B&O Passenger Questions

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B&O Passenger Questions

  • I'm new here and not sure I'm posting these questions in the correct forum. I trust the moderator will route to the appropriate place. 

    Recently I traveled Amtrak out east.  The conductors wrote passenger destinations on a small piece of paper and clipped them on the edge of the overhead luggage rack.  Would a conductor on a  late 1930's-early 1940's B&O passenger train departing Pittsburgh for Confluence, PA have used the same routine so he knew where each passenger was destined?   IF not, what was the routine used in those days?

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  • In coaches, conductors usually put a small cardboard "seat check" in the clip on the edge of the luggage rack over the seats, usually one for each occupying passenger.  This was done when the passenger's ticket was "lifted" or punched.   Some railroads used different seat checks for different destinations, but most had squares marked off with the appropriate one punched for the destination.   One some railroads the destinatioins were on the  seat check, on others, just a whale of a lot of numbers, with the conductor and trainmen supposed to know the corresponding number for each station.  On some B&O trains, if my memory is correct, the ticket itself was the seat check, the  conductor simply took your ticket, punched his specifically shaped hole in it with his punch, and placed it in the clip on the luggage rack.

    In sleepers, each porter had a diagram with names and destinations.  He was resonsible for alterting passengers and insuring their exit tot he station on their arrival.

  • Thank you, Mr. Klepper, for your very informative response.

  • Seat checks are still used by Amtrak and commuter agencies....a piece of heavy paper of varying colors (color could signify date, direction or whatever)  with numbers. When ticket is lifted or punched the seat check is usually punched for destination; conductors and ticket collectors can allow other notes for themselves either punched or written.  It shows that the ticket has been collected and otherwise acts as a reminder to the conductor.  


    I See  the orange intrusive banner color has changed to red!  

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  • Thank you, Henry

  • You poor Yankees don't know that you are talking about hat checks, not seat checks.Smile The number on a hat check (originally stuck in the band on the passenger's hat) did identify the station number (usually the mile post for the station the passenger was going to). Some roads did have the names of stations on the checks, and the conductor would punch by the name of the destination station.

    I once had occasion to help another passenger find his seat one night. I was going from Charlottesville to  Ronceverte, and spent some time in the lounge car after dinner. As I was leaving to go to my seat, a soldier approached me (for some reason, he may have mistaken me for a C&O employee) and asked for help in finding his seat (he did not remember which coach he was in, either). After asking him where he was going, I was able, from the C&O timetable, to determine what number was on his hat check (I knew that the mileposts were numbered from Phoebus, not Washington), and we went through the coaches until we found his seat by looking at the hatchecks.

    Johnny