GN Heater car #8

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GN Heater car #8

Postby n2cbo » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:34 pm

I saw a photo of GN Heater car #8 at :
http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=778399
What was a heater car, and where was it normally used?
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Re: GN Heater car #8

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:46 pm

The need for heater (or steam) cars only came about after dieselization - passenger cars were almost always steam heated at this time, and nearly all steam engines had provisions to pipe steam back to those cars for their heat. Freight diesel-electrics, the majority of locomotives, weren't built with the necessary steam generators, so railroads would build cars like GN 8 to supply heat to trains whose passenger locomotive had broken down. If I'm not mistaken, they used them for supplemental heat in the Upper Midwest and Canadian winters too, even when the trains already had steam-equipped locomotives. Couldn't afford a malfunction of one of the heaters when it was -40. Ever since the 1970s though, cars have been built to use electrical head-end power for heat and not steam, so the steam cars aren't needed even by Amtrak. They were known to use similar cars supplying HEP for a while though.

Here's an example of a later one built from an F3B, GN 16: http://www.mtmuseum.org/jsr/roster/gn16.php
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Re: GN Heater car #8

Postby n2cbo » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:12 pm

mtuandrew wrote: They were known to use similar cars supplying HEP for a while though.


When I was an electrician for Amtrak back in the 70's, we had Head End Power cars that were converted baggage-express cars for use on the NEC for the (then) new Amfleet cars pulled by non-HEP GG-1's.
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Re: GN Heater car #8

Postby CarterB » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:19 am

On a bitterly cold week, I took a trip in 1977 on the Empire Builder from Chi to Sea. It had a BN heater car on the back to heat the cars, and it was still cold!!! I'd hate to think what it would have been like with no heater car at all.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=1325781
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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