Sunday, November 19, 2006

Leland Stanford's business car

From: "Richard Gagnon"

I have just purchased a HO brass CP Huntington locomotive and I would like to build a model of the business car used by Leland Stanford. Is there a photo of the car?

—Richard Gagnon


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

It depends on which car you are referring to, the original CPRR "Directors' Car" that went to Promontory for the Last Spike ceremony (and which was not specifically assigned to Gov. Stanford), or the much later official car which Jane Lathrop Stanford and Leland Stanford used briefly. The latter, dubbed "Stanford," was a special car built in the Sacramento Shops, and there are a handful of photos of it taken there; copies of these images are part of the California State Railroad Museum Library's collections. There are a handful of views of the earlier Directors' Car, although most of these are indirect and date from circa 1868 to May 1869. This car survives, albeit in heavily rebuilt and aged form, as Virginia & Truckee Railroad coach No.17, and is part of the Nevada State Railroad Museum's unrestored and unexhibited (stored) rolling stock collection in Carson City. Central Pacific's former Director's Car initially served the V&T as a luxury private car called "Bonanza" but its interior was later gutted by the V&T and refurnished as a straight coach for general public service. Coach 17's exterior appearance seems to be quite similar to the way it looked as CPRR Director's Car, but that's about it.

Too, bear in mind that the commercial models of the "C.P. Huntington" (and the restored prototype locomotive as it is today) reflect the engine as SP No.1 in its circa 1914-15 rebuilt appearance as the railroad's mascot and as it was initially exhibited at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The outline or silhouette of the "CPH" between circa 1900 and 1914 was much the same, but it wore plain varnished black paint with minimal red or other color adornments since its last regular public role was on the San Francisco - San Jose - Gilroy and Hollister local trains. In that period, the engine's name was still carried in gilt script lettering in a style very much like what it was given in 1914 (and again in the 1979-80 restoration) and a slightly different SP monogram on the tender flanks. There are two known photos of the engine on the aforementioned local in the collections of the San Francisco Pioneer Society Library; reference use copies of these two images are in the CSRM Library collections. Whether it ever – whether as CPRR engine No.3 or as SP No.1 – pulled either the Directors' Car on the CPRR or the P.V. "Stanford" is uncertain.


11/19/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Randy Hees"

If you are speaking of Stanford’s first car, the one he took to Promontory, you can visit (and if you talk to a curator, even touch it), since the car still exists at the Nevada State Railroad Museum, as V&T 17….

There was an article on modeling the car, including a drawing in the July/August 2003 Gazette.

There are photos, in the various collections of photos of the Golden Spike ceremony.

Since you model in HO, there was once a model available, from West Wood models… now hard to find.

—Randy Hees

11/19/2006 10:18 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves"

You will find a photo of the Stanford car in the Tutorow book "THE GOVERNOR, Life and legacy of Leland Stanford" on page 397.


11/19/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


See a photo of the car when it was new.

See another photo taken in the 1890s (mis-dated in the


11/20/2006 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a piece on culinary history of the railroads, I am looking for accounts of what was served to the dignitaries following the Golden spike ceremony in the Directors' car. So far, I have read that California champagne, wine and fruit were served. Is anyone in this group aware of other sources with more specific information? I would also be interested in learning what was served at various celebratory meals around the country, for instance the Lick Hotel's "Chicago Banquet."

I appreciate your help.

5/11/2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Discussion continues here.

5/11/2007 9:42 PM  

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