Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Railroad Handcar

From: "Stramel, James"

What do they call this workers cart with the pump handle? Is there anywhere to find one of these? Are there any ... diagrams on building one?

—James Stramel


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The vehicle is called a hand car. There are many different variations in the general design. I'm not aware of any surviving drawings for the specific one shown in the 1869 Union Pacific photo, but there are plenty of other drawings for hand cars available. The California State Railroad Museum Library has copies of some. Also there were drawings published in the various Car Builders' Dictionaries over the years.

—Kyle Wyatt

4/23/2008 3:13 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Randy Hees"
Date: April 23, 2008 10:11:01 PM EDT

Its generally called a pump car, but also known as a hand car or a section car. A common nick name was the Irish Mail, for common Irish track workers.

The California State Railroad Museum library has plans for a Southern Pacific narrow gauge version. Some old catalogs survive, both in libraries, but also reprinted.

A number of railroad museums have them. Some are occasionally used for public rides. In the San Francisco Bay area the Society for the Preservation (Fremont, CA) uses its narrow gauge car regularly. We recently sold our standard gauge car to a volunteer group which intends to use it at El Portal at the entrance of Yosemite National Park.

The California State Railroad Museum has hosted hand car races using specially built steel cars.

—Randy Hees

4/23/2008 7:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Bill Anderson"

Please visit our website,
We may have information that you seek.

—Bill Anderson, FEDSHRA

See, Folsom Handcar Derby Races.

4/23/2008 11:29 PM  

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