Railway Preservation News

B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?
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Author:  pm-man [ Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Its been a year since I last drove past this myself on Ohio 224 I believe, but does anyone know more of the history behind this car? Its supposedly Bessemer & Lake Erie #451, built circa 1891, but have nothing else on it. Looks pretty far gone, but can't think of any Wagner (I'm sure I'm wrong though) that have been preserved.




Author:  bobyar2001 [ Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Shelburne Museum

This museum, in Shelburne, Vermont, has a Wagner Palace Car in excellent condition, under cover. The car's history is a little sketchy, but believed built about 1899 for the Rutland, with a steel frame and wood siding. At some point (1920s?) it is believed to have become state property, for gubernatorial use (most of Vermont's governors around this time were also RR presidents), then became No. 86 of the Central Vermont Railway, where it remained until bought by the Museum around 1961. On the CV, it was always kept under close eye in the big brick trainshed attatched to the CV General Office Building at St. Albans. It then spent about 15 years outdoors at the Museum, but was placed under an attractive shelter in the 1970s, along with CV 4-6-0 220. The car has the name "Grand Isle" on it, but it is unclear whether that was ever its real name before preservation. William Seward Webb, whose daughter founded the Museum in 1947, was president of both the Rutland and the Wagner Palace Car Co. at the time the car was built. It has been rebuilt over the years, and looks like a steel car, but close inspection shows the "rivets" are actually screws holding on the steel sides, with their slots filed with putty.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Someone FINALLY caught the owner at home. Amazing. I haven't done that in years.

This car (and the interurban) has been well-hidden for years. CSX photographer John B. Corns drove past this place for years while documenting the CSX upgrades to their main line, and he never saw this, probably because they had been hidden behind a barn that supposedly collapsed in the 1990s, revealing these to highway drivers. (If you look on Rt. 224, you may still see my own skid marks from when I first spotted this thing.)

This car has had some sincere confusion over its heritage in its past--it was originally reported to be a B&O dining car (probably because of its configuration and its proximity to Willard and the B&O), then a Pittsburgh & Lake Erie diner, and now we're hearing B&LE. And FYI, I believe the trucks are there as well, just not in the photos.

IF this car is indeed a Wagner Palace car, it may well be worthy of consideration for preservation, depending on the condition, structural integrity, completeness, etc. The most obvious candidate for preservation would be, of course, the RR Museum of Pa., because this car would fill several missing vacancies simultaneously, most importantly having passenger stock from someplace besides the PRR and good western Pa. representation. Of course, this would be a noble (albeit logistically difficult and probably expensive) proposition for the Friends of the RR Museum of Pa.--a project I'd certainly donate to.

The traction authorities I have spoken to have said that the presence of the interurban has been an open secret for decades, but, like most of Ohio's traction preservation, it's riding out the storm of Ohio traction museum shake-ups, factional fighting, etc.

Now, of course, the only real question: What the hell was a small railroad like the B&LE doing with a Wagner car? (All the more reason for me to believe that it might be P&LE instead........)

Author:  wesp [ Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LSE Interurban and Wagner Palace Car in Ohio? UPDATE

Well, I found the thread but the photo link does not seem to work. Anyone able to find the photos referenced here?


Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Would someone care to let me in on just exactly where along US 224 in Ohio this is? I'm living about 2 miles from 224 SE of Akron and just might want to check it out. Is this around me or West of Lodi?

Author:  Jack A. Siffert [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

West of Lodi about 20 miles give or take off the top if my head.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Jack A. Siffert wrote:
West of Lodi about 20 miles give or take off the top if my head.

With a little more precision, the stretch between Lodi and Willard Yard is about 20 miles long.......

Let's see, I drove west, shot the car I was escorting on the big stone bridge at Lodi, high-tailed it west, got a grab shot of the train beside 224 near Homerville, high-tailed it west to Nova and got the train and tower, ran back to 224 and headed for the junctions at Greenwich, left skid marks when I saw the wooden car and trolleys in the field................... and then decided that was more interesting than the east end of Willard Yard..........

