N&W in 1910--New equipment

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Sat Jan 23 22:32:13 EST 2010

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 11:43:06 -0500
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>
Subject: N&W in 1910--New equipment

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
August 11, 1910

Norfolk and Western Fast Trains Must Come up to Pennsylvania Requirements
Roanoke Times: When the Hudson river tubes of the Pennsylvania are opened next month giving an all rail entrance into New York, a new order of things in construction of trains will have taken place. After the formal opening no trains will be allowed to enter the tubes unless they are constructed of steel throughout and are hauled by electrically propelled engines.
This will require new equipment for every train entering the metropolis. For months the Pennsylvania and the Pullman company have been preparing for the new order and they are ready to run solid trains of steel coaches, baggage cars and Pullmans.
The Norfolk and Western will enter New York through the tubes. For the present but two trains will be constructed to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania. They are the Memphis special [sic] and the Washington and Chattanooga vestibule, commonly known as "41" and "42." Over a year ago steel equipment was ordered for these trains and it is now ready and will be in use when the tubes are opened.
L. E. Johnson, president of the Norfolk and Western, is having a steel private car built for use when traveling to New York. It is to be one of the handsomest in the east, and a model for others. It is only a matter of time when all of the private cars of the Norfolk and Western officials will be so constructed, as the tubes after piercing Manhattan island will continue under the East River and on to Boston and New England cities.
Under the plans of the Pennsylvania the point of landing of the big ocean liners will be the end of Long Island, and from there passengers will be taken, without a change of cars, to any point, even so far as San Francisco.

[N&W MP Dept. Data Book No. I from the 1950's shows Class XO Business Car No. 100 built 1911 at a cost of $38,162.55 by Pullman. Could this have been the car mentioned above as being built for President L. E. Johnson (not President Lyndon Johnson--he came later!)?]
Gordon Hamilton

January 23, 2010

Very helpful, Gordon. I suppose that the through Pullman car(s) on N&W trains 1 and 2 between Roanoke and New York were also steel. In that era, were Pullman cars free-running equipment so that they could have been assigned to any route selected by Pullman, or were they captive to particular trains and railoads.

This move was the beginning of the end for wood-body passenger equipment on trunkline routes. Wooden Railway Post Office (RPO) cars were increasingly sandwiched between the locomotive and a steel passenger consist, making them particularly vunerable in head-end collsions when they collapsed under impact and frequently burned because of stoves and gas or oil lighting. A clause referred to as the "Steel Car Act" was included within the 1912 Post Office Department appropriations bill. Railroad companies were not eligible for mail transportation payments if a wooden RPO car was included in a primarily steel train consist.

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at yahoo.com

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