Private Railroad Cars


PRR5406

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Jun 9, 2016
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President Hayes of the Grand Trunk Railroad was among the victims, as was J.J. Astor. Both men had private railroad cars. Astor's was dispatched to retrieve him, but stopped and recalled enroute. Does anyone have information about those private railroad cars or how and when they were dispatched?
 
Oct 28, 2000
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It wold seem PRR5406 is a fan of a particular steam locomotive that once ran on the Pennsyvania Railroad (PRR). Loco 5406 was a "Pacific" style engine built by Baldwin in the late 1920s. Anyone these days who is aware of it should also know the term "private varnish" used to describe privately-owned railroad coaches by the wealthy and large corporations. These days a respectable number of them still exist and some can be rented for travel in the grand manner hitched to an Amtrak train. There are books and even a monthly magazine dedicated to "private varnish." Look it up. There's plenty on the web,

-- David G. Brown
 

PRR5406

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Jun 9, 2016
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Correct-a-mundo, David. Pennsy 5406 was connected with my father when he tried to get a slow order on a particular train she was bringing west, after a heavy rain storm. He was overruled and 5406 did, in fact, derail. She spent most of her service life on the LIRR, and was one of the last seven K4s class Pacifics to run up until November of 1957. Now, with that out of the way, it appears the Astor private car was enroute to Halifax on Train 28 of the Maine Central Railroad. It was aboard the private car "Oceanic", Vincent Astor received his father's remains. There is some conflict concerning the condition of J.J. Astor's corpse however. I have read reports stating he was badly crushed and engrained with soot, recognizable only by the contents of his pockets. My research on the private car states the remains were in good condition and embalmed.
Similar information exists regarding the arrival of the car in Halifax. Some say it arrived, others say it was turned around when it was determined the elder Astor was not a survivor.
 

Mark Baber

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There is some conflict concerning the condition of J.J. Astor's corpse however. I have read reports stating he was badly crushed and engrained with soot, recognizable only by the contents of his pockets. My research on the private car states the remains were in good condition and embalmed.
 

Kas01

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May 24, 2018
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Correct-a-mundo, David. Pennsy 5406 was connected with my father when he tried to get a slow order on a particular train she was bringing west, after a heavy rain storm. He was overruled and 5406 did, in fact, derail.

Out of curiosity would this wreck have been the one at Quogue in 1938 or the one in Syosset in 1944?

As for the Hays car, it's preserved in Delson, Quebec., so you may want to brush up on your Quebecois. As far as routing/dispatching goes, based on the 1910 Official Guide to the Railways, it may have actually moved on the Intercolonial Railway rather than the Grand Trunk, because according to the Guide, the Intercolonial handled through trains between Halifax and Montreal. And that's where things get weird, because no train numbers are listed for that section and I can't make heads nor tails of it; I don't know if those were simply connecting trains or if those are sections as per the timetable.
 

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