The final group of ten members of class J-3a, Nos. 5445-5454, were built streamlined in 1938 for service on the Twentieth Century Limited, the New York Central's premier train. Henry Dreyfuss's famous styling for the Century, featuring a finned bullet nose resembling an ancient warrior's helmet, has been hailed as an icon of art deco industrial design. The shrouding of this last group of NYC Hudsons raised their weight to 365,500 pounds, but otherwise their dimensions resembled those of the 1937 group (see the commentary for Hudson No. 5405). Like the unstreamlined J-3s, Nos. 5445-5454 had roller bearings on all axles. The first five, including No. 5446 shown here, had General Steel Castings' Boxpok disc drivers.
My father, Dr. R. D. Leonard, snapped this photo in 1939 at Englewood Union Station in Chicago, as the train paused on the curve where the New York Central, coming from La Salle Street Station, swung around to parallel the Pennsylvania Railroad's main line into Indiana. No. 5446 is apparently not heading the Twentieth Century Limited, since the heavyweight baggage car behind the tender was not part of the Century's all-streamlined consist. No. 5446 lost her streamlining in 1947 and was retired in 1956, being one of the last NYC Hudsons to operate.