P3 Coach 531 history

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue May 19 19:35:55 EDT 2020


The passenger car data has a lot of massaging to be done on it, it is all new, done by a volunteer, and it will take time to get there.

Meanwhile, the 531 was stored after the end of passenger service, potentially, I assume, to be converted as needed for a commuter car. The commuter service ended in the last half of 1981 and the remaining equipment was brought to Roanoke.

Then the 531, 536, 539 and 540 were selected to be converted to open window lightweight cars, or “OWLs” as they were referred to at the time, they rolled of the shops in May 1982 and were run on a test run down the Winston Salem line to see if they were OK. I saw the train in the station that morning.

They served in the excursion trains for a number of years, and with the upgrading of the excursion train to all air conditioned equipment in 1991, two OWLs, 531 and 539 were retired and donated. 539 was donated to Watauga Valley Chapter NRHS, who proudly operates it to this day, fully a/c and closed windows. 

The 531 went to Atlanta, I am not sure I remember exactly who. I believe they did install a/c and windows, but apparently did little preservation work, and it ran some on a short line for a time in the mid to late 1990s, then it was sent to Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, who did little to the car besides store it for the most part.  TVRM had no use for the car, and no money to budget to it. They were first attempting to sell the car back in 2013, Roanoke Chapter considered it, but it was priced too high for its condition. The entire floor would need total replacement, as well as a lot of side sill work and other work. 

As far as I know, it is still sitting at TVRM. The purchase price, the cost of movement and then rehab put it out of range for almost anyone. Even a give away, the cost of a move may well be prohibitive, and it may not even be moveable by rail at this point.

Ken Miller

> On May 19, 2020, at 5:35 PM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org> wrote:
> I'm trying to find ownership history of P3 coach #531.  The history on the N&WHS website's roster page reads a little funny:  "Converted 1982 at Roanoke Shops for excursion service; no air conditioning; installed raise window sash. 1991 sold donated 1973 to Cass Scenic Railroad., Atlanta, GA"
> According to a roster by Jim Cochran in the May/June 1996 Arrow, the car was donated to Atlanta Rail Car Company in 1991 for use in the NS steam program, but my searches for the car under this ownership haven't turned up anything.
> Recent pictures show it owned by TVRM, but I couldn't find it listed on their own website.
> Does anyone have more complete information?  I assume like a lot of the N&W cars it was converted to open window for excursions while still lettered N&W in the 1980s, then was sold or donated in the early 90s to be rebuilt to meet the new standards for the excursion train in its later years, but how was it painted and lettered after rebuilding for the early 90s excursions?
> Marty Flick
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