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1890s train car question about ladder placement

  • Hi there, experts! I'm writing a novel partially set on a train, and I need some help figuring out where the ladder would be placed on an observation car from the late 1800s with an enclosed vestibule. The train also has a platform at its end (which serves as the end of the train as well). Maybe there's no such car, but even if so, where would it make sense to place the ladder? On the side? Many appreciations to anyone who can help!

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  • If you mean a ladder up to the roof, there would not be one. The purpose of ladders on train cars is for brakemen to reach brake wheels mounted on the roof. A passenger car like an observation would not mount the brake wheel on the roof, so there would not be a ladder.

    If you're talking about the steps passengers would use to board the car, those would be in the vestibule. When the doors are closed, plates are hinged down from the wall between the vestibule and the passenger compartment to cover the step wells, presenting a continuous floor to the inside.

    Steven Otte, Model Railroader senior associate editor