Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mystery Baggage Car Identification Solved!

Help Kindly Sent!

The mystery baggage car pictured in the HELP NEEDED blog post has been identified as one of the two Boston & Maine RR baggage/messenger service cars  #3280 or 3281.

                                            J. W. Swanberg photo, Author's collection

These two cars were originally built in 1930 as 36 seat passenger / baggage / 15' mail apartment combines by the St Louis Car Co for the Chesapeake & Ohio RR, road numbers 403 and 404. These 75' cars were later sold to the the Boston & Maine RR and converted for baggage - messenger service cars in 1950, this configuration seen at Danbury in the 1958 photo above.

My understanding is that when on the B&M these cars were regularly used on the international train the "Gull", a 24 hour train between Boston and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Custom agents boarding the cars for border crossing inspection may have favored these cars for the vestibule on one end for ease of entry/exit.

Why is this car on the New Haven at Danbury CT?

Express cars on the B&M with a destination for the Harlem River REA terminal in the Bronx NY could be routed over the New Haven from the B&M at Springfield MA. Speculation is that while this car was at the Harlem River Terminal it was loaded with express for Danbury.

Photos hard to come by

With photographic proof that this car appeared in Danbury during the era of the layout and despite of the fact this may have been only a one time occurance, a model is desired to offer operational interest on the layout.

Reference photos for modeling these cars are apparently very hard to come by!

Knowing that these cars were originally C&O then on the B&M roster in the 1950's narrows down the search for additional photos of these cars and would be a very useful for building a creditable model.

If anyone knows of photos of these cars ether on the C&O or B&M please leave a comment. A B&M mechanical drawing would also be very desirable.


A special thanks to John Horvath for identifying these cars providing much of the information about them! Also thanks for the contributions of Tom E. Thompson and Ed Shoben.

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