Monday, July 13, 2015

Visit to Car 20

If you're a CA&E fan, you too have probably lain awake at night wondering: "Just what were the differences between the Niles shorties and the Stephensons???"  Well, wonder no more!

Last week I had an opportunity to examine CA&E car 20 at South Elgin in detail to compare it with the 36, with the help of an old friend, Ralph Taylor.   The differences are slight, but interesting to a confirmed rivet counter, I suppose.  We'll start with a picture my father took in 1968 of the car (and me) at Castlemuir.

And here it is 47 years later, at nearly the same location.  It doesn't look that much different.

Nobody knows exactly why the original order for CA&E cars was split between Niles and Stephenson or how the arrangements were made, but Niles must have provided the plans, since the two designs are nearly identical, and these cars are much different from anything else produced by Stephenson.  Many of the present differences between the 20 and 36 are due to later modifications by the CA&E.

The early wood cars were rebuilt with steel reinforcements in various ways.  Many cars had bolts inserted into the letterboard, but the 20 and 303 are the only preserved cars with this feature.  The lettering has to be applied over the obtrusive bolt heads.

Update: The bolts attach the letterboard to some variation of interior bracing like this.  Note that the whole interior had to be completely disassembled for this process.

The 20 has the later Pullman-style trucks, like the 308 and 309.  They do not have mounting brackets for the original third-rail beams, and thus are a later model than the 36's trucks.

(For the following pictures, note that the 20's interior is blue and the 36's is tan.)

The original design of the interior paneling (wainscoting) was similar between the Niles and Stephenson cars.  Only the 36 has the little brackets for tray tables.

However, the original construction only survives in the smoker.  At some point the 20 had a heater fire, and the main compartment was rebuilt by Wheaton with a simpler construction, using large sheets of plywood.

The bulkhead design is nearly identical.

But the pocket doors on the 20 show no signs of these slots for holding the doors on the 36 either open or closed.

The 20 is still a four-motor car with electrical cabinets at both ends.  But they are on the same (east) side of the car, so at the #2 end the cabinet is not behind the motorman.  On all later cars, including the Stephensons, the cabinets were always on the right side.  When the 36 was rebuilt, the #2 cabinet was removed, so it has a "solarium" end.

The original clerestory arrangement was identical.  The 20 later got Utility ventilators, like almost all other wood cars, while the 36 did not.

Thanks to our buddies at Cleveland, the 36 also currently has a couple of open "windows to 1902", but I plan to close them.

And the 20 has these decorations over the double window posts, where the 36 does not.

Here are the 20's control positions.  Only the north (#1) end of the car has the older type of controller handle.

And I got to ride both the 20 and 316, which is very rare.  The 316 still needs a lot of work, but Ralph wants to start on it soon.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Look at how crisp that track is.