Classic Train Questions Part Deux (50 Years or Older)

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 10, 2017 10:46 AM

Cleveland:  I thought that was what you had in mind as the other subway, but should it really be called a subway?   If memory is correct, the only underground station is the Terminal Tower Station itself.  55th Street is in a cut, and most of the othe stations are on the surface or on an elevated structure.  There is a covered-over terminal at the airport, but is it really underground?  Ad would these two stations make it a subway?

New York City's fleet of R32s are clearly the oldest rapid transit cars in regular service in North America.  Originally not air-conditioned, they were air-conditioned, and the cars still in operaton have their second air-conditioning systems.  They were the first fleet of stainless steel rapid transit cars in North America, built by Budd, before the retired Philly "Almond Joys."

Which cars are the next oldest.  What important innovation did they pioneer?  And do it more reliably then some that followed?

Hint:  A good friend of mine was resposible for their success --- and their continiued success.  He won't mind my naming him when you come up with the answer.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 11, 2017 9:13 AM

Further hint needed?

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:23 PM

Should I give the answer and ask a different question?

 

Here is a hint.  The route used by these cars:  On part they were second generation equipment, but on the other part depends on what you definte as new.   Could be first generationt here.   Maybe 3rd 4th or 5th.   For the owner of the cars, all 1st generation.   Total route was never under one ownership until about the time these cars were ordered.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 14, 2017 1:15 PM

These are defined as rapid transit cars.  But the route does combine typical subway operation with typical open-air suburban operation and is a city-to-suburbs line.  The cars were similar to the largest order of post-WWII commuter equipment, and were prototypes for that equipment with regard to general consruction, construction material, inside-frame trucks, and door locations.  The computer equipment did not duplicate the innovation, which was 100% successful on this line, but has had some problems when implemented elsewhere in a minority of cases, but well-known cases.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, September 14, 2017 4:07 PM

Are you looking for the original cars on the Lindenwold High Speed Line?  They seem to have survived multiple rebuildings.  This was also one of the first designs with computer control features.  The Lindenwold end has built up quite a bit since the line opened, but at the time was fairly suburban.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, September 15, 2017 12:46 AM

Yes, but not only computer control, but full automatic operaton after the operator manually closes the doors and presses start.  The very first that worked reliably, applied to the entire fleet.

Bill Vigrass was the chief engineer for the project and remained as chief of operaions.  He returned to supervise the major rebuilding after rertirement.

During the testing period, at night, when it could be preumed there would be no tresspassers or anything, one night they actually ran trains back and forth with nobady on board, just one person at 8th and Chestnut and one at Lindenwald pressing the close door and start buttons through the cab window!  Or so I was told.

And, at the present time, they are the oldest North American rapid transit cars still operating, with the exception of New Yorks' R32s.    But both Budd designs, although some of the PATCO cars may have been built by GE.

Look forward to your question.

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, September 17, 2017 7:11 PM

This postwar train, which served the first and fifth largest cities in Texas, gained strength as a new line was opened in the mid 1950s to allow direct service to the state's third largest city.  Enough patronage was generated to hasten the end of another famous Texas train.  Service on this line ended a few years before Amtrak, but the train itself survived into the Amtrak era.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 18, 2017 3:52 AM

The Q's Texas Zephyr, which gave direct service to Dallas via a new cutoff, with the main section headed to Houston via Fort Worth.  I rode it once, to get the test equipment back to Cambridge without paying shipping charges and with my personal supervision after the opening of Jones Hall in Houston in 1966.  There was no limit on carry-on baggage in those days.  And Parmelie did do the job in transferring to the New England States to Boston.  The Dallas section was still in operaion at the time, with both coach and sleeper service.  I forget the name of the junction.

I suppose business was taken from the second Missouri Pacific train, but the Texas Eagle did continue to provide competion Chicago - Houston via St. Louis.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, September 18, 2017 6:50 AM

The Texas Zephyr ran to Dallas from the beginning.  It never served Houston directly, passengers were handled on the Texas Rocket or Sam Houston Zephyr.  Besides, the route was the same from the trains start to its end.  The MP trains lasted longer than most, with massive downgrading not beginning until 1967 or so.

Both the train I'm looking for and the one whose business it hurt were operated by other railroads.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 11:28 AM

In 1966 I rode the Texas Zephyr (in a roomette, with much of my "luggage" in the adjacent coach), from Houston to Chicago.  It was called the Texas Zephyr at the ticket office in Houston when I bought my ticket, using my rail travel credit card, regardless of what it may have been called elsewhere.   Please check you OG and get back.  Certain of this.

