Monday, November 11, 2013

J.B. Silvis' Photographer Car


I have read your excellent treatise on J.B. Silvis and his Photo Car.

I am a modeler (in HO scale) and have a kit of this car produced many years ago by a company named Red Ball. Checking this kit against photos of the actual car that I have found on the Net, I find that there are some glaring differences which I hope to correct in the build of this kit.

A picture which appears on several websites of the car shows, in the background, a caboose numbered 4. This appears to be the same class of caboose that Silvis made changes to to come up with his car!

Can you advise how I might be able to find the specs or drawings of that class? ...

—Dave Sandulli, Woodbury, CT


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt"

On the one hand, I am confident that Silvas' car was converted from one of the then-standard UP cabooses. On the other, I'm not sure of any surviving drawings of the cars. I think they were 34 feet long, but am not at all sure. They are similar to a pair of 30 foot cars built for the Virginia & Truckee (V&T #9-10), but I believe these V&T cars are shorter – especially in the baggage section. You can compare photos for yourself. Also the V&T cars have a single sliding door on each side, while the UP cars have a pair of sliding doors on each side. Nevada State Railroad Museum has restored V&T #9 to its early appearance with 4 side windows and a baggage door, and preserves #10 as it was rebuilt as a full coach (added windows replacing the baggage section).

On the third hand, UP had some 1880's 30 foot center cupola cars, some of which were rebuilt into business cars. One short business car was actually 32 feet, and its original build date as a caboose (before conversion into a caboose in 1887). While these all apprear to have been rebuilt from center cupola cabooses, it is possible that UP might have used the same length car as the earlier 1860's cabooses when they built these later cupola cabooses. To add to the confusion, Don Strack seems to think these early UP cabooses were only 30 feet long.

Note all lengths given here are over the body (as was the common practice on railroads) – platforms are not included in that length, but are in addition to it.

—Kyle Wyatt

11/12/2013 2:22 AM  

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