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Friday, August 28, 2020

Stillwell Passenger Car

  There was one other train car I wanted to show you from the visit to Irene's railroad club. Since today was a rain day, and I just chilled with Chuck & Sylvia, I'm going to go back and share this.

This is a passenger car, known as a Stillwell Car. Of hundreds that were in service, about 15 are known to still exist. Stillwell Passenger railroad car These were designed by a man named Arthur Stillwell, who was something of a manic genius. He heard voices in his head and built railroad empires and designed equipment in response. He died of an "apoplecitc fit" when he was 69. He founded what became the Kansas City Southern RR, and established over 40 towns and cities. He invented the car we usually call a Pullman, because that was the company that manufactured them. He also designed a car for transporting oysters, which was a huge moneymaker beccause rich people who lived far from the coasts still demanded oysters. Despite his successes, he died a poor man.

Now, of the few remaining passenger cars of this design, the interiors are badly damaged. Most were converted to "camp cars," cars for workmen to sleep in after passenger service declined. The railroad club is working to strip the interior to see what repairs must be made before they attempt to restore it. Stillwell Passenger railroad car One of the reasons for the great success of these cars is that the frame of the car is built like a truss bridge, making them very sturdy. You can see the triangular framing where the interior walls have been removed. Stillwell Passenger railroad car If you look at the first picture again, you can see curved archways above the windows. These were covered with sheet metal when they were made into camp cars, but when they were new, these had beautiful glass panels. The club discovered that nine of them were still in place behind the metal. They hope to be able to acquire two more, which will give them enough to put them back on one side of the car. Here's what those moon shaped pieces look like, stacked on a table. Really beautiful.
Stillwell Passenger railroad car window transom glass
It will be a lot of work to bring this car back to life. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see it again in progress.

Tomorrow, I have plans to be back out checking out some trail sections.
See R & GV Rail Club

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