Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Passenger Car Question...

538 views
5 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 156 posts
Passenger Car Question...
Posted by marksrailroad on Saturday, February 03, 2018 5:57 PM

Hi all. Can someone tell me if 65' heavyweights were actually used and if so what years they were used?. The reason I ask is because I have several of these cars and am unsure what era they belong to. 

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 5,164 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, February 03, 2018 8:25 PM

Hi,

Several model manufacturers, notably the Athearn "Heavyweights" were selectively compressed in length to satisfy the common 18" radius of many model railroads.

Actual passenger car lengths gradually grew, as the advancement of better carbuilding materials and technology developed, from a common length of about 50 feet in the 1870s during the era of all wood construction. Around 1905 steel underframes became the industry standard allowing carbuilders to approach seventy feet in the length for their cars.

In 1907 the PRR, out of necessity due to a New York City ban on using wood cars in the North (Hudson) and East River Tunnels built their first P70 coach at an outside length of 80' 3-3/4"

By 1915 the standard heavyweight design allowed a length of 85' give-or-take and for practical reasons this length became the norm.

 ACF lot #7789     003 by John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library, on Flickr

Some head-end cars were shorter with some being in the 60 to 70 foot range. By this time the US Post Office was requiring RPO cars to be of all steel construction.

If you can find a copy of The American Railroad Passenger Car by John H White, Jr. (two volumes) you will find a great deal of information on the development of North American railroad passenger cars. 

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: SE Minnesota
  • 6,712 posts
Posted by jrbernier on Saturday, February 03, 2018 8:59 PM

Mark, 

  Several railroads operated 60' steel passenger cars into the 50's.  The C&NW operated these cars in commuter service and on branches.  The PRR had steel cars based on their MP54 design as well.  And there were a lot of mail and express cars in that length as well on many railroads.

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • 85 posts
Posted by NHTX on Sunday, February 04, 2018 3:21 AM

     The short answer would be pre-Amtrak.  Most heavyweights of less than 80 or 85 feet were used in commuter service and as railroads shed their commuter operations to government agencies, one of the first orders of business would be "modernization", quite often with lightweight equipment made surplus by Amtrak.  The Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit are two that come to mind.

  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 9,243 posts
Posted by dknelson on Sunday, February 04, 2018 2:17 PM

The CB&Q had some very short cars as well, shorter than Athearns and even shorter than the Varney or Penn Line 60' "standard" passenger cars

Check out this pic

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/fileSendAction/fcType/0/fcOid/31276248886228983/filePointer/31276249360940564/fodoid/31276249360940560/imageType/MEDIUM/inlineImage/true/CB%2526Q%25203003.jpg

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 156 posts
Posted by marksrailroad on Sunday, February 04, 2018 9:59 PM

Thanks for your input guys. I guess it all boils down to just having fun and ignoring facts...

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook