X Files: Padlocked Mystery Rail Car Under Waldorf Astoria

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Posted by Nataraj on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 12:04 AM
I saw a show about this on discovery channel a little while back. Though it was ONLY on this subject. One hour on historic trains, WOO-HOO!
Nataraj -- Southern Pacific RULES!!! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The GS-4 was the most beautiful steam engine that ever touched the rails.
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Posted by tdmidget on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 12:15 AM
Also much hoo-hah was made of the 8000 lb frt elevator( not much for a frt elevator in my opinion) " specially designed to carry Roosevelt's Pierce Arrow". Can anyone verify that he indeed used such a car? I did a quick search on Google and found two references to cars used while president, a 1936 Ford and a 1939 Lincoln. At Warm Springs Ga. you can see the car he used there, a 1936 Ford if I remember correctly.

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Posted by SALfan on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:23 AM

 tdmidget wrote:
Also much hoo-hah was made of the 8000 lb frt elevator( not much for a frt elevator in my opinion) " specially designed to carry Roosevelt's Pierce Arrow". Can anyone verify that he indeed used such a car? I did a quick search on Google and found two references to cars used while president, a 1936 Ford and a 1939 Lincoln. At Warm Springs Ga. you can see the car he used there, a 1936 Ford if I remember correctly.

Pierce Arrow went out of business about 1933, when Roosevelt took office, so it's unlikely he used one unless it was a White House vehicle left over from a previous administration.  Don't know how often such vehicles were changed or what was in the WH fleet when FDR took office.  The talk about the freight elevator sounds like the usual breathless overwrought BS that narrators shovel when trying to make some connection that isn't there.  If the elevator was indeed 8000 lb. capacity, some of the limos from FDR's time as president would have come close to maxing it out. 

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Posted by lattasnip9 on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:46 PM

Actually the Borsig DRG Series 05 002  4-6-4 Was the first to set a steam speed record on 5-11-1936.  Speed was 200.4.

-First Diesel Was the DRG SVT 137  :Bauart Leipzig In Germany on 2-17-1936

So far the fastest rocket train is an unmanned rocket sled.  Speed was 6453 MPH.

 

All of this info was found on the link below

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_speed_record_for_railed_vehicles

 

 

Haha, wikepedia?  thats the first thing they tell us in high school! never use Wikepedia!

Robbie
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Posted by Dakguy201 on Thursday, November 22, 2007 6:02 AM
Roosevelt's private car still exists.  It is the "Ferdinand Magellan", built in 1922 by Pullman and converted by them for Presidential use in 1942-1943.  It served Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, but Ike didn't use it much and it was retired in 1958.  I believe it is located at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in Florida. 
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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, November 22, 2007 10:37 AM

Except that Roosevelt's 'armored car' was the "Ferdinand Magellan" and is (or was) a museum in Florida.

The "armor", "military green" and "gun turrets" is nothing more than people who don't know squat about railroads trying to explain something in as sinister a way as possible to suck in as many veiwers as possible. 

Its just a heavy weight baggage car with a clerestory roof  and riveted construction that was painted a Pullman green color, just like the HUNDREDS of other cars like it were.  Nothing more sinister than that.  Its like finding an old Studebaker and deciding it must have been used as a secret military "jet engine car" because it has a rocket nose in the middle of the grill.

While you people that believe its a secret FDR armored car are in New York, take a look at that bridge in Brooklyn, its for sale and if you want I can get you a good deal on it too.

Dave H.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by Dutchrailnut on Saturday, November 24, 2007 10:11 AM

The Bagage car is a standard PRR B-60 bagage car assigned by Penn Central to Metro politan region.

 It was one of 2 used on Metro North the other one is at Danbury railway museum and was part of old wire train as workshop car, now with roof walk removed.

 The presidents car did not travel by rail to GCT it was driven, and backed into elevator to be lowerd to platform where president was picked up.

 The MNCX reporting marks were only applied to the cars in 1983 when MNCR was created, they did not have a X in reporting marks under Conrail/Penncentral days.

See:

As you can see the doors are not big enough to have a small car enter the car and turn.

 The Waldorf Astoria platform can not be seen from a passenger train unless the train goes around loop track, to poster who says he sees it everyday your confusing it with the 59th street emergency exit.

