Rail Cars in America and Canada, special rail vehicles

Rail Cars in America and Canada in the first half of the last century they were a normal appearance on the track. The advantages of the car and track inspection vehicle were large, the rail inspectors did no longer in with a manual force propelled handcar, they could now use their personal automobile inspection. We take you on a journey through the various railcars that have been used over the years in the land of unlimited possibilities, let's go!

World famous

We start this story about the railcars in America quite obviously with the Model T Ford. When Henry Ford in 1908 started the production of his Model T Ford he could not suspect that this quirky "Tin Lizzy" no less than 19 years in production would continue and certainly not that there are more than 15 million copies of this legendary Ford built would be.
At that time, this was an unprecedented success, the Model T Ford conquered America and the rest of the world and made Henry Ford rich.
T Ford railcar from 1927, on narrow gauge
Ford Model T rail car, Pleasant Point
T Ford railcar, perfectly built replica
Given the reputation and the numbers are there of this Ford built it is no wonder that in the course of time some of these cars were converted into a rail inspection vehicle. Above we see a beautifully restored first model from 1927, the last year of production, the railcar is privately owned. In addition, a replica built to original drawings from the collection of the Pleasant Point Railway Museum, part of the Fairlie Branch Line. The third picture is a replica of the Model T Ford to a former forestry, the owner of this fine specimen harvest this undoubtedly much admiration!
Just click on the picture you will get a magnification and you will see some more details, you can however do this with all the photos in this story.

Men trolley and vehicle inspection

Actually was the use of such a handy little Ford on track also obvious. At a time when the track was still dominated by heavy and difficult to operate steam locomotives, the railcar was the preferred mode of transport for railway inspectors and railway workers but also for small groups of passengers who wanted to make use of the railway.
T Ford, Unitah Railway, Wild West, 1920
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy RR, 1925
Virginia and Truckee Railroad, 1926
We see above another three Model T Fords of both small and large companies. The first was the personal inspection of vehicle superintendant Earp on Unitah Railway, called "Logging Line", a railroad that was used for logging. Next to it a Model T Ford vehicle inspection of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad, a company which covered a large part of the Mid-West of the United States. The third T Ford was supposedly in possession of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, a rail line was built to transport ore from the Comstock Lode silver mine near Virginia City in Nevada. Note the ash-classification of these railcars, with all three of these is totally different, it is clear own constuction.

Not only Fords

Of course there were not only used as a Ford railcar, other brands were also discussed. The conversion to railcar was often carried out in the workshop of the railway which the railcar was employed, here they indeed had access to professionals who were familiar with the requirements which were meant to a railway track inspection vehicle.
Chevrolet, Ellis & Burnand Bush Railway, watch the dogs on the footboard, 1920s
Pierce Arrow, very exclusive, Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railway, 1920s
Chrysler Roadster, Little River Railroad, having fun an a sunday afternoon, 1920s
On the pictures above we see first one in the 20s of the last century railcar converted Chevrolet of Ellis & Burnand Bush Railway. The two brave dogs on the footboard dare to do it because at such inspection trip through the "bush" no dizzying speeds were achieved. Where this Chevy still a bit messy conversion product that can not be said of the chic and elegant Pierce Arrow railcar on the railway with the lyrical and romantic sounding name Mississippi River & Bonne Terre Railway. This car is truly a wonderful status symbol, mark you, for example on the front with small gates on the mudguards or bull bar, finishing with exceptional levels!
The luxury car was used to transport executives between the various railway depots in their area.
In the "roaring twenties" there was also time for "fun" with a railcar as we see from the photo of the happy group that is armed with a Chrysler roadster railcar on the stretch of the Little River Railroad, a "Logging Line" Near Townsend in Tennessee.

The return of the railcar

Railcars had all the advantages a small minus, they had to be returned at the end of the ride before they could accept the return. The radiator for cooling the engine provides nou once the wind needed to function properly, the engine would be back then drive was not properly cooled. So there had to be a locomotive turntable in the region to anyone on the brilliant idea the vehicles came to provide itself with its own built-in turntable.
Inspection T Ford with simple turntable is turned by four strong, 1916
Paige Railcar is rotated on its own turntable, Glacier Station, 1934
Buick own turntable, the system gets lighter to handle, 1938
Were there at that first turntables still need a few men, over time the system was perfected and was turning increasingly easy. There was less force is required by a well balanced turntable with ball bearings.
Please note that at the railcar as Paige on the wheels which are not only provided with a flange on the inside in order to remain in the track, but also of pneumatic tires instead of steel railway wheels. That was obviously a lot more comfortable and gave a better grip on the track.

Cars on the track? Very normal!

