Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pacific Great Eastern Business Car

Greg Kennelly, a blog reader who's interested in the Pacific Great Eastern, sends in a question regarding the origins of a PGE business car that was bought from the Central Locomotive and Car Works, successor to Hicks Locomotive and Car.  I don't have any data that would help, but some of you out there are always coming up with answers to difficult questions, so here goes:

I am always hoping to find information regarding an official (business) car which Patrick Welch, one of the directors/contractors for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, purchased from Central Locomotive & Car Works in 1914.  I have managed to piece together the following information from various sources:

'Business (Private) Car “LILLOOET”:
The Pacific Great Eastern Equipment Record held at the British Columbia Archives shows this car was purchased second-hand from Central Locomotive & Car Works of Chicago, Illinois for a total of $9570.28 and was received by the railway on April 20, 1914.  Private car “A-1" shows in barge records as arriving at Squamish (Newport) aboard a Great Northern barge on Monday, June 1, 1914.  All the original equipment of the railway was owned by Patrick Welch, who sold his interest in the equipment to the Pacific Great Eastern Equipment Company in 1915.  When the developers/contractors failed to meet their obligations to shareholders in 1918, the Provincial Government was required to honour its guarantee to bond holders and, by default, became the owner of both the railway and the Equipment Company.  The 1919 Sessional Papers of the B.C. Legislature include a reference to ”Business Car ‘Lillooet’, A-1",   G.T. Livingston, Resident Engineer, prepared a drawing of the car dated May 25, 1920 at Squamish.  The car first appears in the Official Railway Equipment Register in December 1920 and the P.G.E. Accounts show no further capital expenditure related to this car as of June 30, 1924.  A British Columbia Department of Railways record dated February 20, 1926 indicates that “Old Private Car Lillooet” was to have its 6-wheel trucks replaced by the 4-wheel trucks from the wrecked Hall-Scott gas car #103 and be converted into a 104-seat open observation car.  The car was converted to Open Observation #15 (1st) in September - October 1926 and is first listed as such in the Official Railway Equipment Register for October 1926 with a capacity of 104 passengers.  Its length is not specified. Observation #15 (1st) was scrapped March 26, 1936.'

A scan of the 1920 drawing of the car is attached.  In over 30 years of sporadic searching, the only photograph of the car I have come across is a general view of Squamish yard, circa 1919, in which an unidentified passenger car whose appearance matches the 1920 drawing shows in the distance against the East wall of the roundhouse.  I would be most interested in any suggestions you, or anyone else, may have regarding the origins of this car.

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