I have always ordered the cars in my passenger trains as follows...

  • baggage
  • combo car
  • coaches
  • observation

In addition, I have always run matching road/paint/design cars. I know... rather boring. From hanging around this Forum too much ( ), I now realize that there are other combinations and mix of cars that were commonplace. But I just came across a picture of a short NYC (probably) commuter train on the Hudson Line from the the early 20th century which had an interesting order. The train was led by a 4-4-2 followed by three passenger cars - two coaches followed by one combo car with the baggage end of the combo car facing aft. I am hoping that some of the more knowledgeable real train folks can let me know if this was a common configuration???

Thanks.

Paul

Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 TCA 15-70689

LCCA RM-39621

LOTS RM-9326

Original Post

In England it was common to have the "brake luggage van" in the rear of the consist. 

Although the typical consist in the USA is as you say there have been many variations.  The weirdest I can recall is the PRR's long mail and express train Nos 11 and 12 which carried its passenger coach in the middle of 15 or more mail and express cars.This probably facilitated station stops at least for the few passengers. 

In more recent times, baggage and even piggyback cars could be found at the end of first class trains.  I took a movie of NP's Mainstreeter featuring piggyback cars at the rear in the mid 1960s.

On medium to lightly traveled branch lines the train might go in one direction as you described, but then the engine would run around the consist on the return trip and the baggage cars and combo would be in the rear.

 

Lew Schneider

Baggage and RPO at the head end. Dormitory (if present) next followed by coaches. Dining car and Lounge next situated between Coach and First Class (sleeping cars). Pullman cars at the tail end with an Observation car (if present) at the rear. Lots of long distance trains had en route switching to pick up and/or drop off Pullmans and an Obs complicated such tasks.

Lew

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

re: Dining Cars. My observation on reasonably modern trains (eg Rocky Mountaineer and VIA Rail's 'Canadian') is that they've been located more or less mid-train, which I assumed was so that they'd be equal distance from the front and rear passenger cars.

FireOne posted:

While we are at it, which way do Vista Domes face?  Long end forward or aft?

Chris S.

Depends.  Seating in the dome can be turned for direction of travel.

However, for example the Burlington tended to run the dome short end forward while the Santa Fe tended to run short end aft.

Rusty

Commuter trains would be arranged for the most efficient turn around or based on local requirements.

Long distance trains up until Amtrak, as mentioned above would be arranged as follows:

RPO (if any)

Baggage (if psg/bag combine) coach end toward coaches)

Coaches

Diner (if any)

Pullmans

Observation

In the days of heavy travel, this did tend to put the diner toward the middle.    The other consideration was that you did not have the coach passenger walking through first class (and vice-versa) to get to the diner.    Pullman passenger were much fewer and paid much more the privacy.     Also in steam days, the rear of the train was cleaner and quieter so again the RRs tried to give the higher paying customers a little more for their money.      I don't know often or if lounges and observations were restricted to first class.

Another note, RPOs were locked.    They were manned by USPS employees (required to be armed) and were locked.   Passenger or train crew could not pass through them.    although I would guess they would let train crew through if necessary.     So they should be placed at end or the other.    On long distance trains, sometimes passengers would want to access their luggage, so the might be taken to a baggage car.     Access to express cars would be limited to train crew.

There was a lot of switching at major terminals and even some minor ones such as Wheeling WV.    This would happen as trains from different origins were combined into trains to a single or fewer destinations.    And trains would be broken up to go different directions where multiple lines exisited. 

Also it was quite common in the pullman era for a pullman to picked at a station by an overnight train.   If the business was there, the RR, would spot a pullman-sleeper at the station in the evening and allow passengers to boards, say at 9 or 10 pm. The passengers could bed down in their berths at a decent hours.    At some point during the night a through passenger trains would stop and pick up the pullman and take it on to whereever.    Generally it meant the passengers would arrive at their destination the next morning.         My brother did that as late as the early 70s between Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The reverse would also happen, another train goind the other way would drop off a pullman at some point during the day.

I should add, specific situations often created exceptions to the general order.     Probably the only thing that the RRs tried to avoid very firmly was moving the RPO from one or the other.    I think it would almost always be at one end because of the limited access allowed.

I usually try to find a photo of the/a train in question.  Seaboard Air Line had a policy of running cars with the vestibule at the rear, in case of accidents.  Not sure how effective that was or if they even adhered to the rule.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Pretty easy on commuter trains.  Locomotive front or rear if push-pull with a cab car on the opposite end and coaches in between.

On a more serious note, CNJ had some interesting variations that included an former Blue Comet open end observation to Phillipsburg until 1975.  In the late 60's early 70's CNJ has as I recall a former FEC round end observation on the rear.  PC and later NJDOT had a former NYC lounge car mid train up until 1983.  I don't remember if it was the same train, but the Jersey Shore Commuters Club has well maintained P70 as the first car behind the locomotives until 1983 as well. 

In long distance trains, sleepers traditionally have run at the rear of the train.  However, Amtrak will put the sleepers forward on some trains as has been noted above. 

The best advice given so far is to research the train in question.  Every railroad had their preferences and you'll also discover those unique cars that don't come in most model sets. 

For example, the Broadway limited had Harbor Cove and Harbor Rest.  It was a 3 bedroom sleeper with a shower section, a barber shop, an onboard secretary compartment, and a lounge.  That is an interesting car.

The combined 18 car El-Capitan/Super Chief which started running off season from 1958 until 1970 had a separate train behind the last EL-Cap car that contained it's own diner, dome, and all the sleeping cars.

Most importantly it's your railroad.  Have fun!

 

Jonathan

 

The exception to the general rules were most often to assist switching situations enroute.    A baggage car or pullman at the rear might be aimed to be set off along the way.    

