Passenger car (rail) — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Passenger car (rail) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

19th century: First passenger cars and early development [ edit ]

Up until about the end of the 19th century, most passenger cars were constructed of wood. The first passenger trains did not travel very far, but they were able to haul many more passengers for a longer distance than any wagons pulled by horses .

As railways were first constructed in England. so too were the first passenger cars. One of the early coach designs was the "Stanhope". It featured a roof and small holes in the floor for drainage when it rained, and had separate compartments for different classes of travel. The only problem with this design is that the passengers were expected to stand for their entire trip. The first passenger cars in the United States resembled stagecoaches. They were short, often less than 10 ft (3 m) long and had two axles.

British railways had a little bit of a head start on American railroads, with the first "bed-carriage" (an early sleeping car ) being built there as early as 1838 for use on the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway. Britain’s early sleepers, when made up for sleeping, extended the foot of the bed into a boot section at the end of the carriage. The cars were still too short to allow more than two or three beds to be positioned end to end.

Britain’s Royal Mail commissioned and built the first Travelling Post Office cars in the late 1840s as well. These cars resembled coaches in their short wheelbase and exterior design, but were equipped with nets on the sides of the cars to catch mail bags while the train was in motion. American RPOs. first appearing in the 1860s, also featured equipment to catch mail bags at speed, but the American design more closely resembled a large hook that would catch the mailbag in its crook. When not in use, the hook would swivel down against the side of the car to prevent it from catching obstacles.

As locomotive technology progressed in the mid-19th century, trains grew in length and weight. Passenger cars, particularly in America, grew along with them, first getting longer with the addition of a second truck (one at each end), and wider as their suspensions improved. Cars built for European use featured side door compartments, while American car design favored what was called a train coach, a single long cabin with rows of seats, with doors located at the ends of the car. Early American sleeping cars were not compartmented, but by the end of the 19th century they were. The compartments in the later sleepers were accessed from a side hall running the length of the cars, similar to the design of European cars well into the 20th century.

Many American passenger trains, particularly the long distance ones, included a car at the end of the train called an observation car. Until about the 1930s, these had an open-air platform at the rear, the "observation platform". These evolved into the closed end car, usually with a rounded end which was still called an "observation car". The interiors of observation cars varied. Many had special chairs and tables.

The end platforms of all passenger cars changed around the turn of the 20th century. Older cars had open platforms between cars. Passengers would enter and leave a car through a door at the end of the car which led to a narrow platform. Steps on either side of the platform were used for getting on or off the train, and one might hop from one car platform to another. Later cars had enclosed platforms called vestibules which together with gangway connections allowed passengers not only to enter and exit the train protected from the elements, but also to move more easily between cars with the same protection.

Dining cars first appeared in the late 1870s and into the 1880s. Until this time, the common practice was to stop for meals at restaurants along the way (which led to the rise of Fred Harvey ‘s chain of Harvey House restaurants in America). At first, the dining car was simply a place to serve meals that were picked up en route, but they soon evolved to include galleys in which the meals were prepared. The introduction of vestibuled cars. which for the first time allowed easy movement from car to car, aided the adoption of dining cars, lounge cars, and other specialized cars.

1900-1950: Lighter materials, new car types [ edit ]

By the 1920s, passenger cars on the larger standard gauge railroads were normally between 60 ft (18.3 m) and 70 ft (21.3 m) long. The cars of this time were still quite ornate, many of them being built by experienced coach makers and skilled carpenters.

With the 1930s came the widespread use of stainless steel for carbodies. The typical passenger car was now much lighter than its "heavyweight" wood cousins of old. The new "lightweight" and streamlined cars carried passengers in speed and comfort to an extent that had not been experienced to date. Aluminum and Cor-Ten steel were also used in lightweight car construction, but stainless steel was the preferred material for carbodies. It isn’t the lightest of materials, nor is it the least expensive, but stainless steel cars could be, and often were, left unpainted except for the car’s reporting marks that were required by law.

By the end of the 1930s, railroads and carbuilders were debuting carbody and interior styles that could only be dreamed of before. In 1937, the Pullman Company delivered the first cars equipped with roomettes – that is, the car’s interior was sectioned off into compartments, much like the coaches that were still in widespread use across Europe. Pullman’s roomettes, however, were designed with the single traveler in mind. The roomette featured a large picture window, a privacy door, a single fold-away bed, a sink and small toilet. The roomette’s floor space was barely larger than the space taken up by the bed, but it allowed the traveler to ride in luxury compared to the multilevel semiprivate berths of old.

Now that passenger cars were lighter, they were able to carry heavier loads, but the size of the average passenger that rode in them didn’t increase to match the cars’ new capacities. The average passenger car couldn’t get any wider or longer due to side clearances along the railroad lines, but they generally could get taller because they were still lower than many freight cars and locomotives. So the railroads soon began building and buying dome and bilevel cars to carry more passengers.