It is/was somewhere around the mid-point of Greenwich, perhaps a little to the east, along the south side of 224 in a field. While you're out there, you can check to see if the wooden interlocking tower is still at Nova. I have a DeLorme road/topo atlas somewhere with the exact location on it........

Let me guess--someone's going Google-Earthing..........

Author:  Chris Salmonson [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Is this it?
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&F ... &encType=1[/url]


Author:  Stephen Hussar [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

What a world we live in. What's next, Google views of the interior of every dwelling on the planet? ;-)

Author:  wesp [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Can someone update the railforum link in the original post?


Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Chris Salmonson wrote:

BINGO!!!!!! The "patchwork" look of that thing behind the house is unmistakeable, even at low resolution.

The new aerial shows that they've moved it sometime in the past few years--I'm guessing to both clear more farmland and to "hide" it from inquisitive idiots and arsonists.

I see the other community names: Delphi, apparently served by the Ripley post office.

Author:  robertmacdowell [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Stephen Hussar wrote:
What a world we live in. What's next, Google views of the interior of every dwelling on the planet? ;-)

Well, the realtors will assure that. Meanwhile
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/engl ... 980737.stm

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?


Looks to be about 2 miles W. of the diamond at Greenwich. Last I heard, Nova tower was still standing, but in really bad shape. Newton Falls is also standing and sometimes operator occupied as well. AY tower in Akron also stands, but I don't believe it is being used for anything other than MofW or Signals Dept. It could be available to crews passing through town, I'm not sure. There is no longer any CSX T&E job based in Akron. The last one was a Utility Man to assist trains working the yard.

Author:  F.N.Kuenzel [ Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

Didn't the owner of the B&LE car and LSE trolley body on the south side of Rt.224 near Greenwich,Ohio offer these cars to anyone or museum interested in restoreing them a few years back? I thought i read that on here or on another RR forum?

I'm only about a 1/2 drive from them and not sure if they're still there? Last time i drove by a few years back the B&LE car was sagging real bad in the middle and looked pretty rough.

Back in the early 1980's the owner would occasionaly show up at some of our LSRA meetings in Elyria,Ohio.I can't remember his name now but i do remember the stories he told about the BL&E car.I thought it was in a mobile home park around the Olmstead Falls,Berea Ohio area where it had been made into a residence.I'm not sure how he found out it was there or how he aquired it but he and a friend of his had to remove siding and who knows what else had been added to it over the years to extract it to move the thing.I do remember him saying there was a glass panel they found inside that had the car number or RR name on it.

They did the move themselves by jacking it up and putting a 5th wheel plate at one end and some old trailer wheels at the other end and pulled it with a truck.The guy was a real character and you had to laugh at the way he told the story of moving the thing with no highway permits from there and on Rt.224 to Greenwich! Luckily he didn't get caught and was able to laugh about it.The wheelsets he has for it,i can't remember if there currently under the car or setting nearby,they are from another old heavyweight coach that he and his friend scrapped over in Cleveland,Ohio shortly after he got the B&LE car.That was another interesting story he told of how that car had a concrete floor they had to deal with and the cutting process of the roof,side walls,and ends wich they had to remove all so they could get the trucks they wanted out from underneath it.It was funny story but i imagine that venture ended up being more work than they ever expected.

The LSE trolley body he got came from a farm in Olena,Ohio off Rt. 250 south of Norwalk.I can't remember the exact LSE number but it was a number in the teens.That last time i drove by his place he had a tarp over the roof of that.I think the LSE car was in much better shape body wise than the BL&E car.Jack Siffert may remember the guy's name or know more info on the cars.

Author:  kevin kohls [ Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: B&LE/ Wagner Palace Car in Ohio?

As I remember those cars are located near the town of New Haven, Ohio. A few tower corrections: Newton Falls tower is gone, partly destroyed by a train wreck that weakened it so badly it was torn down. Nova tower still stands; it's in terrible condition and the roof is in very bad shape. It's supposed to be saved by a group in Lodi, Ohio but I wouldn't hold out much hope there. It will probably fall into kindling in the attempt.

Kevin K.

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