I just read that the LIRR modified some trailer P-54s to use the third rail for lighting and heating (instead of having an belt attached to the axle driving a generator). Which trucks did they use? Did they use the very simple ping pong trucks and just attach a bar and a third rail shoe? Or were they the same trucks as used on MP-54s but without traction motors?
Pat, the "ping pong" cars were built in 1927 with the intent of later conversion for MU service. The entire railroad was envisioned to be electrified by 1963, so the P-54's were equipped with the "temporary" trucks that we all know remained in service until 1974. At that time one of them literally disintegrated at high speed when the center pin fell out in Woodside, the truck struck a plate girder bridge and percipitated the immediate scrapping of the last of them. The interior lighting on these cars was powered by 32 volt batteries charged by a small generator run off the axle through a wide leather belt. The light bulbs were 32 volt light bulbs. When the glass batteries went bad, the lights would dim or extinguish whenever the train slowed or stopped. The heating was steam supplied by the locomotives.
The several ping pongs that were converted to electric service probably became the T-45B class, and I never heard of any cars equipped with shoes that remained in steam service. I do know that there was a class of car (part of the T-54 class) that was an MU trailer without batteries, heating, fans or interior lighting. These were placed in service to handle Rockaway Beach summer service and later Aqueduct and Jamaica Race Track trains. These were also arch-roof cars.
I would suspect that any "ping pong" that was equipped with third rail shoes had its "temporary" shop-type trucks replaced and became a trailer car for use in MU territory. I know of no 32 volt steam coach that was ever equipped with third rail shoes for "charging" batteries for use in diesel territory.
There's an extensive LIRR passenger car roster from the April, 1963 Railroad Magazine along with much more car information available on Mr. Andersen's excellent Web site: http://www.lirrhistory.com/rolling.html Studying that roster and its notes may answer your question.
Last edited by Kelly&Kelly on Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
OK, good info - thanks! Wish I could find the article that mentioned this... seems like I read it within the last week or so. I'm slowly building a roster of LIRR passenger cars circa middle 1960s. Some are brass (MP-54s), others are resin kits by Funaro & Camerlengo (T-54, P-72 and MP70) and Island Modelworks (MP75). And some are plastic models by Con-Cor (MP65 coach and combine) and Rapido (RDC).
So, guess the next question is: In MU service which 54s were used? I'm know MP54s were but were any of the 54s with the "temporary" trucks?