In late 1943, the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation contracted with the Pullman Company to build 2,400 troop sleepers due to a shortage of sleeping cars brought about by World War II. These cars carried soldiers in a cheap, noisy, rough-riding alternative to passenger-type sleeping cars, but with the services of a Pullman porter. The soldiers slept in 24 three-high bunks. Troop cars saw service though 1947, after which many were sold by the U.S. Army Transportation Corp. Many railroads subsequently converted them into mail cars, express boxcars, box or refrigerator cars, cabooses or camp cars.
Pere Marquette 1701 was purchased as war surplus by the Pere Marquette Railway in 1947, who converted it to a baggage car by plating over the windows and adding a baggage door. It was used by the Pere Marquette’s successors, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Chessie System, in maintenance-of-way service until 1985 when it was donated to the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation. It’s currently used as the tool car both at the Steam Railroading Institute and out on the road with Pere Marquette 1225.
Detroit & Mackinac 7 was purchased as war surplus by the Detroit & Mackinac Railway in 1948, who converted it to a baggage car by plating over several windows and adding a baggage door and vestibules. After passenger service ended on the D&M in 1951, the car was made into a caboose, allowing D&M to retire several aging wooden cabooses. In the 1970’s, a Detroit Diesel generator was added to the car, to serve as a power car for D&M’s business-car fleet. In 2004 the Steam Railroading Institute purchased the car for use as an auxiliary power car. A second Diesel generator set was added in 2018.