR's old "steam" fleet while M-1 service was introduced on the west end of the railroad.

What was unique about the "Silver Streak", a group of former NYC stainless cars that came via the Pickens Railroad, was car 530, the mid-train bar car that served coffee and pastry on a morning run from Northport and cocktails on a early Farmingdale turn and a later Ronkonkoma trip.

The 530 had a stylized modern interior with semaphore panels on lucite and a generally new look that was planned to replace the old look of the early 60's B&M/BAR bar cars. In fact, the 530's interior was the prototype for M-1 bar cars.

The MTA killed the M-1 bars citing, in early political correctness, that public dollars should not be spent on trivialities like bar cars. Not much later, Fairfield County Republicans in Connecticut, used to dictating behavior to the powers to be in Hartford, got M-3 bar cars since Hartford was picking up part of the tab on the M-3 cars. So on August 16, 1968, #267, the "Silver Streak" waits out its departure time from Farmingdale on the "long siding" at Pinelawn. Off in the distance is Pinelawn station. Info: Richard Makse

To the left of the main line is the (At this point) "Old" Pinelawn station. The (At this point) "New" Pinelawn station can be seen to the Right of the Whistle Post. Today, you can barely recognize this area. Even though the land is still "Unused" to the left of the train, the photographer is standing on the new electrified main. On the site of the (In this photograph) Old Pinelawn station is a substation and the New Main track goes exactly where the (In this photograph) new Pinelawn station is. The telegraph poles are all taken down today and their replacements are to the left of the train. And finally, with the exception of the siding, this is all welded rail and becoming all concrete ties through here. Info:  Jerry Jewels


Exterior: Lightweight, stainless steel locomotive-hauled coach; picture windows; safety chains; tight-lock couplers.
Interior: 107-seat (529, 530) or 106-seat (531-543) coach; 3/2 reversible vinyl seating; mechanical air conditioning; vestibule at one end; one toilet.
Modifications: 530 converted to a 24-seat bar-coach, 5/1968, with longitudinal seating and its toilet was removed.

General: These cars were sold about 6/1967 to the Pickens Railroad where they were rebuilt. Original reclining seats were replaced with high density seating, two of the three toilets were removed, end lounges were removed and diaphragms were replaced with safety chains. The Long Island bought cars 2938, 3049, 3063, 3073, 3075, 3064, 3126, 3133, 3136 and 3149 in 10/1967. Cars 3005, 3067, 3101 and 3147 were bought 11/1967. Car 86-Samuel J. Tilden was bought 12/1967. These cars were nicknamed “Pickens cars” by Maintenance of Equipment personnel and “Silver Streak” by everyone else.
Research: Jeff Erlitz

529 ex-New York Central 2938
530 ex-New York Central 86-Samuel J. Tilden
531 ex-New York Central 3005
532 ex-New York Central 3049
533 ex-New York Central 3063
534 ex-New York Central 3067
535 ex-New York Central 3073
536 ex-New York Central 3075
537 ex-New York Central 3064
538 ex-New York Central 3101
539 ex-New York Central 3126
540 ex-New York Central 3133
541 ex-New York Central 3136
542 ex-New York Central 3147
543 ex-New York Central 3149

LIRR #219 Union Hall Street passing St. Monica's c.1965 Archive: Joe Saullo

Silver Streak - ex-NYC cars westbound
at Bellaire 12/02/1967 Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR 539, a former NYC coach, is the last car in this consist in this December 1967 view at Oyster Bay. Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR #530 was a one-of-a-kind car on LIRR. It was built by Budd in 1941 as a parlor car with 30 seats and 1 drawing room for NYC's new streamlined Empire State Express. When acquired by LIRR in 1967, it was converted to a 24 seat coach with bar. Note: Five of the large windows on this side of the car were blanked during the conversion.   Photo: George Votava Archive: Dave Keller

One of the fourteen coaches (LIRR #529, x-NYC #2938) and the one bar coach, LIRR #530, x-NYC 86 SAMUEL J. TILDEN (photo above), were built by Budd with a stainless steel structure.  The other thirteen coaches were built by Pullman with cosmetic (non-structural) stainless steel fluting.  These 15 cars were unlike anything the LIRR owned/operated at that time or in the past. 

I was not aware that the cars were rebuilt from their original 64 seat intercity configuration to a higher density commuter layout by the Pickens Railroad at their shop in South Carolina.  Certainly NYC had the capability to do this work at their main shop in Beech Grove, Indiana, but maybe it was done at the shortline shop in SC at a lower cost.

I wonder if the term “Silver Steak” was also applied to LIRR 8569-8572, the four Budd stainless steel coaches acquired from FEC, about a year later?  They did have a reasonably similar exterior appearance. I rode one of those x-FEC cars on The Shelter Island Express in 1970, and it still had its plush interior configuration of 2 by 2 reclining upholstered seats.  More importantly, the air conditioning worked perfectly on a hot humid summer day. Info: Jack Deasy

LIRR #531  coach ex-NYC #3005 Archive: Mike Boland

Silver Streak cars - Three C420s - Ronkonkoma 1969  Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR #530 coach/bar ex-NYC Samuel Tilden parlor at Richmond Hill. 11/03/1973 Photo: Gene Collora Archive: Mike Boland

LIRR #541 coach ex-NYC #3136 at Richmond Hill. 5/26/1968 Photo: Gene Collora
Archive: Mike Boland


LIRR #207 ex-NYC "Silver Streak" cars Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

LIRR #534  ex-NYC #3067 at Ronkonkoma
6/14/1970  Photo: Gene Collora
Archive: Mike Boland

LIRR #542 ex-NYC #3147 at Richmond Hill 5/26/1968 Photo: Gene Collora
Archive: Mike Boland

Collier's magazine ad, August 10th, 1946,  for the 64 seat coaches Pullman built for the New York Central Railroad. Archive: Jack Deasy
LIRR S1 # 415 in the foreground. Silver Streak cars in the Advance Yard at the mail dock (photo background) c.1970 Archive: Mike Boland