 But I'm unfamiliar with other railroad's service in Texas (except for Houston - N. O. and Houston - L. A., and my St. Louis - Troop for Tyler trip) at the time and look forward to someone else answering the question.

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 1:03 PM

The Texas Zephyr was the C&S/FW&D Denver-Dallas train...

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 1:42 PM

In 1966 sleepers, coaches, and a diner did originate in Houston.  Absolutely positive about that, and presume that southbound they terminated too.  And ran via Fort Worth.   I think the joining of the section from Dallas took place at Dennon? or Denton?  Was the Denver - Dallas train running in 1966?  If not could the name have been transferred to the Sam Houston Zephyr?

If both trains were running then I must admit a memory error.

Can you check a 1966 timetable?

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 2:50 PM

It wasn't a Zephyr at all...  The Texas Zephyr ran point to point, and ran through Fort Worth to get to Dallas.  It also went to Denver.  Think which other systems had trains that went to Texas.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 3:54 PM

It was the Texas Chief,  which originally served Fort Worth but not Dallas on its way to Galveston. 

In 1968, I had a ticket that read, in part, SFe KC to Dallas and then T&P to New Orleans. I did not know that the Dallas section had been discontinued, but I was allowed to go on to Fort Worth and then take the T&P to New Orleans.  

Dave had the right routing, but the wrong train name.

Johnny

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 5:34 PM

The Texas Chief's Dallas section (from Gainesville TX) was successful enough that the SLSF/MKT Texas Special saw a significant impact.  While it's probably too much to say that it caused the Special's demise, the Dallas section's presence convinced both the ICC and the Texas Railroad Commission to allow the Special to be dropped by MKT.  By the end, it was an MKT-only train from Kansas City.

You guys flip a coin.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 12:05 AM

It Was the Texas Chief I rode, not the Texas Zephye, realized this right after posting, but could not get back to the computer internet connection until this moment.  And it was the second time I rode the train, the first being Chicago - Wichitar.

The Parmelie transfer to La Salle and the New England States was from Dearborn, not frolm Union.

Degesty can have it if he has a question ready.   Apologies for the error.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 25, 2017 4:53 AM

We are still waiting

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:47 AM

Or should I ask one?

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 7:00 PM

Go ahead Dave.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:43 AM

In the earlyl 1900's, many USA streetcar systems had two fleets of cars, open cross-banch cars for summer service and closed conventional cars for other seasons.

Describe the two approaches, one peculiar to one specific car builder, that did in effect probide the andvantages of both times in one car, and was also a solution that permitted conversion to one-man operation.   And which systems and cities had large fleets of either type.  In two cities they were the dominant streetcar design for a long time, one in each of these two cities.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, September 29, 2017 7:28 AM

OK, I'll make it easy.  One approach was almost exclusively ini New York, with over a thousand cars altogether betwen two operators and even including elevated railway cars.  In fact, this approach was used on cars that at one point were in mu trains that traveled on Long Island Railroad tracks.

The other approach included around 500 cars, well more than half the total fleet, in a seabord citiy to the south of New York City.   And some of these cars were also mu in trains on a largely PRoW.  These cars were painted red, the others yellow.  All built by one builder who had a patent on the conception.

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, September 29, 2017 2:01 PM

A large number of both TARS and BMT streetcars were convertibles, with removable side panels for summer operation.  Unlike standard open cars, they had center aisles and screens or bars on the sides.  The big problem was keeping track of and storing the side panels. The other most common design was the semi-convertible where the window either dropped into a pocket in the wall, or went into a pocket in the roof (I think that was a Brill patent).  Philadelphia had 1756 of the Brill Semi-convertibles, though I don't know if that's the city you were looking for..  On the weird side, some of Lehigh Valley Transit's predecessors had "barrel cars" where the side panels including windows were curved to slide into the roof.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 01, 2017 2:27 AM

Brill Semis are right, but I did not even know that Philly had a large fleet of Semis. My impression is that they had nearsides, light-weight WWI "Navy Yard" double-end cars, and lots of Peter Witts.  Are you sure it is Philly that you are writing about or are you memory slipping like I do and the real city is the one I remember, Baltimore.  The number for Baltimore seems correct.  Except for some single-truck Birneys and some odd-balls, the Semis made up to the total roster for Baltimore until the arrival of the Brill Peter Witts around 1930 and PCCs ten years later.  Some of the Philly WWI double-end cars were sold to Red Arrow when PCCs arrived and were used until the St. Louse semi-PCCs, two now being converted by Brookville to real PCCS for San Francisco operation. arrived.