 The Waldorf astoria platform is track 59 and 56, north of yard ladder O and M and north of yard tracks 3 and 4 at extreem right side of terminal, the tracks are still used for storage of MU equipment during the day.

 For some of Debunking and maps see Mr Brennan's site:

http://www.columbia.edu/~brennan/abandoned/gct61.html

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Posted by switch7frg on Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:43 AM
  railroadjj; you are right about the rocket sled . I saw it while an inlaw was stationed at Holloman AFB . Indeed it is rapid !! My Mattel Clicko Matic could not keep up with the thing. I do have  pics'  of the fastest 10 mi. railroad . This was in the late 80s' .  Cannonball.

Y6bs evergreen in my mind

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, November 24, 2007 8:16 PM
 dehusman wrote:

Except that Roosevelt's 'armored car' was the "Ferdinand Magellan" and is (or was) a museum in Florida.

The "armor", "military green" and "gun turrets" is nothing more than people who don't know squat about railroads trying to explain something in as sinister a way as possible to suck in as many veiwers as possible. 

Its just a heavy weight baggage car with a clerestory roof  and riveted construction that was painted a Pullman green color, just like the HUNDREDS of other cars like it were.  Nothing more sinister than that.  Its like finding an old Studebaker and deciding it must have been used as a secret military "jet engine car" because it has a rocket nose in the middle of the grill.

While you people that believe its a secret FDR armored car are in New York, take a look at that bridge in Brooklyn, its for sale and if you want I can get you a good deal on it too.

Dave H.

I just read a little blurb in a book, that said the "Ferdinand Magellan" was *sold* to the government by the American Association of Railroads for $1.00.  It also said FDR never used that particular car.  (Obvioulsy) I don't know if this is true, or not, but I did wonder how AAR could *sell* the car, and not have it look like a conflict of interest.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by Alleghany on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:45 PM

I must respectfully take exception to some things you say about the Ferdinand Magellan.

It was indeed a Pullman "heavyweight" Clerestory car but was decidedly NOT a baggage car.  It was ALWAYS an Observation Car, with the usual observation platform on the rear.  It was painted "Pullman Green" -not Olive Drab (O.D.).  It was originally made by Pullman as one of a special series intended for use as "private cars" having six bedrooms, kitchen, train personnel accomodations, etc,  Each car was named after an explorer.  When FDR's people thought he needed a special railway car, the Ferdinand Magellan (Later AKA "U.S.No.1") was selected to be rebuilt for his use.  The outside was armored on sides, ends,roof and (i think) undercarriage with 5/8" thick armor plate (not really that thick but nonetheless armor plate). The windows were replaced with multi-plate ones to protect the President. Other exterior changes included loud speakers on the rear obervation platform for speech making, and a wheelchair lift to get FDR in his wheelchair onto the car platform from the ground. The interior was changed from six bedrooms to four, making a large bedroom for FDR with grab rails on the wall overn his bed and a large bath with tub between FDR's bedroom and Eleanor's.  A special wheelchair  was made for FDR's use while on the Ferdinand Magellan.  A large conference table was also installed. A crude air conditioning system, using air blown over melting ice was also installed. 

The car travelled with sleepers for secret service and other staff, a baggage car, a diner and a signal car, which was staffed by the army signal corps and at stops hooked up to telephone lines provided by the local telephone company.  The entire consist was referred to by railroad telegraphers as "POTUS" (an acronym for "President of the United States")for ease in transmission. 

 

 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, June 16, 2011 7:22 AM

First:  WELCOME !  Welcome  Alleghney !

Since this thread does contailne information on the former Presidential Pullman, The following link from 2009 migh be of interest as well:

"Presidential Armoured Train"

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/160700/1770748.aspx#1770748

I think there are also more Threads on the "Mystery Car" that was under GCT in Noo Yawk! As well, a Community Search might bring those links up.

 

 


 

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Posted by DMUinCT on Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:21 AM

tdmidget
Also much hoo-hah was made of the 8000 lb frt elevator( not much for a frt elevator in my opinion) " specially designed to carry Roosevelt's Pierce Arrow". Can anyone verify that he indeed used such a car? I did a quick search on Google and found two references to cars used while president, a 1936 Ford and a 1939 Lincoln. At Warm Springs Ga. you can see the car he used there, a 1936 Ford if I remember correctly.