19th century: First passenger cars and early development [ edit ]

Up until about the end of the 19th century, most passenger cars were constructed of wood. The first passenger trains did not travel very far, but they were able to haul many more passengers for a longer distance than any wagons pulled by horses .

As railways were first constructed in England. so too were the first passenger cars. One of the early coach designs was the "Stanhope". It featured a roof and small holes in the floor for drainage when it rained, and had separate compartments for different classes of travel. The only problem with this design is that the passengers were expected to stand for their entire trip. The first passenger cars in the United States resembled stagecoaches. They were short, often less than 10 ft (3 m) long and had two axles.

British railways had a little bit of a head start on American railroads, with the first "bed-carriage" (an early sleeping car ) being built there as early as 1838 for use on the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway. Britain’s early sleepers, when made up for sleeping, extended the foot of the bed into a boot section at the end of the carriage. The cars were still too short to allow more than two or three beds to be positioned end to end.

Britain’s Royal Mail commissioned and built the first Travelling Post Office cars in the late 1840s as well. These cars resembled coaches in their short wheelbase and exterior design, but were equipped with nets on the sides of the cars to catch mail bags while the train was in motion. American RPOs. first appearing in the 1860s, also featured equipment to catch mail bags at speed, but the American design more closely resembled a large hook that would catch the mailbag in its crook. When not in use, the hook would swivel down against the side of the car to prevent it from catching obstacles.

Passenger car (rail) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As locomotive technology progressed in the mid-19th century, trains grew in length and weight. Passenger cars, particularly in America, grew along with them, first getting longer with the addition of a second truck (one at each end), and wider as their suspensions improved. Cars built for European use featured side door compartments, while American car design favored what was called a train coach, a single long cabin with rows of seats, with doors located at the ends of the car. Early American sleeping cars were not compartmented, but by the end of the 19th century they were. The compartments in the later sleepers were accessed from a side hall running the length of the cars, similar to the design of European cars well into the 20th century.

Many American passenger trains, particularly the long distance ones, included a car at the end of the train called an observation car. Until about the 1930s, these had an open-air platform at the rear, the "observation platform". These evolved into the closed end car, usually with a rounded end which was still called an "observation car". The interiors of observation cars varied. Many had special chairs and tables.

The end platforms of all passenger cars changed around the turn of the 20th century. Older cars had open platforms between cars. Passengers would enter and leave a car through a door at the end of the car which led to a narrow platform. Steps on either side of the platform were used for getting on or off the train, and one might hop from one car platform to another. Later cars had enclosed platforms called vestibules which together with gangway connections allowed passengers not only to enter and exit the train protected from the elements, but also to move more easily between cars with the same protection.

Dining cars first appeared in the late 1870s and into the 1880s. Until this time, the common practice was to stop for meals at restaurants along the way (which led to the rise of Fred Harvey ‘s chain of Harvey House restaurants in America). At first, the dining car was simply a place to serve meals that were picked up en route, but they soon evolved to include galleys in which the meals were prepared. The introduction of vestibuled cars. which for the first time allowed easy movement from car to car, aided the adoption of dining cars, lounge cars, and other specialized cars.

1900-1950: Lighter materials, new car types [ edit ]

By the 1920s, passenger cars on the larger standard gauge railroads were normally between 60 ft (18.3 m) and 70 ft (21.3 m) long. The cars of this time were still quite ornate, many of them being built by experienced coach makers and skilled carpenters.

With the 1930s came the widespread use of stainless steel for carbodies. The typical passenger car was now much lighter than its "heavyweight" wood cousins of old. The new "lightweight" and streamlined cars carried passengers in speed and comfort to an extent that had not been experienced to date. Aluminum and Cor-Ten steel were also used in lightweight car construction, but stainless steel was the preferred material for carbodies. It isn’t the lightest of materials, nor is it the least expensive, but stainless steel cars could be, and often were, left unpainted except for the car’s reporting marks that were required by law.

By the end of the 1930s, railroads and carbuilders were debuting carbody and interior styles that could only be dreamed of before. In 1937, the Pullman Company delivered the first cars equipped with roomettes – that is, the car’s interior was sectioned off into compartments, much like the coaches that were still in widespread use across Europe. Pullman’s roomettes, however, were designed with the single traveler in mind. The roomette featured a large picture window, a privacy door, a single fold-away bed, a sink and small toilet. The roomette’s floor space was barely larger than the space taken up by the bed, but it allowed the traveler to ride in luxury compared to the multilevel semiprivate berths of old.

Now that passenger cars were lighter, they were able to carry heavier loads, but the size of the average passenger that rode in them didn’t increase to match the cars’ new capacities. The average passenger car couldn’t get any wider or longer due to side clearances along the railroad lines, but they generally could get taller because they were still lower than many freight cars and locomotives. So the railroads soon began building and buying dome and bilevel cars to carry more passengers.


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