Sleeping cars provided overnight transportation in the era before intercity auto and air travel. Built by the Pullman Standard Car and Manufacturing Company in 1950, this car is one of the last generations of railroad sleeping cars. Unlike the open-berth cars of the 1920’s, these streamlined cars had all enclosed rooms. This is the most common style of lightweight sleeper, known as a “10 6” because it has 10 small roomettes with a single bed each, and 6 double bedrooms with two beds, that can be combined into suites. Normal occupancy would have been 22 passengers, assisted by a Pullman porter who slept on a short bunk at one end of the car.
The “City of Ashland” is one of a large order of 56 10-6’s for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, intended for service between Washington, Newport News, White Sulphur Springs, Cincinnati, Chicago and Detroit. These 56 cars were named for cities on the C&O line; including several in Michigan that did not have sleeping-car service or even passenger service. Sleepers built in the early 1950’s went out of use quickly due to being obsoleted by highways and airlines.
This car was sold to a private collector in 1971 and was stored for many years along with sister car “City of Ludington” in Lima, Ohio until the early 1990’s. Steve Zuiderveen, John Baldwin and Max Smith became owners of the car until 2003 when it was donated to the Steam Railroading Institute. “City of Ashland” retains its original interior and is operable, but presently used only for crew accommodation.