In the early years of the railcar was the car not so long, the mass production was first used in the T-Ford from 1908 and the car would also for the track sometimes of great significance may be that was the idea.
That something would work out and that the car are the biggest competitor of the track would be when they were undecided.
Packard, Quebec Central Railroad, 1929
CPR 1938 Buick Special, West Toronto
Cadillac, Canadian Pacific Railroad, 1947
As a track inspection vehicle car anyway continued to play a role. We can see above some fine examples of rail cars that were used by the Canadian railways, was chosen for reliable brands like Packard, Buick and Cadillac.
The Buick in the picture had undergone several changes, so the drive was replaced by a Ford truck rear suspension was redesigned and the brakes were powered by a compressor. This is also because it was bound to Buick was able to reach a speed of 115 km per hour! On the underside of the car was the already been discussed above, turntable mounted so that the car is lifted as a whole and could be rotated. There was an air horn and a bell attached, flags and signal lights could be implemented and there was a very full shelf ready coffin carried on board. Unusually for the time, the portable telephone set that contact could be included with the signal boxes along the line.


Fortunately there are a number of these striking rail vehicles as a museum piece preserved their museum quality is definitely appreciated. Below we see a Packard from 1946, rail car number 34 of the Greater Winnipeg Water District that is now part of the collection of the Winnipeg Railway Museum which is housed in the former cnor station in Winnipeg. Beside the above already shown Buick number M235 of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in excellent restored condition, this beautiful railcar is now part of the collection of the Canadian Railway Museum near the city of Montreal.
Packard, Winnipeg Railway Museum
Buick, Canadian Railway Museum
Chevy, Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Rw
In the third picture we see not yet restored but preserved for posterity Chevrolet, built in 1951.
This railcar in 2002 was still in the service of the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway and was then drawn up at the station in Eureka Springs. This company has special historical curiosities spoorse in its possession.

Luxury allowed

The rail inspection cars were usually not called entry level modelletjes contrary, there was often selected the most deluxe version. This also had to do with the status of the rail inspectors, because they were held in high regard because she watched over all safety-related issues in the operation of a railway is important. To mention the cars that they used like around the fifties a few examples: we see three pieces of De Soto railcars S11C Custom Club Coupe from 1946,
3 pieces De Soto railcars from 1946 in a row
Chrysler Windsor Deluxe 1951
Dodge Station Wagon Deluxe 1952
the Chrysler Windsor Deluxe from the Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railroad from 1951 and a 1952 Dodge Station Wagon Deluxe.
De Soto incidentally was owned by the Chrysler group. The Dodge was extremely popular and was known to be reliable.
The Chrysler Windsor Deluxe is privately owned and can be seen occasionally on track hobby events in Canada.

Rail Inspection Vans

It was also arranged that one rail inspection vans built with a dual function, they could indeed easily also a number of workmen, tools and material to bring any problems to the railway line could be fixed immediately under the watchful eye of the inspector. When rail lines with long legs like the Canadian Pacific was obviously a big advantage, since we are talking about railways with distances of hundreds of kilometers between the depots.
Inspectiebus M246, Canadian Pacific, West Toronto Railway Station, 1951
Ford vehicle inspection for "executives", put on ten key officials, 1952
New York Central no. 3383 at Courtright, with Fairmont Hi-Rail system, 1955
The middle photo shows us a Ford V-8 engine with the cab built by the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The gearbox of this Ford was changed so that the car could both forward and backward at the same speed so that their car had to be rotated, the cooling system was specially adapted for this purpose with an additional water supply to the radiator. The brakes were energized, particularly at that time. The "driver's seat" is at the front, the left and right are two more seats. Behind it are four seats that face forward and then behind that four seats are rear-facing. In all, therefore, ten inspectors or operators and one "driver" to ride.

Fairmont Hi-Rail system

The third van has a special feature, it is possible both on track and on the road. It is for this purpose equipped with a Fairmont Hi-Rail system in which the railway wheels by means of hydraulic arms may be lowered, the system uses the drives and brakes of the vehicle. The advantages are obvious, of course, one can over the rails to the place where service is required and where no road is nearby, the other one can after work again on the way to a place where is no rails. This system is even today still used worldwide by rail companies.
Pontiac Hi-Rail, Canadian Railways, 1958
Plymouth hyrail, Lehigh Tannery, 1968
Ford F-250 Fairmont 0307 Hi-Rail, 2012
Originally the system was in the 30s -'40 developed by the company Evans. It was under the name "Evans Auto Railer" put on the market and was an instant success. Reportedly Evans all rail / road vehicles of the US Army
in World War II equipped with the system. After the war, the company was acquired by Fairmont Railway Motors Incorporated. They introduced the term Hi-Rail, a merging of Highway and Railway. In 1980, Fairmont was in turn acquired by Harsco, the factory still exists. Above we see a number of rail cars equipped with the system.