884 of Third Avenue, and 4573 of Brooklyn are surviving convertables at the Shore Line Trolley Museum.  TARS' were 01-100, 201-300, 851-1051.  Brooklyn's were 4100-4600.

The 1300s of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit, later BMT, were the last open platfomr elevated cars built for Brooklyn, and were convertables. They were all motor cars and generally ran with one 1200-series wood trailer between two of them.  They were partly of steel construction, came on-line after the first IRT all-steel subway cars, 1905 or 1906, and ran elevated-system-wide but last on Myrtle Avenue until the ex-Qeens sliding-door BMT cars came from the 3rd Avenue Elevated in 1957.  They had seen service in the Williamsburg Bridge - Rockaway Park service run jointly with LIRR.

Also, check and see Balatimore Trolley Museum has a semi. Seashore has one ex-Eastern Massachusetts.  They had 200 in the 4200 and 4300 series.

Please check your facts on Philly and get back.  And ask the next question.  Thank you.

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, October 01, 2017 6:27 PM

The Philly number comes from page 77 of the Brill corporate history.  The last semis were delivered in 1913, just about the same time the first nearsides arrived.  My suspicion is that they were looted for parts at a relatively young age. I, on the other hand, was unaware Baltimore had such a large fleet.  Seashore's Baltimore Semi-Convertible 5748 is currently tarped somewhere in the back 40.  It came to Seashore without trucks in 1957, but now has Brill 27G trucks obtained from Montreal to it can (eventually) operate on standard gauge track instead of Baltimore's 5' 4.5" gauge.

Seashore's Eastern Mass 4387 was built by Laconia in 1918 after Brill's patents expired.  Seashore also has Brooklyn Rapid Transit 4547, a convertible, built by Jewett in 1906.  4387 is due to be released (again) to the operating fleet next spring.  4547 is in cosmetically good condition in a display barn. but has one or more motors with issues.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, October 01, 2017 10:42 PM

I wonder if Philidelphia sold off its relatively new, at the time, semis to Baltimore when the nearsides and later Peter Witts arrived.  My fist exploraton of Philly streetcars was in 1947, age 15, when the system was quite complete, before Natoinal Cities ownership, and there were no semiconvertables operating at that time that I saw.  Can you find out what happened?

And ask the next question, please.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, October 02, 2017 9:31 AM

From what I can find Philadelphia did a large-scale replacement of cars around 1923.  The semi-convertibles were all wood, and there was a flourishing trade in second-hand motors and controls at the time, so in all probability most of them were just scrapped.  Anyone who has wrestled with windows in a wooden carbody knows how hard it is to keep one straight, so I'm sure the crews didn't mind having them disappear.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, October 02, 2017 11:20 AM

I thought I had posted a St. Ann's Avenue streetcar photo to illustrate a Third Avenue convertable.  The "L" line wss the St. Ann's Avenue line because it used to be an L-shaped route with a southern continuation to the west to Willis Avenue on 133rd St.  (Willis Avenue and 132nd was the locatoin of the southern end of the New York Westchester and Boston and at the same point of the New Haven's Harlem River shuttle from New Rochelle).

Did the moderator remove the posting because the use of a St. Ann's Avenue car made it a religous post?  It is the best side-view of a Third Avenue convertable that I have processed so far.

Anyway, I note there are matters on previous postings of mine that require correction, typos, and I don't have an edit button -  -but carry on without me.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 02, 2017 3:29 PM

daveklepper
Did the moderator remove the posting because the use of a St. Ann's Avenue car made it a religious post?

Probably not; it appears that we finally have a real moderator overseeing the Trains Magazine site, and presumably here as well.  Isn't the St. Ann picture clearly visible over in the other 'quiz' thread?  It is for me.

I still can't figure out why you wouldn't have an edit button for your prior posts, even on very restricted bandwidth.  Did you change account details, or set up a different login?  If so, you should contact Kalmbach customer service and have them reset your old account credentials so you can access the old posts correctly.  (Where is the 'sticky' on the Trains.com Web site that covers matters like these?)

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, October 03, 2017 7:18 AM

Your posts show up nicely on the "Classic Trains Questions" forum.

This railroad's dive into "streamlining" was as shallow as possible, with open platform parlor-observations and paint and a side skirt on a single locomotive, even if the treatment was designed by an industrial designer who also designed an entire fleet of streamliners.  The train itself lasted long enough to get diesel power.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 03, 2017 9:12 AM

New Yoek Ontario and Western "Mountanear"

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