Private cars in the 1930's....

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Private cars in the 1930's....
Posted by txhighballer on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 7:08 PM

I know there were private Pullmans in the 1930's but what were the stipulations of them being pulled? Were there certain trains where they were not allowed? Could you have your private car coupled to the back of the Super Chief? TIA for your responses.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 10:40 PM

I would suggest reading Beebe's Mansions on Rails for information on how PV's were handled. Typically the PV owner would contact the various railroads involved with moving the car to arrange for hauling and switching to get a quote and I presume the charges would have to be paid before movements take place.

I suspect that streamliner's such as the Super Chief would not handle private cars.

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Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 6:51 AM

Every railroad that handled passenger trains had a general passenger agent, whose job included dealing with private cars.  The standard rate for many years was 18 first-class fares plus switching and storage charges.  The car's owner would send a typewritten letter to the GPA, who would respond with availabilty of the requested routing, and any other relevant information.  As you surmised, some premier trains would not handle private cars (or even the owning railroad's business cars) but routes that had such trains usually had secondary trains where the car could be accomodated. There were also trains that would handle private cars, but not on the rear.  The Super Chief was one train that did not handle them at all.  On the New York Central, private cars were sometimes handled on extra sections of second-tier trains like the Commodore Vanderbilt.

In the 1930s the number of active non-railroad-owned private cars was miniscule, probably less than 20.  There are probably more private cars now than there were then.

Pullman also had cars available for rental, and would handle all of the details.

Someplace towards the back of Beebe's book is a letter covering a trip with the Virginia City in the 1950s or 60s.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 8:21 AM

rcdrye
On the New York Central, private cars were sometimes handled on extra sections of second-tier trains like the Commodore Vanderbilt.

Do I not remember that the 'preferred' train for private moves was the Advance Commodore Vanderbilt?  There would be advantages for private cars to move on trains with relatively limited stops, but still with 'passenger' (as opposed to M&E) train handling, and I suspect the absolute arrival-time window could be earlier or later than that for Pullman passengers on a train that had to be reasonably quickly turned.

In the 1930s the number of active non-railroad-owned private cars was miniscule, probably less than 20.  There are probably more private cars now than there were then.

There were a number of reasons private-car use dropped in the Depression, but I also think that private-car ownership and use was decreasing before the bottom fell out.

As an amusing aside: in the Social Registers of the Twenties, there was a little note at the bottom of a person's entry indicating the number and names of their yachts/boats.  That quietly disappeared after the stock-market crash and the resulting elimination of much of the broker class as boat owners...  I wonder if there was a comparable listing for private cars 'back in the day' -- one would think there would be a signal advantage in being able to contact one's peers while they were 'in transit'...

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 9, 2020 3:10 PM

No private cars tacjed on the Super Chief, Broadway, or 20th Century

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Posted by Jones1945 on Friday, April 10, 2020 5:52 AM

There were private cars, but how about a private steam engine that exclusively hauled a private train (not excursion train)?  Something like the Royal Train in the UK. 

 Queen Victoria's royal train.

 

Empress Dowager Cixi's "royal train"

 

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, April 10, 2020 6:28 AM

At the back of the Beebe/Clegg book "Mansions on Rails" there's an itinerary for their car Virginia City from Sparks NV to Weehawken NJ via Ogden, Las Vegas, LA, Houston, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Miami, Washington and Jersey City, via SP, UP, SP, L&N, SAL, RF&P, B&O and NYC, probably in the early 1950s, though it's undated.  The agent at Reno charged them around $4900 (1953) dollars for the fares plus switching and storage charges.  Trains used were mostly second tier, including the Overland, the Los Angeles Limited, and the Argonaut.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, April 10, 2020 7:42 PM

Private cars and their movements are just like all the other 'high roller' toys - if you have to ask (or worry about) the price, you can't afford the toy.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 4:27 PM

rcdrye
In the 1930s the number of active non-railroad-owned private cars was miniscule, probably less than 20. There are probably more private cars now than there were then. Pullman also had cars available for rental, and would handle all of the details.

Yes, it would be much easier to just hire a full Pullman car designed for such service rather than pay to buy one, store it, and maintain it. Even the president of the US travelled by getting a car from Pullman - actually often several for everyone travelling with the president.

Stix
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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 8:01 PM

wjstix
 
rcdrye
In the 1930s the number of active non-railroad-owned private cars was miniscule, probably less than 20. There are probably more private cars now than there were then. Pullman also had cars available for rental, and would handle all of the details. 

Yes, it would be much easier to just hire a full Pullman car designed for such service rather than pay to buy one, store it, and maintain it. Even the president of the US travelled by getting a car from Pullman - actually often several for everyone travelling with the president.

Like the President hiring commercial airliners for official business. [/sarcasm]

Not going to happen - the rich like dealing with KNOWN commodities, not luck of the draw.  Owning a Private Car and the crew to staff and maintain it makes those commodities KNOWN.

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Posted by M636C on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 3:38 AM

This might be just outside the old main Beijing station. For some years there was a gate in the main city wall through which the trains passed. When I visited in 1985 I think there were four or five tracks through where the old wall had stood, recognisable from a couple of guard towers still standing each side.

This looks like a 2-6-0 which was a more or less standard type on various Chinese railways in around 1905-1910 which is a possible date for this photo.

While on the subject of Beijing, does anyone know how or why Otto Perry visited Beijing in 1917? The first thought is that he did so with the armed forces, of course.

His photos were of the North Station, Beijing Bei, where he saw a similar 2-6-0 and an Alco 2-8-0 of the Peking Kalgan line.

Otto had a holiday in Europe in the 1930s but those shots are only of Beijing, all on a single day.

Peter

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