Willys Jeep with the Hi-Rail system

The Willys Jeep is world famous, it is said that the allied forces have also won thanks to the Jeep WW2. Willys has several Hi-Rail vehicles built, the system was already installed in the factories on both Willys Jeeps and trucks. As we see below, there were also Jeep railcars without the Fairmont system but that was a dying breed. The same is also true for other types of rail cars, the Fairmont Hi-rail, she made redundant over time.
The Hi-rail vehicle was a success because it was so easy to use. The switch from road to rail took only a few minutes of your time and could happen at any crossing. One manouvreerde the car at the junction above the railway and once in the right position could be lowered to the track wheel and continue his way on the rails. This of course only after they were sure that there were no trains on the reason that could be an obstacle ...

The railcar passenger

When delving into the life of the railcar we will naturally also the railcar against. When in the 30s
the last century, the car booming in America runs on many passenger railroad correspondingly sharply.
In an effort to reduce costs enable many small railway from steam trains on the railcar.
Buick railcar and vehicle inspection
Little Mack AB Winnipeg Electric Company
New Haven Railroad, Rail Coach Mack
These buses were often converted buses and they had all kinds of functions depending on the need. Thus we see the Buick was above both used as an inspection vehicle, as a vehicle for track workers or railcar for transporting individuals, according to a timetable. At a timetable we are not to imagine too much, twice a day ride was already a lot! The Little Mack AB beside it also has had a busy life with about the same features, it is still used at the end of the fifties in the construction of the Kelsey Hydroelectric Generating Station in northern Manitoba, the photograph dates from that time. The third picture shows another railcar Mack, it was specially built to carry passengers on the New Haven Railroad. After retirement, some of these buses have been sold to the Cuban Railways.

Galloping Goose

A chapter apart form the "Galloping Goose" by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad in Colorado. We can say that this is the most original rail vehicles ever built. The Rio Grande Southern Railroad was in the 30s on the edge of bankruptcy and built seven of these vehicles which were meant to replace the steam trains that were no longer profitable to operate on the route. The railcars were a kind of fusion of a truck and a railcar and were used for the carriage of mail, cargo and people to the inevitable closure of the line in 1951.
Galloping Goose no. 5 of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, South West Colorado
Galloping Goose no. 6, was used for maintenance work on the line
Galloping Goose No. 7, original and in the possession of the Colorado Railroad Museum
The nickname "Gallop Rende Goose" would owe the vehicles to their waddle about the rather uneven track of the line. Another explanation is that the name was derived from the sound of the bugle, a "honk" that resembled the sound of a goose and sounded much different than a whistle. All the "Geese" have survived to the present day second but it is a replica built. The railcars are sometimes still used on the lines of the Colorado Railroad Museum, the Cumbres & Toltec Railway or on the Durango & Silverton line in tribute to the days of old.
Both No. 5 and No. 6 and 7 were built in 1936 with a Pierce Arrow body was used from 1926, the Pierce Arrow was an expensive car as we saw earlier in this story. Number 5 is in Dolores on the Durango & Silverton Line and No. 6 and 7 are held by the Colorado Railroad Museum, where number four has found a home.

Rail Cars on the layout

Lovers of American railroading can go for their railcars at Bachmann, this company makes railcars in both scale and H0 scale in On30. Especially On30 scale is loved because on this scale, the more details come into their own. Aristo Craft and AMS are two other well-known US brands, good hobby shop can order both Bachmann and Aristo Craft and AMS railcars models for you if they are in stock because that is not always the case.
That's because these models from time to time be manufactured in a limited edition. The middle photo shows a Bachmann rail truck in scale 1:48, the two other trucks are AMS models in 1:24 scale, these are suitable for your garden railway!

Make it yourself

A railcar can also build yourself by taking a car kit and there to look at a model train driving with the correct wheelbase. Americans are masters in the model architecture as illustrated by the following pictures of three different rail cars on a relatively large scale. For this scale ratio is selected to portray everything as real as possible.
Little Bill, Ford Model T, 1:32 scale
T Ford in scale 1:25
Ford Pick-up, scale 1:20
In all three models, it is a Ford from the early years of the railcar era, nostalgia for a glorious past, the Americans are not strange and as we finish our story where we started: at the Ford railcar ...

More remarkable vehicles

Are you fascinated by the special rail vehicles that we have discussed here read below also encourage the interesting story Field Trail, strange vehicles examined. The modelers will also catered for Model Railroad tracks with a theme where you can include a look at more American railway scenes. The rail cars in Western and Eastern Europe are discussed in Cars on rails, foreign rail vehicles, an ode to the icons of European road traffic!

American rail cars on the layout

T Ford in 1910 railcar, scale 1: 45Inmiddels there is also a story of our hand appeared with the subject American rail cars on the layout, you will find it in our exciting special Trains and model trains, a fascinating hobby under the title: Railcars, America's rail cars in model and in fact, stay tuned!
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Many railroading fun!