An 8,000 lb capacity elevator is a really big one, it would be a custom size.     Capacity, by code, is determined by the square foot area of the elevator platform.  An elevator to carry an automobile requires a large platform and therefor a high capacity.   A Normal Passenger Elevator today is ether 3,000 or 3,500 pound capacity. A Hospital elevator (Stretcher Car)  is normally 4,000 lb capacity, while a Hospital Power Bed size elevator, 5,000 lb capacity.   Freight elevators run from 2,500 lb to 6,000 lb capacity.

Don U. TCA 73-5735

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:56 AM

I have no idea of the actual weight per sq. ft. capacity requirements of the various building, elevator, and 'hoisting machinery' codes, but consider this nevertheless:

Using 50 lb. per sq. ft. for the "Live Load" - (common for residential buildings), the 8,000 lbs. would correspond to 160 sq. ft. floor area, which could be either a 16 ft. x 10 ft. or 9 ft. x 18 ft., etc. elevator car.  (The 3,000 lb. passenger elevator would be 60 sq. ft. or 6 ft. x 10 ft. or so, which seems about right - maybe a little larger than most ?)  However, a conventional parking space these days should be 10 ft. x 20 ft. or 9 ft. x 18 ft. or so.  In comparison to that, such an elevator would barely be big enough to hold the auto and allow someone to get out of the doors while in transit if necessary.  So I could believe the 8,000 lb. capacity requirement on the basis of the required floor area alone.  Then too, while a normal automobile might weigh only about 4,000 lbs. or so, what with armor plate, etc. added it might be closer to the 8,000 lb. load than would otherwise be the case.  Steel weighs about 490 lbs. per cubic foot, or 41 lbs. per sq. ft. for 1" thick, or 25.5 lbs. for 5/8" thick if it's the same as on the Ferdinand Magellan, so 4,000 lbs. of armor would be 160 sq. ft - probably just about enough to 'wrap' the limousine in (5 ft. wide x 16 ft. long = 80 sq. ft. for the top and bottom = 160 sq. ft. total).  So that 8,000 lb. value seems pretty consistent and supportable to me, at least until further and better information is available. 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:05 PM

You guys do know tha this thread is from 2007, don't you?

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by zardoz on Thursday, June 16, 2011 7:28 PM

Phoebe Vet

You guys do know tha this thread is from 2007, don't you?

Time is relative.

Which means that if your relatives are visiting, time seems to sloooooow waaaaaay dooooown......

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:49 PM

Yup - sure do.  But fun is where you find it, and facts are timeless - and I'm usually pretty willing to discuss something railroad-oriented technical with somebody who knows their stuff !

- Paul North.   

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Posted by tdmidget on Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:18 PM

At one plant where I work regularly the freight elevator is 16'X16" and has a capy of 22500 lbs. 8000 ain't crap. You still can never document FDR in a Pierce-Arrow. It is a plain vanilla old baggage car and the claims that it "hasn't been touched" in all those years  are debunked by it's Metro North  reporting marks.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Monday, June 20, 2011 12:18 PM

Sometime during the 1965 - 1980 time frame (approx.), Trains had an essay or 'frontispiece' - by then-Editor David P. Morgan, as I recall - about a B&O train starting out with the POTUS car - Ferdinand Magellan, with FDR aboard - on the rear.  That article was notable because the ending was about how the jolt in the cab as the slack ran out warned the crew that the heavyweight Pullman on the rear was going to give them a hard time on the mountain grades ahead !

- Paul North.   

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by dmoore74 on Monday, June 20, 2011 5:14 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

Sometime during the 1965 - 1980 time frame (approx.), Trains had an essay or 'frontispiece' - by then-Editor David P. Morgan, as I recall - about a B&O train starting out with the POTUS car - Ferdinand Magellan, with FDR aboard - on the rear.  That article was notable because the ending was about how the jolt in the cab as the slack ran out warned the crew that the heavyweight Pullman on the rear was going to give them a hard time on the mountain grades ahead !

- Paul North.   

.The Summer 2003 issue of Classic Trains tells how the Magellan was placed at the head end of a POTUS special for President Eisenhower.  It solved the problem of slack action but gave the President a very narrow speaking platform.  It was never tried again

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