Monday, December 17, 2012

Arkansas Diners - Updated

 A friend recently sent me these pictures of two classic roadside diners in Arkansas.  They were taken in the early 1960's by the late Earl Saunders (As usual, these images are copyright and may not be reproduced without authorization, etc.)  In both cases, the original identity of the cars is unknown, so please take out your detective caps and let's get to work!

 Pine Bluff

Enough advertising signs for you?  Hidden behind them appears to be an unusual rapid transit or excursion car of some sort, #572.  Can anyone identify it?   The (nameless) diner itself was demolished some time in the 1970's.

DeValls Bluff

The Coffee Cup was located in downtown DeValls Bluff, which was also a station on the Rock Island.  It was razed in the 1980's.  This car reminds me of the original cars built for the Brooklyn Bridge, as implausible as that seems.  But there were no rapid transit lines in Arkansas, so anything's possible.

Update:  That didn't take long!  Bill Wall has the answers:

The two cars you have as diners in your blog are ex Manhattan Elevated cars that were sold off in 1942 for use around the country during World War 2.   I believe there was an arsenal at Pine Bluff that used these cars, and they wound up all over the country, including some (original composite construction subway cars) that wound up on the Illinois Terminal.   All were locomotive hauled, with the exception of the famous Shipyard Railway in California (of which Bay Area has two cars).

Anyway, 572 is a trailer car built in 1878 for the Metropolitan Elevated (later Manhattan Railway, then IRT) that was used until 1940.

The other unknown car is also a Manhattan Railway trailer, early 1880’s, built by either Pullman or Bowers Dure.  There were several deliveries spread out over a number of years, so without a car number it is tough to say which one is which.  These were also retired in 1940.

1940 was the year the 2nd Avenue el closed above 59th Street and the 9th Avenue el closed except for one short remnant, which rendered the cars surplus.

Hope that clears up the mystery.  572 looked pretty decent as a carbody in those photos.

Bill Wall

Branford and NYCT.

 And see the comments for links to pictures that are exact matches.  Problem solved!


Al Reinschmidt said...

Does this look familiar?


Anonymous said...

This one looks close for the DeValls Bluff car:

David Church

Al Reinschmidt said...

I'm guessing that the "Coffee Cup" is ex IRT nee MANHATTAN RAILWAY CO Pullman built trailer 36 from 1885.


Anonymous said...

you are correct we have a pair of Manhattan elevated cars from the Shipyard Railway at Rio vista. One of the pair is on display in Car Barn Three and the other is in the shop for some work on the body and the trucks.

Another museum that has a wooden New York elevated car from 1907 is the Museum of Transport in St Louis.

An of course Shoreline has the oldest one from 1878. It became money car G in its later years. That was a lot of nickels!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

David Wilkins said...

Ted is correct, MOT has a ex Brooklyn Rapid Transit semi-convertible gate car in its collection. It's in pretty decent shape. A couple of volunteers are currently replacing the roof. About five years ago as a side project, several memebers rebuilt one end of the car, including having a new buffer beam made. It was a large piece of wood!