With diesels and AC, the rear of a train is not necessarily as desirable as it once was either.

Reading had a strreamlined steam train that ran from Philly to someplace, maybe Atlanic City called the crusader.    It had a streamlined obervation car at each end and the tender of the streamlined steamer had an overhang to bleend in with the end of the observation.    the purpose was to so they did not have to turn the train, only the loco, and could still have a stainless streamliner with an obs at the end in both directions.    I gather the trip was just a few hours or so, and the train made a round trip.

Apples55 posted:

I have always ordered the cars in my passenger trains as follows...

  • baggage
  • combo car
  • coaches
  • observation

In addition, I have always run matching road/paint/design cars. I know... rather boring. From hanging around this Forum too much ( ), I now realize that there are other combinations and mix of cars that were commonplace. But I just came across a picture of a short NYC (probably) commuter train on the Hudson Line from the the early 20th century which had an interesting order. The train was led by a 4-4-2 followed by three passenger cars - two coaches followed by one combo car with the baggage end of the combo car facing aft. I am hoping that some of the more knowledgeable real train folks can let me know if this was a common configuration???

Thanks.

But that train in your photo must not have been a commuter train if it had a baggage car.

Bill

WftTrains posted:
Apples55 posted:

I have always ordered the cars in my passenger trains as follows...

  • baggage
  • combo car
  • coaches
  • observation

In addition, I have always run matching road/paint/design cars. I know... rather boring. From hanging around this Forum too much ( ), I now realize that there are other combinations and mix of cars that were commonplace. But I just came across a picture of a short NYC (probably) commuter train on the Hudson Line from the the early 20th century which had an interesting order. The train was led by a 4-4-2 followed by three passenger cars - two coaches followed by one combo car with the baggage end of the combo car facing aft. I am hoping that some of the more knowledgeable real train folks can let me know if this was a common configuration???

Thanks.

But that train in your photo must not have been a commuter train if it had a baggage car.

Bill

Not necessarily true.  Maybe not common but some commuter trains ran with a baggage section or at least a baggage / coach during the steam era on at least one of the daily commuter runs.  There are lots of photos of CNJ and PRR running with baggage and sometimes an RPO on the NY&LB up into the 50's at least.  

There is a prototype for everything it seems.  In this years Audio-Visual PRR Calendar there is a photo of a short train in running on a local branch out of Pittsburgh with a K4 followed by an RPO, baggage, another RPO and a rider coach on the end.  Thought that was fun because it is a nice way to create a scale prototypical train on a smaller layout. 

Jonathan

 

prrjim posted:

The exception to the general rules were most often to assist switching situations enroute.    A baggage car or pullman at the rear might be aimed to be set off along the way.    

With diesels and AC, the rear of a train is not necessarily as desirable as it once was either.

Reading had a strreamlined steam train that ran from Philly to someplace, maybe Atlanic City called the crusader.    It had a streamlined obervation car at each end and the tender of the streamlined steamer had an overhang to bleend in with the end of the observation.    the purpose was to so they did not have to turn the train, only the loco, and could still have a stainless streamliner with an obs at the end in both directions.    I gather the trip was just a few hours or so, and the train made a round trip.

The Crusader ran to Liberty Terminal on the CNJ.  The really interesting part of that train during the steam era was that the stainless matching Pacific that pulled it had the stainless steel tender sides extend past the rear of the tender to shroud the forward observation to make it look like a continuous train. 

That obviously changed when the power was changed to FP7s by the Reading.  A neat train.  Weaver made a version of the whole train, while Penn-Line made an HO kit of the locomotive in the early 1950's.  Great looking when built properly, but it is widely regarded as one of the most difficult kits to assemble that Penn-Line ever released.

Jonathan

 

Regarding placement of RPO's: U.S. Postal reglulations specified that there be no occupied cars between the locomotive and the RPO.  Unoccupied express cars or baggage cars could be ahead of the RPO, but all passenger cars and express baggage cars containing a guard or messenger needed to be to the rear of the RPO.  Nobody had access to the RPO other than the postal employees manning it.

WOW!!! Teach me to ask a simple question    This has turned into a fascinating discussion.

First, I want to thank everyone who has offered info on my question - once again, I always seem to learn something new on the Forum. Second, I assure you, I have always had the rule - My road, My rules!!! The last train I ran was a Vision Line Big boy pulling a string of intermodal cars, so historic accuracy isn’t one of my major concerns. That being said, earlier this year, I started putting together my version of a 1950’s era NYC Hudson Line commuter train, and, for once, I wanted it to be pretty accurate. Although my version sports an electric engine, it’s consist is two coaches and a combo, so the placement of the combo at the end seemed oddly interesting. As has been noted, having combo/baggage cars on commuter trains was not unheard of - I have seen pics of some trains on the Old Put in the early diesel era that had them... so I guess I will mix up my consist every now and then. One of those pics showed the combo directly behind the engine and the caption referred to it as a mail train, so based on Bob’s info on Postal Regs, I can also run my own mail train!!!

Thanks again to all for the education.

Paul

Techno-Peasant of the First Order

Provisionary Member - Brotherhood of the Crappy Basement Layout

 TCA 15-70689

LCCA RM-39621

LOTS RM-9326

prrjim posted:

 

Another note, RPOs were locked.    They were manned by USPS employees (required to be armed) and were locked.   Passenger or train crew could not pass through them.    although I would guess they would let train crew through if necessary.

Normally, a train crew had no reason to enter a working RPO compartment.

However, there was a very small door that a Trainman could crawl through on the rare occasions that it was required.  I worked with a lot of passenger Conductors and Brakemen, and none of them had ever used the emergency door.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

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