Railway Preservation News

Rail car identification?
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Author:  Dwight Neil [ Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Rail car identification?

Was wondering if anyone can tell me what type of car this is. I can get exterior photos. It has vertical wide boards with battens on exterior.

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Author:  colfaxstation [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Definitely need exterior shots. Looks like a LOT of work and a LOT of money project, but might be worth a shot, depending on what the outside looks like and what the car is.

Author:  eze240 [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Was this car part of a house? It looks to me like the ceiling has been redone at some point.... Is this a wood car or a steel car? The floor looks sort of like broken material from a heavyweight car.....

Author:  sbhunterca [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Definitely appears to be very old, but more photos- interior and exterior- would greatly assist in trying to ID the car more positively. From the window spacing I'm thinking coach, but other angles could prove that wrong.

It's in rough shape, but depending on what it is and rarity, some extrordinary measures might be warranted to save the car.

Very interesting!

Steve Hunter

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Let's start with what we know:

The integral shutters seem to indicate a built date before, say, 1890 Here's a link to an example that dates to 1888, about the end of the popularity of that style feature:

http://www.midcontinent.org/collectn/wo ... sa213.html

The panel sides and small windows tend to push that back a couple decades:


The headlining in the photos is a mystery, since railroad cars typically had some sort of monitor roof to provide ventilation. The simple arch may be the result of remodeling after retirement, or it may be the result of rebuilding late in life due to losing the original roof in a fire. If the arch roof really is the original roof, that would seem to push the date of construction back before the Civil War:


Photos chosen to illustrate design features only.

Author:  Dave [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

It's hard to tell in the photos, but the scaling seems a bit spacious for 1860 era equipment. I'd be thinking about an 1880-90 era Pullman converted to MOW with the ceiling, etc.......many stayed in that service through WW II. The vertical B&B siding and better than plain paneled interior bespeaks better than day coach to me......

Exterior photos would be very beneficial, and location also - chances are, somebody on this board knows of it if told where it is stored.


Author:  Dwight Neil [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

At some point it was converted to a farm shed and currently has a pitched tin roof over most of it (except that back left corner where the roof rotted off). I will get more photos and will get some actual dimensions. It is all wood. The stuff on the floor is debris from when it was used as a farm shed. It sits flush with the ground and much of the floor has rotted and has termite damage. But the sides and roof of most of it seem very solid. It will certainly be a ton of work to try to save it.

Author:  Dave [ Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Sometimes all you can do is salvage the interior woodwork, document the framing, and then reconstruct a new replica frame and reinstall the refinished interior. Even if it is on a building foundation instead of trucks, it makes for a striking space.


Author:  Dwight Neil [ Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

The car is approx 26-28 feet long. Hard to get good exterior photos since the car is in the woods. One corner pretty much gone.

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Author:  Dwight Neil [ Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

More photos...

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Author:  Dwight Neil [ Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Last photo...

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Author:  car57 [ Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Appears to have a clerestory roof above that ceiling, which it should do, can you get any paint off above the doors inside or out to reveal a number ? Looks very old to me much more like 1860's 70's especially with what seems like exterior battens on the sides, I could use those toilet walls and hardware ! Very interesting wish I could see it first hand. You may or may not find numbers on the top of the main windows or the clerestory windows interior or exterior frames. 26ft to 28ft is half the length I would expect though !

Mike Pannell

Author:  Dwight Neil [ Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Would a car with a clerestory roof have a solid ceiling like this one has? Keep in mind that there is a pitched tin roof that was put on when this was converted to a farm shed. I can't see under the tin roof that was put on when it was converted to a shed.

I found a book on the internet... The American Passenger Railroad Car by John H White Jr. There is a section titled Age of the Arched-Roof Car: 1840-60. In that section it says that the typical car of 1840 was rarely over 30 ft long by 8.5 ft wide, and that before 1845 the windows were generally stationary. These appear to be moveable by the outer window handle visible in this photo. So that's looking like late 1840s. Of course I'm new to this and know nothing about old cars!

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Author:  car57 [ Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Pic 2 shows the arched lower deck roof curving up above the bathroom, then there appears to be the base of the upper deck windows in the clerestory before the shed roof ? The window shades are unusual and the handles on the shades are the a common style listed in the 1890's car builders dictionary, it looks like the outer window frames themselves have handles too and open upwards. Car numbers would be amazing if you can uncover them are there doors on the ends still ?

Mike Pannell

Author:  Stephen S. Syfrett [ Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rail car identification?

Looks like a clerestory roof car that has had the clerestory closed off to form the flat interior ceiling. It isn't arched all the way across, but flat between the original curved interior ceiling of the roof's lower deck. There used to be a heavyweight MOW N&W passenger car here in town that was being converted to offices where the same type of ceiling work had been done. Only difference is the clerestory opening was closed off with plywood rather than the bead-board used in this old car.

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